Welcome Home!

Elizabeth Willis Barrett

“Did you bring our passports?” Brad asked me as we landed at the Seattle Airport.  I stopped right there on the chilly runway, looked at him with a feeling of self-loathing and just shook my head.  The word “passports” had never made it to my ingenious and obviously lacking packing list.  And if Brad was going to think of passports, why didn’t he think of them sooner, like while we were still home? Canada has toughened up and would hold her strong arm out to keep us from crossing her border without valid paperwork.

We were uncertain whether making this trip was the right thing to do anyway.  We were heading to the Welcome Home Addiction Recovery Academy in Surrey, British Columbia, where our son Jeffrey has been since the end of March.  Two of the students were graduating and we were invited to attend.  Since it is a two and a half to five year program, Jeffrey still has a long way to go and we didn’t want our visit to set him back. Maybe the lack of passports was Fate’s way of keeping us from him.

Jeffery had been living in an oleander bush, (see previous post) and then in a small, slovenly bedroom with another drug addict when he finally called and said, “Mom, come get me.  I don’t want to do this any more.”

He tried hard again to stay clean, but drugs are very jealous and refuse to give up custody of their most valued customers.  It wasn’t long until he had slipped down the familiar slide and landed on a very unpadded bottom.  After more than ten years of this cycle of wanting to stay clean, attending and graduating from rehabs and being dragged back into his addiction, the Welcome Home Addiction Recovery Academy came to the rescue.  Miracles got him into the program and it would take another miracle to get us over the border to see him.

I depend on miracles and a miracle came.   Brad remembered that John and Chauna Volken–the wonderful founders of Welcome Home–happened to be in Gilbert because John had happened to call Brad the night before.  They were flying back to their home in Surrey so they could also attend the graduation.  Our older son patiently picked up our passports from their exact home in our file cabinet and took them to the Volkens before they left Gilbert.  We picked up the Volkens at the Bellingham Airport and together we passed through Canada’s open arms.

More miracles awaited us.  Seeing Jeffrey at his best with his great smile and effervescent personality was the greatest one.  He is on the right road to being whole and well.  The Academy has given him the opportunity to know himself and to make necessary changes that will allow him to live a drug free life.  Attending the graduation ceremony of the two young men who have recently completed the program and listening to their testimonies of change let us know of the miracles yet to come in Jeffrey’s life.

For those of you who have loved our Jeffrey and followed his story or especially those of you who know someone who is ready to make the leap from addiction to wellness, please visit welcomehomesociety.org to learn more about this program of miracles.  You could also follow them on Facebook at Welcome Home Addiction Recovery Academy.  An especially inspiring  video is on their wall called, “Students Reciting the Promise at November Graduation” posted on November 26th.  Please watch it.  You will see Jeffrey in the group.

Our thanks to John and Chauna will never be enough.  They are the miracle workers with their vision and love for the students.  Over and over we have seen that three or four month addiction programs don’t work.  But this one, a long-term therapeutic community, has promise as big as the one the students recite.

When I ride my bike I go past Jeffrey’s old oleander home.  The city is doing work along that stretch of the canal so if Jeffrey still lived there he would have his own Porta-John and a newly paved front road.  Most likely, however, with all the workers around, Jeffrey would be discovered and soon evicted even from the bush.  Truly homeless again.  But he’ll never return to the oleander bush.  He has finally moved on to a home where he can become the wonderful man he was put on earth to be.  Welcome Home!

Welcome Home Audio:  Read by the Author


2 comments on “Welcome Home!

  1. Nancy says:

    I’m so happy for Jeffrey and all of you! Wasn’t that lucky about the passports? I always have the fear of forgetting something very important when I leave my home. My prayers will continue!

  2. Renae says:

    I love your Blog, Elizabeth.. and as soon as I come across some hope to share – I think I may start one of my own. Thanks so much and much admiration for you and Bishop Barrett! I still remember you sining “Bring a Torch” at the end of one of your RS lessons many years ago.. Merry Christmas again!

    Renae Aston

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