Good Shepherd Gracenter

Winter 2013 Newsletter


Motivated by a belief in dignity and worth of each person as a child of God, Good Shepherd Gracenter is committed to helping women who seek recovery from drug and alcohol addiction. Through a program based on a 12 Step Spirituality and a holistic approach, we help each woman transform and grow toward independence by nurturing an appreciation of her true self and strengthening bonds with her God and community.

Executive Director's Report

By Sr. Marguerite Bartling, RGS, MSW

sr-margEach September, Good Shepherd Gracenter joins the thousands of recovery programs and services in the United States that celebrate National Recovery Month. The beauty of an individual’s recovery is how it impacts their life, their family and their community. Often times we see empowered women in recovery inspire others to be clean and live a life of grace.

Leticia B., a young mother who had addressed her addiction, made a commitment to herself that her youngest child would never know her as an addict. Through this lens of mother to child she decided to search out her own mother to join her in recovery. Her mother lived on the streets homeless and Leticia with her youngest child searched for her, alley-to-alley, dumpster-to-dumpster until she finally convinced her mother that there is a better way to live. With her daughter’s help, Maria came to Gracenter in 2010 and successfully graduated. We celebrate that Maria and her daughter, Leticia, reclaimed their lives and can act as inspiration for Leticia’s four children and provide them with the love and security we all deserve.

On Saturday, Sept. 28, 2013, the women of Gracenter, our sisters, staff and board members walked across the Golden Gate Bridge signifying the connection of recovery from city to city and county to county, mother to mother, woman to woman. Gracenter serves women from all 9 counties of the Bay Area.

May your family experience God’s peace this Christmas. I am grateful for your support of the women of Gracenter who strive to strengthen their families.

With sincere gratitude,

Sr. Marguerite Bartling RGS, MSW
Executive Director, Gracenter

recovery-month2  recovery-month1

Motivational Interviewing and Maintaining Recovery

By: Sandra Muñoz, Assistant Program Director & Case Manager

smunozThe concept of Motivational Interviewing (MI) came from the experience of treating alcoholism and was first described by social scientists, William Miller and Stephan Rollnick in the 1980’s. While MI itself is fairly new, it draws its inspiration from Carl Rogers’ 1953 research in Non-Directive Counseling, which has been viewed by many in the field of recovery as one of the best scientifically tested intervention strategies. At the core, Motivational Interviewing helps people explore their reluctance to change specific behaviors. This is particularly relevant because the needs of men and women with substance abuse problems can be quite extensive, and the behaviors associated with those specific needs can sometimes be very extreme.

MI is a strong compliment to the other aspects of the Gracenter program, meshing well with the 12 Steps, Recovery/Treatment planning, and one-on-one case management. Data shows that it actually contributes to a lower rate of recidivism. And, as the primary Case Manager at Gracenter, MI contributes to making my job easier and more enjoyable. flicts, and effectively lets the women be the experts in their own lives! The practice of Reflective Listening, Positive Reinforcement, Affirmations, and Summarizing as a way to interact with each woman creates a less stressful environment for both the residents and the staff. Our residents experience more powerful results as they move through their stages of change. It is a win/win for everyone!

smunoz2The 5 principles of motivational interviewing; Empathy, Support and Discrepancy, Rolling with Resistance, Support of Self-Efficacy and Autonomy have much in common with the counseling style of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd, dating back to the 1800’s! MI would almost certainly resonated with the foundress of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd, St. Mary Euphrasia Pelletier as a way of being with people in a loving way…and it is that love in action and a profound respect for Gracenter’s residents that helps us carry out St. Mary Eurphrasia’s mission to create a better life for those who need it the most!

A Graduate Gives Back: Theresa’s Story

theresaTheresa de la Cruz is a successful graduate of Good Shepherd Gracenter and is presently celebrating 4 years of recovery. She shares her story in an interview with Sr. Marguerite.

Q. What was it like to take your first steps in recovery?
A. It was really scary because I found it hard to trust anybody. During addiction, a wall goes up and it takes a minute to begin to trust people again. But I wanted a change in my life. I was tired of feeling down, dragging myself around and chasing after drugs. So, I became honest with myself and chose to go into a primary drug and alcohol treatment program before coming to Gracenter.

Q. What surprised you when you started your journey of recovery?
A. I was amazed that so many people wanted to help me. In my addiction, I had only experienced the opposite. People were out to get whatever they could from you.

Q. Why did you come to Gracenter after completing a primary drug & alcohol treatment program?
A. Because even though I had worked on my issues in the treatment program, I did not know how to be independent. During the 16 months I was at Gracenter, from 2010-2011, I learned that I can do things on my own. While I was at Gracenter I finished paying off all my court fees, old credit card debts and the required DUI classes. I learned how to get up and go to work on a daily basis like other people, how to save money and eventually how to move out and live on my own.

Q. What are your goals today?
A. I can say that I want to keep learning. I like what I am doing as a Peer Advocate for the homeless, providing services to others so that they become self-sufficient. I work at a men’s shelter that offers resources, support groups, employment opportunities and housing. I experienced trauma in my life but my experiences help me be a better Peer Advocate. I can be more compassionate, more patient in dealing with the persons I serve.

Q. Would you say you have come full circle, helping others take those first steps, just like you did?
A. Yes, you have to accept people just as they are and offer recovery when they are ready to receive it. “Recovery

“Recovery is a way of life, rather than a goal. It is a journey, not the destination. Recovery is facing who I really am inside with a full heart and open arms. Recovery means being all I can be.”

-Tanya, current Gracenter resident

View Newsletter as an Adobe Acrobat PDF.