Testimonials

From Darkness to Hope

To whom it may concern,

My name is Jae Moser and I have been a resident at the Dune’s House for one year and four months. Previously, during the heaviest time of my alcoholism, I was living in Warsaw with my life partner of twenty five years. He also was an alcoholic. I had been isolated from my family for approximately ten years. I awoke one morning to find my partner had passed away sometime during the night. I had lost the most important person to me in the world and subsequently my place to live. I lived in a hotel for the next six months drinking heavier than I ever had. After not showing up to work for a few days my sister drove to the hotel in Warsaw where I had been staying to check on me. She found me barley conscious and drove me to Franciscan Hospital in Michigan City to detox. I went in to cardiac arrest the following day. I was released from the hospital on Christmas morning 2021 and checked in to Regional Mental Health the following January 2022 for rehabilitation. I knew then that I had to get sober and move closer to my family in the Michigan City area. At this point I was homeless and had no foundation for living. It was suggested at Regional that I should try to secure a spot at the Dune’s House.

After a major surgery and recovery I moved into the Dune’s House the following June. There I found a very warm welcome from Terry and the gentlemen in recovery that lived there. I found that I was in a structured household with other men who all had stories not so different from my own. The house was clean and well maintained. I was provided with the basic necessities of life like food and shelter while given the opportunity and coaching necessary for my recovery from alcoholism and reestablishing myself with society. I was also introduced to a sober community of people in AA and was welcomed with open arms. I have since been able to strengthen my relationship with my family and have learned how to become a functioning member of society. None of this would have been possible without the Dune’s House and the caring members of its board of directors. I owe a great debt of gratitude to Dune’s House and all of its members.

Sincerely,

To whom it may concern,

My name is Raymond C. I am a current resident at the Dunes House. I started drinking at the age of 8 for attention, I continued to drink and started smoking weed at the age of 12, started using cocaine and other drugs in High School, my Grandmother who raised me passed away when I was 17 and things spiraled out of control, lost job after job and relationship after relationship. Had a Daughter at the age of 31 and slowed down on my drinking and drugging, had a Son the following year and still could not stop. My girlfriend threw me out and I was not allowed to see my kids. So my drinking got even worse, I got a job that I was able to keep for ten years the longest in my life, met a lady while working there, we moved in together and had a Daughter. So I was getting a second chance at being a Father, but I did not learn from my past, when my Daughter was 7 my wife asked me to leave because of my drinking.

I was devastated that I had lost my second family, I was then introduced to meth at the age of 50, after a year of living out of motels, and on the streets I had had enough. I entered rehab in Indianapolis, then went to a sober living and had six months under my belt, but I was not working a program and there was no accountability there, so I relapsed for a weekend and went straight back in to rehab in Merrillville Indiana, while I was there I spoke with Terry B. who was the President of the Dunes House in Michigan City Indiana. I told him my story and that I needed a place that had structure and rules.

I have been here for a little over a year and am now a dependable, trustworthy, and loyal member of society for the first time in my life. Everything I have today is because of the Dunes House and the people associated with it, they saved my life and for that I am extremely Grateful.

Sincerely,

I lived to tell the story

When I first got to the Dunes House I was a mental and physical wreck. I found the place I needed to be. I met fellow abusers, who made me feel very comfortable. I had a lot of questions about recovery and they were willing to share with me the answers.

I was physically unable to even carry my clothes to my room, but they were willing to give me a home. I feel that the Dunes House had a lot to do with my recovery. There was an AA meeting twice a day, where I met a lot of true friends, something I had never had been blessed with before.

The House gave me chores to do. They showed me how to have responsibility and how to get order in my life. The House is located perfectly, so that the places I needed to go to, like the banks, medical needs and places to eat at were within walking distance.

Right now I literally owe my life and happiness to the Dunes House and my faith in God.

Amen

I found peace

Safe haven – a place of refuge or rest

The Dunes House saves lives. It takes us in when we’re at our worst; when our alcoholism has destroyed everything good in our lives. When everyone in our lives shuts us out because of our actions and the choices we’ve made, the people in that basement will take us in, treat us like family, and help us get better.

