Anaheim ARC celebrates first women’s graduation
THE FIRST GRADUATES of the Anaheim ARC women’s program Wendy Utt (left) and Tammy Bratcher (right) pose with Anaheim ARC advisory council member, Jackie Terrell, center.
BY GLEN DOSS, MAJOR –
Long after graduating from the Anaheim ARC women’s program, its very first alumni are still beaming. Thrust suddenly into the limelight during their graduation ceremony, Tammy Bratcher, 29, and Wendy Utt, 34, were the center of attention as cameras flashed and relatives and friends crowded around offering their congratulations.
Major Mary Doss, the program director, led the ceremony. “These two ladies worked very hard at their individual programs and, therefore, have a good chance of remaining clean and sober,” she announced.
The graduation event was “exciting! So very exciting!” exclaims Wendy. “It made me feel so good, knowing I completed something so challenging and difficult.”
We will demonstrate our unswerving love for God by loving our neighbors…helping the helpless, offering hope to the hopeless and bringing healing to the hurting in Christ’s name.
The two women, roommates during the course of the six-month residential program, have much in common. Both methamphetamine addicts, they checked into the program within a few days of one another, each seeking the sobriety necessary to regain custody of their children. Today they are still aggressively working their individual programs, applying the tools that they acquired.
Tammy explains: “At The Salvation Army I learned how to work the 12-steps of Narcotics Anonymous and that people do care. I also learned that if you walk with God, he’s going to bless you and will forgive you for your sins, even though it takes longer for you to forgive yourself. Today it’s as if I’m starting all over again at age 16. That’s how I have to look at my life now. I don’t take anything for granted.”
Wendy points out that over the course of the program “I learned how to be a good parent and to make decisions like a normal (clean and sober) person does. I’m not running and hiding from my problems and feelings anymore. It’s hard, but it’s good! Today I go to two (Narcotics Anonymous) meetings a week and pray a lot. Before I entered the program I never read the Bible; now I do. God has brought so many good things my way. Today I know that he’s my higher power and is always with me!”
Since the 16,000 square foot 28-bed residence began accepting applicants in June, 2001, ten women have completed the intense, regimented program which offers a broad spectrum of instruction including (but not limited to) twelve-step education, process groups, parenting classes, Bible study, alcohol and drug education, relapse prevention, and couples and family groups. Weekly individual counseling sessions are also provided.
“I’m so very glad that this direly needed program is finally up and running,” exclaims Anaheim ARC Advisory Council member Jackie Terrell who looked on proudly during that first graduation ceremony. “Seeing the lives of these lovely women transformed is a beautiful thing. We thank God for this program which has been the dream of so many in this community for so very long.”