Client Stories/Testimony

Some clients have volunteered to share their stories in detail to offer their experience, strength, and hope to others who may get benefit from their sharing.

Janet O.

Like many things in our lives that turn out unexpectedly, coming to the center was a true turning point in my life. I came to Turning Point because I had a very positive experience with hypnosis. When I decided to quit smoking I used hypnosis and was very pleased at how well it worked. After two years without a cigarette I gained weight and thought I would use it again to help me lose the unwanted pounds. I was amazed at the rapport I established with Ron. I found him very easy to talk to and was surprised and disappointed the hypnosis just didn’t seem to be working. I had needed only one session to stop smoking, and I just couldn’t figure out why I wasn’t having the same success with my weight problem. I decided I just needed another session and made an appointment. I was very surprised to hear myself tell Ron I had far more important things to address before I could even think about losing weight. In short, it was the least of my problems. These things were blocking progress in nearly every aspect of my life.

Thanks to Ron and his gift for truly listening to people, I began a journey that in a very short period of time changed my life forever. I learned how to be happy and strong actually, that isn’t entirely true. I was already strong. I had endured many horrible things and had survived. But I am no longer surviving. I am not scared. I am not consumed with worry. I am not existing from one crisis to the next. I am calm and I have peace. The relief is so profound at times I just find myself smiling and thanking God for being free. I was held hostage by an abusive stepfather and a psychotic husband. I had no idea they were still affecting me after so many years. I learned how to take care of myself and be independent. I am actually excited to be alive.

I believe Turning Point can help anyone who wants a better understanding of him or herself, and that it can change the lives of victims. We are all victims of circumstance, but we don’t have to just be survivors. We can become whole, happy, real people. This is a gift a person can only give oneself, and is the most precious gift one can ever receive.

Thank you Ron for helping me to enjoy the rest of my life, not just survive it!!!!


Darlene H.

When my brother first spoke of moving to my town, I was excited about the process of living in the same city for the first time since we were children. I thought, “This is great, now I have my parents here and my brother is coming to town — after 20 years of living apart we finally get to have a close range family relationship.” Little did I know that the close range family relationship would be different than I anticipated, and even less did I know that my brother would come here with a silent cry for help to save his life.

After his arrival the days turned into weeks of catching up on things we’d missed talking about over the years. I began to notice that there was always a mentioning of what we missed out on growing up, if only things were different, what could we have been if? I felt pretty good about the way I turned out, but he didn’t. It occurred to me that there was a very deep, dark hole and while I was suspecting over the years that his lifestyle was different than mine and that he was at least a social drinker, there was much I didn’t know. There was much however that I was about to find out. Because I love my brother so deeply, I wanted to find out about him. Why was he so empty, so dark? Was it a spiritual void or something else, or perhaps a combination? My brother did not want to share his deepest thoughts; he felt safer giving the illusion of being “together” and “cool,” which was easy for this 6’5″ tall, dark, handsome man to do. But you see, I saw his eyes and I saw his heart. I knew that this problem didn’t just begin and I knew it was bigger than I was. After all I’m just the little sister who saw a huge need and wanted to help.

Though he did not readily admit that he was an alcoholic, he slowly realized that I loved him whether he was or wasn’t. This was not about pretending anymore, this was about wanting to learn how to heal. He faced his problem because I convinced him that his life was going to end without making a huge change. I knew that alcohol would take his life. I had been on the other end of the phone too many times when he was suicidal due to the effect the wine had on his brain. I knew there was a spiritual war going on inside his head, and I knew who was winning. I prayed constantly that God would protect my family and me, as I got closer than I ever dared before to the demons that I know swirled around my brother. I felt the personal struggle of good and evil. I reminded myself constantly that I must help him, he cannot be alone. This is not a time when family disappears. I would not abandon him, though he was sure I would.

He agreed to seek counseling and I agreed to be his healing partner. We looked in the phone book and wrote three names and addresses down for an outpatient program for addiction recovery. We found ourselves at turning point and we knew instantly that this was where we were to be. We immediately felt peaceful and protected as if God had prepared them to meet us. I think He did. We got started on the program. Over the next several months I became attached to the staff and the families that gathered each Wednesday night. Before I knew what was happening, my brother’s world was becoming clearer, he was learning things about himself for the first time, and he was understanding the process of addiction and recovery. As I was focusing so hard on him, an amazing thing happened. I was blessed. I felt a renewed sense of wholeness and thankfulness for what I didn’t have to go through, and my heart ached for those who struggled. Week after week, participants got stringer, more confident. My brother began celebrating his days and weeks of sobriety; I felt we had “passed the course with flying colors,” which is why it made no sense to me at this point that he would drink again. Even more frustrating was how easily he could lie about it — about everything.

