Imagine never knowing unconditional love. A story about recovery.

Unconditional love is a type of love without limitations or conditions. It is not earned on the basis of conscience or unconscious conditions. It is simply given, freely.

Michelle was born into a family with a long history of drug and alcohol addiction. She even lost several of her family members to drug overdose. She started using when she was just 14-years-old.

 “I didn’t know any better. Growing up, the use of drugs and alcohol were such a regular part of life for me. I thought it was just what people did. I didn’t know any differently.”

Like so many who succumb to addiction, Michelle never thought she lost her power. She thought she could stop if she wanted to, and she certainly didn’t think the disease had more control than she did. But, before long, she began lying to friends and family members when they asked her about her drug use. She would insist to them that she was clean and sober.

“I was like a child, covered in chocolate, and swearing I didn’t eat the cake. They could see right through me.”

Her family forced her to check in to Harvest House’s Freedom Program. She admits today that at first, she didn’t want to be here. She was in denial and didn’t think she needed treatment. She kept a journal during her time at Harvest House and going back to those first days she says she realizes now how toxic her life had once been.

“I was truly angry and hated myself when I first arrived at Harvest House, and now I just think about how when I came here, these people, my counselors, the Minors, they didn’t owe me anything and their only motivation to help me was love. They welcomed and loved me with open arms – for no reason at all. Growing up I always felt as though I had to earn my mother’s love. Harvest House not only helped me to recover from my addictions, but also taught me unconditional love. Being apart of this made me feel like I could like myself, well, love myself, and be proud of myself for something.”

At the end of this month, Michelle will be graduating from our Freedom Program at Harvest House, and she has worked out a plan and goals with her case manager. She hopes to go back to school, so that she can become a counselor and help individuals as she has been helped.