I’ve gone thought my most painful moments in that basement. I’ve cried through countless meetings. When I feel like my life is crashing down around me. There is always someone there for me. The people down there genuinely care, and want to see me get better.

I sit in meetings with doctors and businessmen, paralegals, nurses, carpenters, cashiers, and even the unemployed. No one is superior, no one is inferior to anyone else, alcohol is a great equalizer, and we all have done damage in our lives and can’t get better by ourselves. We all have that in common. We are a very close “family” at the Dunes House. We need each other if we want to stay sober and on the right track. The Dunes House and the meetings helps educate us about our disease, and helps us to accept our devastating weakness and all its consequences; so that we can move forward and start to rebuild our lives. We love the Dunes House.

Scott’s Story

2022, a sunny Tuesday morning. Scott is sitting in his car in his employer’s parking lot. His heart suddenly filled with an overwhelming feeling of gratitude – for the sun, his car, his job, his family, his employer and, especially, The Dunes House which saved his life and helped him forge a road to sobriety.

That is a Spiritual Awakening.

In 2016, the phone at the Dunes house rang. It is a nurse from the Behavioral Health floor at St. Anthony Hospital in Michigan City. She’s asking if they have room for one more. Scott was being discharged.

“The Police brought him in 15 days ago. Found him sleeping in an alley behind a liquor store,” explained the nurse. “He says it too hard to get sober living on the street (barely having his basic needs met) and hitting random meetings is not going to help.”

“Put him on the phone,” gruffly answers Walt, past Director of the Dunes House.
In desperation, Scott takes the phone.

The voice on the other end says, “If you can get here sober, we have a bed for you.”
It is the lifeline between despair and hope – an invitation to a better life.

Scott’s life consisted of drinking hard and often. He lost his job, lost his home, lost his wife and son and was sleeping on a bench in the park. Scott had grown up in an alcoholic home. A life full of the anxiety and chaos of alcoholism is the only life he knew existed. As a teenager he watched his dad die of a horrible alcoholic death. He swore he would never be like his father. Now, all he had to offer his 14-year-old son the same turmoil. Scott wanted better for his son. In that phone conversation, Scott made decision to find a better way to live.

At the Dunes House he found structure and accountability. The three requirements to stay in the Dunes House are sobriety, living responsibly in this community, and having a job. He followed all the house rules: bed made, dishes washed, curfew met, chores completed well, and daily meetings. Scott was learning how life worked and how he could work within hose parameters. He was meeting life on life’s terms for the first time. He dutifully got a job to pay his Dunes House rent.

He was killing it at his job! He was making money. He was paying his bills and paying off debts. After about ten months he moved out of the Dunes House believing that now his life was manageable. He was working a good job, which was far more than his father had done. This was good, healthy living, right?

Once on his own, his self-esteem (or what passed for self-esteem) shot through the roof. He was succeeding at work and that held all of his attention. The AA principles and practices fell by the wayside – no morning readings, no nightly inventory. As his program fell off, so did his life skills:ebd no longer made, new apartment a mess, bills not getting paid. Allowing himself to believe his own hype “I have got this!” invariably, the drinking resumed.

Scott’s return to drinking and subsequent life choices, again cost him his job, his family, and his home. He believed the only way he could refrain from drinking was in that structured environment. He asked to come back to the Dunes House. By the grace of God, and donations like HFL’s doors were open to him again.

Back at the Dunes House he began again: make your bed, do your dishes, curfew, chores, drug tests, daily meetings. Scott began to look around with wider eyes. Painfully aware that there are absolutely people in this building, coming to these meetings, who are living a sober, honest, healthy lives. Some of them even looked peaceful, happy, and laughing.

“Ok, that is what I need. Sobriety. Not non-drinking, but sobriety,” Scott concluded.
As a dutiful Dunes House resident, Scott got another job. He is good at working. He knows this. He is a stellar employee. How does he avoid messing up this opportunity? He has to be sober.

He attended daily meetings and did his daily readings. He spoke to his sponsor regularly. He actively listened to sober people who lead the meetings and those who attended meetings. The Dunes House is the only local long-term residents with meetings on-site. The ease of attending a meeting consists of walking down a flight of steps to the meeting room in the basement. The average attendance rate for a meeting is 25 people and can go as high as 50.