I began to really learn at this point that part of “passing the course,” is “failing the course,” sometimes repeatedly, learning something from it, and getting up and trying again. One day at a time, sometimes one hour at a time, we work to pass it again. My brain struggled to find the logic, until I became convinced that WHERE THERE IS ALCOHOL IN A LIFE, THERE IS NO LOGIC. I tried to stop thinking like the sober person I was, and tried desperately to put myself in his shoes, the worn out ones, the ones still soggy from the wine. The guy who thought he was smarter than Satan and that he could handle the temptations. The guy who liked this wine-induced “getaway” that he allowed himself.

It about made me crazy and I found myself getting angry with him. This was not what I had ordered! I ordered from the happy family menu: the one where the brother moves back, the parents are happy, we go to church together on Sunday, maybe eat a pot roast dinner together once a week, and things that we said and did were kind and positive and it all made perfect sense. Well, not much was making sense. I was at a crossroads and I had to find out how to recharge myself if I was to continue to be the supportive little sister that I really wanted to be. I knew, however, that I felt it slipping away.

One week during family night, Ron asked, “So, Darlene, how has this week been for you?” I was on the spot and my first thought was “Wait a minute, he’s the one in the program, not me!” Ron knew I needed to vent a little, and more importantly I needed to be reminded that ANYONE that loves ANYONE who is an addict of ANY KIND is indeed right there with them… IN THE PROGRAM!

I was able to learn how to be there but not become his keeper, to encourage him without infringing on his privacy, to put the responsibility back on him instead of trying to take it on myself. I learned that the best thing I could do for my brother was to make him stand on his own two feet and let him fall when that was his choice, too.

Amazingly, once the effervescent sister stopped trying to control everything, he rose to the occasion. It wasn’t until this point in the program at real honesty started to emerge. We don’t give people enough credit sometimes. They need encouragement to get help, but once they decide to do it, they need the space to own up to the situation. I realized this was all about him now. He was holding ALL the cards. I prayed and encouraged him to make the right choices. Sometimes we would look at a list of the consequences of making poor choices and the reality of losing everything. I could have read a thousand books and hired a personal assistant to follow him around to “watch him,” but that would not have taught him anything, but that he was a failure and that I did not trust him. He needed the accountability of his group at Turning Point coupled with my support and the use of other tools (AA) to find the courage to look at the day ahead of him and do his best to make the right choices for that day.

The time spent at Turning Point was a very special time for us as brother and sister. We grew together and we grew individually. They say that once a mind is stretched by a new experience, it can never go back to its original dimensions. We have been stretched and we both feel so much more equipped to deal with the everyday issues that life brings; as well as the tragic and heart-wrenching. For each has had its part in making us who we are today. My brother and I both feel a great deal of gratitude to Turning Point. I know you saved his life.

Thank you,


Cheryl M.

Hi, I’m Cheryl, and I’m an addict-alcoholic. I was the 10th born child to a carpenter/preacher and homemaker/nurse. My parents did the best they could with what they had. My dad was a preacher in the Mennonite Church. I would accompany him on many of his trips to various communities and listen to him preach. My mother ran the home by day and worked as a nurse by night. When I was 8 years old my little sister was born. I felt as though I was deprived of what little attention I got. Then when I was 13, my dad moved us kids that were still at home to Texas. The summer of 1980 was so hot; my mother had a nervous breakdown from the stress of the move and leaving her grandbabies behind, and said that we’d moved to what felt like hell. After reaching Texas, we found that the Mennonite community was not accepting of my family, so we left there and went to the Assembly of God – what a drastic move. That is when I really pushed my dad to let me look a little more like everyone else. I worked on him hard and I got my way. By 16, I started smoking (in secret, of course). My senior year I drank beer once, and wasn’t crazy about it.

