The boy bent down to pick up another starfish, smiling as he threw it back into the sea.
“I made a huge difference to that one!”
Ashley is a trainee counsellor who has worked at Houghton House for over two years. Prior to her appointment as admissions co-ordinator she was responsible for the oversight of the nurses and patients during the weekends.
Ashley has completed two of the Alex Hamlyn Counselling Courses.
It has been five years since she herself was dragged into Houghton kicking and screaming, but it worked for her. Since then she has been eager to stay close to the treatment centre that gave her back her life.
Initially she volunteered her time here by doing lifts. She then co-ordinated the arts and crafts programme at the GAP for two years and starting running the Sunday night meetings. These acts of service are what keep her clean and how she works her recovery. She still brings her counsellors flowers on her sober anniversary.
Recovery is easy if you are just guided how to do it. I love recovery. I have never had so much fun and laughed so much. It upsets me that I’m only five years clean in October. It breaks my heart that it is so short. I tell this to our youngest patients, saying that if they don’t use this opportunity to clean up now their life could pass them by in a blur.
Ashley is passionate about cats. When she was still using, she applied this mantra to saving stray cats. Now she relates it to saving individuals from a life of addiction:
A man was walking along a deserted beach at sunset. As he walked he could see a young boy in the distance, as he drew nearer he noticed that the boy kept bending down, picking something up and throwing it into the water.
The man asked the boy what he was doing, the boy replied, “I am throwing these washed up starfish back into the ocean, or else they will die through lack of oxygen. “But”, said the man, “You can’t possibly save them all, there are thousands on this beach. You can’t possibly make a difference.” The boy looked down, frowning for a moment; then bent down to pick up another starfish, smiling as he threw it back into the sea. He replied, ”I made a huge difference to that one!”