Once the meeting is over, the Dunes House acts as a type of club house. There is a kitchen, living room as well as the beloved front porch, where members of AA spend time. This community of volunteers stick around for the safety and comfort of an atmosphere completely immersed in AA talking thinking and acting. A vital part of an AA member’s recovery is the 12th Step to carry this message to other alcoholics (Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these Steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs). Therefore, the members remain present and available to the Residents and other addicts struggling for sobriety.
Scott knew he was missing something, but what? He had captured two of the three requirements to stay in the Dunes House (responsible citizen and having a job), but the requirement of sobriety eluded him. He could not fathom, because he had never been exposed to it, the actual core understanding of sobriety.

Through this confusion his sponsor told him, “You cannot think you way into right acting. You need to ACT your way in to right thinking.”

For the second time, on tenuous footing, Scott was ready to “meet the world on its terms.” He understood the value of responsible routines and was efficient and effective at his job.
He thought, “This time will be different. This time I can control it better.”

With the accolades at work and good money coming in, the sting of the repercussions of alcoholism wore off. He had the book-knowledge of AA but not the faith aspect AA. He still had not surrendered. The program he had was not sufficient to keep him sober. The drinking began again.
Luckily for Scott, and so many others, the Dunes House door was open and available. The benefits of peer-run long-term residence, in-house recovery is the that the longer a substance use disorder can stay immersed in the 12 Steps and 12 Traditions of AA the higher chance he has of maintaining sobriety in when he is back in his life.

Third time in the Dunes House, Scott searched harder for what he was missing. He understood how to be a contributing citizen to the House. He knew how to find and keep a job, but what eluded him was the ability to maintain sobriety. What do these members s have? What is it that keeps them on track? Through daily readings, living out the 12 Steps and 12 Traditions, and ending each day with self-reflection and AA literature? He was losing faith in the process and his son was losing faith in him. Too many broken promises too many unfulfilled assurances.

Acting his way into right thinking, Scott watched and listened. He now knows that is a better life and alternative to the soul-damaging cycle of an alcoholic home and lifestyle. He began again: make bed, do dishes, complete chores, make curfew, daily meetings. He continued to seek the final piece of the puzzle. So, he did his daily readings, listened to his sponsor and other serene members of the Dunes House. He practiced each step. First, second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh …we are deep in the weeds now…..eighth, ninth, tenth……

Then the eleventh, “Step 11 Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God, as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.” Scott began to pray and meditate seeking contact with his Higher Power. He was yearning for, searching for a “spiritual awakening” because the glaring truth had finally become clear – Scott could not become sober alone. He needed the knowledge of his Higher Power’s will for Scott. He needed to surrender to the AA program.

As he worked through this profound acceptance, Scott continued to be a productive citizen in the House and at his job.

His boss, one day said to him, “I don’t know where you come from, but I am so grateful you, are here.”
Taking a chance at losing his job, Scott revealed to his employer, the owner of a small business, that he came from the Dunes House where he learned how to listen to direction and carry them out. He learned how to co-exist and accept people. His attitude and demeanor were warm, competent and helpful, which had not accompanied him to his previous jobs. He brought his program willingness to learn and willingness to listen to this job.

To date, Scott is still employed at this job and had grown into virtually running business. His one contract negotiation was that AA, and not the job, must come first. His boss continues to hold him to that promise.

Scott has his own place. He has made amends with his ex-wife. Together they raise their son without the of the whirlwind and chaos that is an alcoholic household. His son has watched the four-year struggle for sobriety. Now 18, has asked Scott if he could move in with him. As a stalwart and honest AA member, Scott had to turn down this offer which he desired, and which eluded him all these years.
“It’s not the right time, yet,” he told his son. “Let’s give it a year – a year longer for me to live AA, maintain my relationship with my Higher Power, a year more of saving money and a year more of keeping my promises. “

This testimony, offered to you for the validity of the Dunes House is brought to you by Scott’s 12th Step, “Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these Steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.” Scott wants to share the gift of the Alcoholics Anonymous Program with any who need it. He wants to ensure that the Dunes House’s brand of AA and long-term residence is available for as many people who want it.