boy on bike mother holding baby families together, happy and whole
mother holding baby

Success Stories

March 03, 2010


One client's touching letter to WRS

March 22, 2007

To you all at WRS......,

Especially Tina, I remember my tears in your office, that one day I may never have my children again, and today they are all three with me and my case is almost closed. I work part time and go to college part time, to become a Drug and Alcohol Counselor.
I won scholarship by writing about my hardship with addiction had my picture put in the news paper. Now working on my 4th term in school with A's and B's. Please tell others my story that may have doubt and the thought of nothing to live for. A little over a year later my nightmares of never seeing my children again and being abused by my husband are gone. I'm left with flash backs of WRS a place I couldn't wait to get out of but talk about all the time to others. Yes I'm happy!!!!!!!!! And yes it is possible.... I 'am now respected not because I demand it but because I earned it and you Tina know my struggles with that. I wish to have you at my graduation I will keep you updated. And perhaps when I come to visit there you will let me tell my story....                                          
You are all in my hearts.............


back to top

To Whom It May Concern:

Wow! I never thought I’d be writing this letter.  Mrs. Cheryle Stanley has asked me several times to write about my experience with Women’s Recovery Services. Honestly, I have always questioned my ability to stay sober.  Now having close to 3 years free from alcohol and drugs I will take the liberty to share my experience, strength, and hope with who ever Mrs. Stanley would like to share it with.

In the year 2000, I lost custody of my three children and became homeless.  I did not care about myself, or my family, nor did I care to quit drinking.  In November 2001, after calling WRS countless times, I got on a Greyhound bus with my child Dustin-9. I was desperate to stay sober.  After being asked to leave a program I had been in for a year I was fortunate to be accepted into WRS.  Upon arriving in a taxi I was welcomed by two women I will never forget. Abagayle and Kaaren took us in and introduced us to the facility.  We were thankful to have a roof over our heads and food in our stomachs.

During my stay at WRS I learned that only one in seven women will stay sober.  I was bound and determined to be that one.  I had no self-esteem and no respect for myself or anyone else through my stubborn streak and the great staff at WRS I learned the tools to stay sober which I still utilize today.  I was fortunate enough to stay in the inpatient part of the program for four months.  Then, I was asked to stay in Mission House, an extension of the program.  I never in my life have experienced such an experience.  I stayed in the program for 19 months.

During my time with WRS, I had support from other women and case managers that encouraged me to take responsibility for my actions and accept my life for what it is.  I learned to set goals and achieve those goals.  I learned how to love and take care of myself.  I committed to Family Connections for one year.  I was able to register for college and maintained a 3.5 G.P.A my first year.  I worked at Toys R Us and Santa Rosa Junior College. I held several community service commitments including volunteering for the Orenda Center.  I completed the year-long part of WRS and to The Family Connection.  Towards the end of my stay in Santa Rosa, I was asked to speak on behalf of Family Connections at a public hearing, and for the United Way, a great honor.  I began to get to know my other children who lived in Humboldt County with their Dad, and maintained regular visits with them.  Finally, I am a recipient of the Charles DeMeo Scholarship, which gave me $10,000 to fulfill my educational goals.  All the while, learning everyday how to stay sober, and responsible.  To this day I have friends and support through Women’s Recovery Services.

Today, I live in a three-bedroom house with a yard and fruit trees.  I still have custody of one of my children and share legal custody of my other two who have regular visits to my home.  Dustin is 13 and attends the same school as his siblings.  Last year he played basketball.  He has also benefited from our experience at WRS.  I have held the same employment for one year starting as a housekeeper working my way to the front desk receptionist.  I continue my education, and continue to set goals for myself.  I use my tools to stay sober every day and not a day goes by I don’t think of my experience at WRS.  I stay sober for myself.  I have respect for others and myself.  Every day is a learning experience.  I thank God for the experience I had with Women’s Recovery Services.  I wish every woman had the opportunity I had.  There are not enough places like WRS and there are certainly not enough women like Cheryle Stanley and the staff at Women’s Recovery Services. Thank you, I do not believe if it weren’t for you I would not be the woman and mother I am today.

2 years, 11 months, 3 days
Clean and sober

back to top


Unfortunately, some people are not able to overcome the deficits of their past, while others are.  I consider myself extremely fortunate to be among the latter.  I was suffering from the effects of long-term substance abuse and other self-destructive behaviors.  Consumed by hopelessness and shame, I longed to rise above the personal adversities associated with chemical dependence and domestic violence victimization.  Unknowingly, that dismal desperation would be the catalyst for my journey towards renewed self-respect, self-improvement, and personal development, and this journey began at Women’s Recovery Services in April 1996.  As the result of the tireless and steadfast efforts of the case managers and other staff members at Women’s Recovery Services, I was able to overcome many obstacles.  While in residential treatment, I learned important life skills and coping strategies that would allow me to lead a drug-free life and achieve what had previously only been dreamt about.