Fast forward to 1988. I had moved back to Michigan, and was attending church up to the fall of ’88.That summer I had gone out of town and got smashing drunk. Looking back I can see how I set things up so I could leave church and go to my new love of alcohol. I felt alive, I felt fun, I felt attractive. I loved the new life I created for me, for at least the first year or two of drinking. But then I felt my standing in the community was slipping. I tried going back to church, but it was boring. I was beginning to feel shameful. So I tried the geographical cure – I wanted to find myself. So I moved to Florida. Once there it took me 2 months to lose my job, get kicked out of where I was staying, and then I got robbed. So I moved back to Texas. Once I was back in Texas, I enrolled in school. I told the line, “I don’t drink, I just smoke cigarettes.”

By this time I’d gained a lot of weight. My mom sent me to the diet doctor, and that’s how I found speed. Needless to say, it didn’t take very long for me to figure out that a drink mixed very nicely with diet pills and once again I felt the magic. I felt attractive, I felt fun, I felt interesting. In 1991, I met a fellow who introduced me to coke, and then a gal who introduced me to crank. I really liked crank. I couldn’t get it very often, but when I had it I was happy. Then as I drank and used, the spiral downward happened again. I once again felt shame, remorse, and incapable of holding my head up to meet anyone else’s eyes. It was time to move on.

I moved to Dallas in ’93. I began another trade school. In this trade you learn about body, mind, and spirit. I learned there that religion was different from spirituality. My resentment at God disappeared, my spiritual journey began. This trade and my move had helped me cut down on my drinking and drugging, but I pretty much maintained my marijuana use. Then as school ended and I changed jobs, I met other people who did crank. Boy oh boy, I was on again. Not right away, because I had a reputation to uphold. Eventually the addiction gave way. I found a continuous supply. My relationship anxiety sent me to counseling. She diagnosed me as an alcoholic and I went to a few meetings, but I wasn’t ready yet.

A few months later, standing on the sidewalk in front of my work, I decided I would do crank every day. That is how I could deal with life. I kept telling those in my family who knew (about the drugs) that I could handle it. I knew what I was doing. I drank pretty much Tuesday through Saturday, Sunday and Monday were my days off. I continued with this pattern. The thing I did do differently was men — not as many. That’s why it lasted like this for three years. I tried to quit drugs in September of ’97, but couldn’t do it. Someone else always wanted drugs, so when I got it for them, of course I got it for me too. There was so much chaos going on. I was getting sick and tired of being sick and tired. On October 28, I wrote in my journal, in effect crying out, to my God for help. On November 21, I was in Michigan for my niece’s wedding the next day. I was stopped for not using my signals, was arrested, and sat in jail for 21 hours.

Now remember I have a large, religious family, and they were all there for the wedding. I’d flown in with my drugs, and I wasn’t at the wedding. Everybody now knew that Cheryl had a drug and alcohol problem. Shame, humiliation, regret, and remorse: my emotions finally brought me to face what I was doing, who and what I was becoming. I called charter from Michigan, and came back to Texas. The next day I went to the appointment at Charter, and they referred me to Ron Deage. I started treatment that night. I wanted to get better. I wanted guarantees. I wanted 60 days sobriety. Well, I got 2 out of 3. There are no guarantees. There’s only one day at a time. Things get better, then they get different. I got better. Today I can look in the mirror and not look away. I can say loving things to the face in the mirror and it doesn’t flinch.

The tools you can learn in treatment you can choose to use. I choose to use them one day at a time. I’ve learned to meet life with my God. I’ve gained a sense of knowing all is well. I’ve learned that my emotions don’t have to rule me. I’ve learned that I do have a choice today. Today I choose to ask God to keep me sober, to light my path, and to keep me aware of Him.

Thanks for reading and God Bless,



I was born in 1959 in Brooklyn, NY. I grew up in an Italian lifestyle family. I had a very hard life from the beginning till now. My mother was very frightened of my father, so of course my siblings and I were very afraid of him. My father ruled the house, beat my mom and us, and I hated him for it.

Time went on, and I was about eleven years old when I started getting sexually molested. I was beaten badly. My father would always tell my mom that I had a nasty mouth, and that’s why he beat me. He was a scary man. When he would send my mom to the store I would try to sneak off with her, but when I did I was beaten. My mom was too terrified to even help us. I loved my mom though; she was the greatest.

