Born and raised in Cincinnati, Amber L. is a stay-at-home mom with two young boys. Like many busy moms, she sometimes enjoys sitting in a quiet space by herself with a few lit candles. Coloring is meditative for her. She likes plants and the idea of gardening.
Amber is grateful for much in her life. She lives one day at a time and is learning how to thrive while she manages mental health issues and sobriety. Coming to Madi's House helps. "Coming to Madi's House is a bright spot for me. I look forward to it every week. Madi's House gives me hope, peace, and purpose."
Amber was a couple years sober and attending a twelve step clubhouse meeting in the fall of 2020 when Julie Raleigh showed up looking for someone to lead a group at The Annex for Madi's House. Amber had never heard of Madi's House. She was hesitant at first and wasn't really interested. But something in her said "say yes," so she did. "I can't believe the opportunities that have been granted to me from that one decision."
Amber's first experience at Madi's House was Saturday art therapy. "People welcomed me. They knew my name. I felt right at home right away." Amber stepped into the role of a twelve step clubhouse leader at Madi's House in December of 2020 and is now a regular there. You'll find her at art therapy and leading her group.
What keeps her coming back? Amber loves the vibrant, warm, comfortable atmosphere that is unique to Madi's House. "It's not like elsewhere, like other meeting places that can seem cold, stoic and hospital-like. You feel like you are at home. We can light candles. The carpet reminds me of carpet from my childhood. I have walked in with any feeling and been accepted. And I just get to be me."
The group Amber leads is a small group of people who are very close. After their meeting, they sometimes sit and stay. If they are feeling creative, they can get out the art supplies. If they want to have fun they can play board games. "It's a blessing to be able to just stay and hang. You don't have to leave right after the meeting or go somewhere else to hang out."
That kind of accessibility to a safe, comfortable space has deep value to everyone in the recovery community. "If someone didn't open up during the meeting, they could open up after the meeting. Even if they don't, you leave feeling better than when you walked in."
If you are looking for a space to do life while living in recovery from addiction or while living with mental health issues, consider taking Amber's advice: "Just check Madi's House out. Don't prejudge. I'm happy I took a chance. It is so colorful, so comfortable. Come give it a chance. They take really good care of us."