After residential treatment, Women’s Recovery Services also provided me additional guidance and support through their aftercare program, which was instrumental to my transition into self-sufficiency and independence.  Since completing the year long program, I have gone on to excel in many areas, including the world of academia.  Since 1996, I have earned two Bachelor Degrees and graduate Cum Laude.  Currently, I am enrolled in the Sonoma State University Community Counseling/Marriage and Family Therapist master’s degree program.  It cannot be disputed that Women’s Recovery Services affects the lives of women and children on many levels, and I am proud to say I am the product of their encouragement, dedication and professionalism.

back to top

December 4, 2003 

My life today is wonderful in many ways due to what I learned and gained at WRS
When I came to WRS I was full of thinking I knew what it was going to be like and what it took to stay clean since I had been through two other programs, but I had it all wrong, I knew nothing. 
Some of the biggest things I learned was to always find my part in any situation, (honesty) to be content in my own skin, to be a lady and mother.  These are just a few things I learned from all the classes and After Care.
Today I celebrate 1 ½ years clean and sober and it’s the longest I have ever stayed clean.  So today, thanks to WRS, my higher power and my sponsor, I have a life to wake up to and even if my day seems gloomy I have a million things to be grateful for thanks to WRS and everything there.


back to top

January 3, 2006

Dear Cheryle..
I wanted to thank you for this program and all the angels here who tirelessly work to give us back our lives.
When I arrived at WRS I had a small taste of recovery and wanted more.  I was an empty shell of a woman.  I was full of denial and regrets.
What I received was beyond my wildest dreams.  Hope replaced despair, faith replaced pain and gratitude replaced my selfish ways.
Slowly my denial and defenses were broken down and I began to follow suggestions and open up.   The more I opened up and surrendered, the more I grew.  The more I grew, the more I wanted to help others to do the same.
My life began to have purpose and meaning.  The courageous, supportive women here role modeled for the kind of person I wanted to be.  I will never forget the women holding me and believing in me and going to bat for me when I had lost all hope.
Today, I move on to a new phase of my recovery.  I am honored to have such amazing choices and opportunities. 
People have faith in me and that is everything.  I feel stronger and more committed to this path than ever before.  I have been given the gift of recovery and grace and I know it comes with a huge responsibility to work harder than ever to keep it.
It is my goal to inspire others to do the same.  I am no longer alone.   I am ready to keep becoming the confident, recovering woman and mother who lives with integrity and purpose.  I finally believe I’m worth all of this because of WRS and God.


back to top

July 1, 2004

Dear Cheryle Stanley:

I want to thank you for all the efforts you and your organization have put into giving me back my daughter, Jane D.  Somehow we got onto different tracks when she was a young lady and I have never really had her as a friend or a daughter all these years, until now.  What a wonderful gift you and Jane have given me and her stepmother, Susan.
I could tell several months ago that she was going to make it.  She began to relate to us differently and she moved steadily forward with just a few bumps.
Now, she is a joy and pleasure to be around or to relate to over the phone.  We are forever indebted to you and cannot thank you enough!
My wife, Susan, is a psychologist and we marvel at what strong and solid training you have given Jane.  We support you and Jane in all of your successful efforts and you should be proud of how well you do.  We know how difficult it is sometimes to guide people to their own best interests.  We know that Jane will be discovering many beautiful things about herself, her skills, and strengths during the rest of her life and she can always be proud of herself how she recovered and be thankful to you for your excellent guidance.
Thank you, thank you, for all of your kindness and professional success.

With admiration,
Dick and Susan

back to top

October 16, 2003

To Mr. Gino Giannavola, Cheryle Stanley, BL
I have just completed treatment at Women’s Recovery Services and want to tell you of my experience there and before that.
It started last summer and being charged with domestic violence.  At that time I met BL.  She gave me a safe place to face my drug and alcohol addictions, to face my fears and to talk and cry.  I have never been so blessed to have such a knowledgeable and compassionate woman in my life.  It took a long time (and eventually the courts) but she kept on me about going to WRS.
I came to WRS somewhat willing but not believing I could do it.  There I was given so many gifts.  I was taught forgiveness which opened so many doors.  The women there care passionately about every woman and child who walks through those doors.  I was taught my value, my responsibilities.  There I was given the gifts of dignity and respect.  I was able to explore my fears and behaviors with no judgment.  They have led me to the path of hope and possibilities.  It gives me goosebumps to see other women there to slowly become honest, open and willing. 
My gratitude to these women and the WRS program is immeasurable.  Thank you for making them available to me.



back to top