When I was sixteen years old, I started dating a fellow named “Dennis”. I was so sick of being molested and afraid that I picked a fight with my mom, to try and get away from home. I told her I was getting married, which I thought would be an answer to my troubles. My mom told me to go now, and she would sign for me to get married. That hurt my mom so bad but I had to get out of there. I was married at seventeen, my daughter was born soon after, and two more boys by the time I was 23 years old. Because of my molestation, sex to me was a bad thing, not a good thing. The more I kept away from my husband the more he started to drink alcohol, and then he started to get drunk and beat me, more and more. I was 18 and began to have high blood pressure, and I needed medication, which I am still taking today.

I left my husband when I was 26, and started going out. I then became a cocaine addict to cover up, or so I thought. Well, drugs became a nightmare. I used for 5-6 years, and I wanted to stop but could not, it was so hard. I was hurting my children, my mom, and myself. At that time, my 22 year-old sister was burned alive when a drunk driver hit her car, and it went into flames. I fell apart completely. I attempted suicide several times, twice went into a coma. and came very near to death. My mom moved to another state, and I thought of a new beginning for us, new people and surroundings. The kids and I went shortly after Mom, and things were great. I bought a house next to Mom, and we became best friends again. We opened a restaurant together. But when Mom became sick, I wanted to walk out of the restaurant and lose all our money, I did not care. My mom told me that a quitter never wins. I stored that saying in my head, and I did not quit. My mom was now very ill, and when I took her to the hospital, they admitted her. The doctor said he was going to do exploratory surgery, and that I should go home, since this can take 12-15 hours, and he would call when it was done, so I went home. I kept checking on her, but by 2 a.m., she was still not out of surgery yet. I must have fallen asleep, because the next time the phone rang it was 5 a.m. It was the doctor, he told me my mother was full of cancer, and she had 72 hours to live. I about died when I heard that, and I ran to the hospital to see her. She was in a coma for about a week; then she started coming out of it and asking to come home. I then was taking lessons to take care of her at home. In between the restaurant, being diagnosed with cancer myself, and putting off my surgery for cancer because I knew my days were numbered with my mom, I was stressed. About three weeks later my mom told me to go get my cancer removed “now”. Shortly after, I had a hysterectomy, and signed out of the hospital 3 days later to return and take care of Mom. I closed the restaurant because Mom lived not 72 hours but 7 weeks. Later, when she died, she held my hand. I look at life a lot differently now. The glass of water is not half empty, it is half full. These are the sayings that help me get through life. I was 34 years old.

January 24, 1994, I was shot in the face with a 9 mm handgun by a woman who I feel was mentally imbalanced. I was given 72 hours to live. The bullet had entered the right side of my face and exited the left side, taking the facial bones on the left side with it. The physical pain was so intense, I thought, “no human can live through this.” The mental and emotional pain was as intense as the physical pain. Praying to God every step of the way helped me get through this. I pulled past those 72 hours with the Lord standing over me. The gunshot wound resulted in a lot of damage to my face. I have had several reconstructive surgeries. The head injury has caused my big problems with my memory, hallucinations at times, and a lot of other consequences, too many to mention here. For a long time I had so many difficulties. I felt I wasn’t pretty anymore and had so many fears and phobias. I would have attacks of rage and get so easily confused. Because of the facial damage, I had to relearn to speak many words. As more time has passed I had to learn to accept myself for who I am now rather than looking for the old me. Again through my life I use my mom’s saying that a quitter never wins, and that has helped me through all the obstacles in my life so far.

I went to therapist after therapist, and finally met Ron Deage, who has helped me recover 75% of the way through this, and more to come. He is the best therapist I ever had in five years of counseling. I’ve been through several therapists and what they couldn’t do in 3 years, Ron has done in a year and a half. He is a very positive and wonderful man who knows his work well. I never saw the light at the end before, but know I see lots of light and hopes now.


A number of years ago, I found myself in such a state of emotional upheaval and pain that I began to search for something to change the feelings I was experiencing. Following a relationship nightmare with a person from my past who reappeared in my life, I needed to get rid of my terrible and turbulent feelings of guilt, anxiety and shame. In desperation, I discovered that while alcohol didn’t take the feelings away entirely, it would numb the pain.

It worked. For a little bit. However, it wasn’t enough. It served only as a temporary anesthetic for the feelings of guilt, abandonment, shame and rejection. And before long I found that the very thing I thought eased my pain turned around and caused me far greater pain that I had ever known before.

