Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Avalon Recovery Society Tea and Fashion Show

The Avalon Recovery Society Tea and Fashion show took place again this year at the lovely Semiahmoo Fish and Game Club Hall. It was sold out.
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Avalon Recovery Society started with 2 women in recovery deciding that what women in recovery needed was a safe place to go where they could feel good about themselves. It was a place where they would not have to worry about men but could focus on their own self image. They would be being with women who might be a few steps ahead of them on the road to health. Women in recovery helping women in recovery.
It would exist without government assistance so as to be free from politics and fads. It would be independent. The first Avalon drop in centre in West Vancouver. The atmosphere was of home away from home. Avalon Recovery Society became a huge success. That first centre in West Vancouver gave rise to another in Kerrisdale. White Rock has one and there’s another out east and more in development.
As an addiction psychiatrist I’ve been referring women with problems of alcoholism and addiction to Avalon Recovery Center for over a decade. There are AA meetings and other health oriented groups, such as yoga and meditation going on each day as well. There’s a hired staff person on site. It costs $400 a day to maintain one Avalon Centre. For so little money so many lives are saved.
My female patients have described the most positive experiences at Avalon. They have begun their road of recovery there. Often they are experiencing severe isolation in their homes and apartments, sometimes even homelessness before they begin the journey back to being contributing members of community. They especially speak of the safety they experience and the sisterhood of caring.
Cindy Faulkner Morrison welcomed everyone before Monica Marten gave the ‘word from the president’. Rhonda McJannet, after advanced training "herding cats for catwalks", continued to do her superb job as ‘fashion show coordinator’ with the beautiful and delightful models.
Today Dr. Ray Baker, one of Canada’s leading addiction medicine specialists, himself a long time supporter of Avalon, spoke of the oft times ‘hidden disease’ of addiction which women have. Commonly denying their history of abuse to caregivers and families they get misdiagnosed and take longer to get to the place where they can get the help they need.
Praveen P. told ‘my story’ an amazing tale of a phoenix rising from ashes of disease.

Constance Barnes, a leading political figure, and latest board member spoke of the importance of Avalon’s work with women.
The fashion show was splendid thanks to the Anna Kristina Boutique and Fashion on the Edge. My friend Laura loved so many of the outfits and lucked out winning a door prize gift certificate for a dress from one of the boutiques. . At the silent auction I got the tool set feeling very badly for outbidding some poor woman who will be cursing me when her car breaks down. Laura got more lotions. She waxed poetic about how  much she loves the Avalon Gala. “I always feel like a lady when I’m here." She loved the little tea finger sandwiches best.
It was a wonderful afternoon for such a worthy occasion. Envelopes were set out for donations. It felt good to support such a wonderful program. Avalon Recovery Society, what every neighbourhood needs.
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