As the clock strikes 11:00 a.m., simultaneously the back door to the Our Hope house swings open. The morning group is finished and the house fills with the laughter, conversation, and the comradery of eighteen women. But while Kristina was in treatment, an additional element was added to this morning routine.
Now, within minutes of the back door opening, the piano key cover is flipped up and soon the iconic Beethoven’s Fur Elise can be heard throughout the house. It’s Kristina playing the piano. As she continues to tinker on the piano, she eases into Pachelbel’s Canon, which is best known for being played as a bride walks down the aisle to her groom. Not a fan of classical music? Don’t worry, Kristina will begin to play “Don’t Stop Believin’” by Journey to liven the mood up. Kristina’s piano playing was pleasant even when her outlook might have not been.
Kristina found herself at Our Hope for the first time after her sober living house had asked her to leave. Kristina was abusing her medications and did not want to be active within her recovery.
“I was never sober while I was there,” she said openly. “I just wasn’t ready. I wasn’t ready to be sober, and I really did not want to be at Our Hope. I even begged my sponsor to not leave me here.”
During Kristina’s first time at Our Hope, it was evident that Kristina was miserable. She admits to disrespecting the staff as well as fellow clients day in and day out. Kristina knew that she was creating a toxic environment for others but continued to do so. She was not acting out because she was a malicious person, but because she wanted what everyone else had; she wanted to be happy.
“I always acted up and I stressed everyone out all the time. I just didn’t care. I was so angry because everyone found happiness and I didn’t,” Kristina said remorsefully. She was deeply caught up in her anger and frustration and made the personal decision to leave treatment at Our Hope. Kristina was discharged on day 74 out of 90.
The following weeks were filled with different emotions, but one thing remained consistent, Kristina wanted and needed to change. She knew she did not want to continue down the same path of self-destruction. Kristina was ready to be relieved of her suffering, and this time, she was fully ready to commit to her recovery.
“I am grateful I left, ONLY because when I came back, I felt a real sense of humility,” she said with a smile and a slight giggle. “I am so thankful that Our Hope took me back. They saw the potential in me even when I didn’t see it in myself.”
And just like that, Kristina found herself back at the steps of Our Hope. This time she wanted what everyone else already had wanted for her. It took about three weeks for Kristina to realize she was deserving of the same happiness that she had seen those other women obtain.
“I can find happiness now. I can even find happiness in everything that I do! I am more respectful and can laugh and smile!” With each statement it was as though her facial expressions conveyed optimism, shock and amazement all at once.
Her growth the second time in treatment compared to her first time, is a true testament of personal strength. Kristina became the woman that embodied empathy, compassion, and understanding. Having never enjoyed the comradery of women before Our Hope, now Kristina praises the individual life lessons she learned from each of the women she lived with during her treatment.
“Now, I want to help others! If I can give hope to others, even just one person, that is all that matters.” She continued, “I grew so much and went through so much negativity in my life to get where I am today… and I know I can make it through anything.”
Now, on Tuesday’s around 1 o’clock, the doorbell rings and instructions to sign in can be heard. The piano key cover fills up and once again the first handful of notes from Beethoven’s Fur Elise fill the house. As staff peer out of their offices with delight, it’s a smiling Alumnae named Kristina playing through her song list. Though it may sound like the same song lineup heard numerous times before, it is definitely not the same person who is playing them.