Up until this point in my life, I had always been a perfectionist, hard-working, get-it-solved kind of person. When I had a problem, I could “fix” it or at least cover it up with so much gloss and varnish that it “looked” good even if it wasn’t. Though most people considered my husband and me to be marital role models, I knew that my 14-year-marriage was crumbling. And hidden, silent addiction became a way of life bringing along with it all kinds of stress and the baggage — both physical and emotional. I can’t count the number of ambulances I have been in, or the number of Emergency Rooms I’ve been admitted to. At one point my blood alcohol level was registered at .375 (people have died at this level). I was admitted to one treatment center after another, some for two weeks, and one up to 10 weeks. Expensive? Yes? Hard on my family to be without me for weeks at a time? Yes! Did they fill the void inside of me? No.

My perfect marriage, car-pool driving soccer-mom image, and financially secure life that I had known hardly resembled the years of devastation that were to follow. I had come up against a problem that was different than anything I had ever beaten before. This was alcoholism, and along with it came drug addiction and promiscuity. This was not something I could fix!

I thought I was holding on to alcohol, but it was holding on to me. Time after time I tried to control it, and I found that it was the one in control, not me. More and more the person I saw in the mirror seemed to be my evil twin, not the real me. But the more I engaged in this bizarre behavior, the more I began to wonder, which is the real me? Is the real me the 4.0 grade-point-average homecoming queen who leads Bible study and teaches Sunday school, or is the real me this person who ends up in jail for public intoxication, wrecks cars, and tries to open airplanes while in flight at 35,000 feet? Was the real me the person who longed for acceptance and would smile and flatter my way to get it, or was it the person who would completely compromise her morals once alcohol was ingested? Or was it neither? Was the real me some other person altogether?

It seemed that alcohol wasn’t the only thing over which I was powerless. I was powerless over my relationships, my job, and my home. I was powerless over my identity. Over and over I would acknowledge, as we are encouraged to do at Alcoholics Anonymous, “I admit I am powerless over alcohol and my life has become unmanageable.” Would you agree that my life was unmanageable? After the third marital separation from my wonderful, faithful husband, after being let go from my job, after loss of the custody of my child, I would have to say that yes, my life was quite unmanageable. So why would I continue to put into my system the very thing over which I was powerless — the thing that just made me more powerless? I felt I had no other choice. It all seemed to blur.

This all sounds very hopeless, helpless and full of despair, doesn’t it? Good news, it’s not!

It has been a long journey, but I can tell you beyond any doubt that today I have come to a point of absolute certainty that since I am powerless I can quite trying to fix it. There is only One who can overcome this addiction, and that Higher Power is God Himself. In and of myself I have tried literally everything that this world has to offer to overcome this addiction.

Thankfully that journey led me to Turning Point, directed by Ron Deage, a tremendous tool God has used in my road to recovery. Those in my treatment and aftercare groups have watched me all along the way; perhaps even themselves at times despairing that I would ever find victory. But they would now tell you of the difference seen in trying to “beat” this thing myself and coming to a point of surrender and allowing God to beat it for me. You see, I have come to realize that I’m not just weak. I’m worse than weak. I am indeed powerless. It is in that very powerlessness that I have at last come face to face with freedom.

If you have ever struggled with addiction to alcohol, drugs, or any other behavior, you probably know that it feels like you are in captivity. I felt that I was in serious bondage, just as real as if literal handcuffs and chains were wrapped around me. My own insecurities and emotional rationalizations just bound the chains tighter. It is a suffocating, frightening feeling. But, I am no longer in captivity! I am free!

For years I have been angry that I am an alcoholic, that I can’t drink like “other people” seem to. I’m not angry about it today. In fact, I’m grateful because I have a new and free way of life that I would have never discovered had I not wallowed around in this pit of hopelessness. Yes, I’m an alcoholic, powerless to the core. But through God and this program there is hope. There is such a freedom to recognize that I don’t have to do it all! And since I don’t have any power anyway, I can rest in the One who does. While I just follow a “few simple rules” as the Big Book says and “do the next right thing,” God comes along and provides all the power I need to stay sober one more day. And there is so much more to life than just being alcohol-free. Life is now a joyous and free existence. I never knew such happiness could exist! Will there be bumps along the road? No doubt, but I have the tools and the source of power to get me through those bumps. If God has the power to give me freedom in these areas, He can most assuredly handle any other area that comes along!

I am so grateful to Ron Deage, Turning Point Counseling Center and most of all to God Himself for giving this powerless alcoholic true freedom.


Dallas, TX

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