written by Landie Canfield
“Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness.” Desmond Tutu
Life is difficult. It is often not what we imagined it would be. It is full of joy, tenderness and delight, but also rife with obstacles, ups and downs and heartbreak… even despair. The MirIAM opened in January of 2017, a place of refuge and a much needed resource for those afflicted by addiction in Carteret County. Founder Tami Thomas left the field of law enforcement looking for continued purpose and praying to know the right path to walk her next steps. The concept of a substance abuse rehabilitation and recovery program came to her with surprise… but with marked clarity and vision. The MirIAM was born and –ever since– many women have found solace, healing, growth and acceptance.
One of the hallmarks of addiction is that it extinguishes hope from people’s lives. Part of the mission of the MirIAM is to bring the light— the hope— back into the lives of the people who have lost it. Hope is universal and impactful, affecting everything from feelings of self-worth, to optimism, to reaching even the most challenging of goals. The other powerful tool we have in our collective arsenal is compassion. To lead with kindness and love, an open heart and a spirit of listening with no effort to control the outcome is key—without any attempt to rescue, fix or judge those who suffer. Tami embraces both hope and compassion, saying “I plant the seeds in the dirt and watch them bloom! I just stay out of God’s way and let him work his miracles… I have a front row seat to a lot of miracles.”
Tami Thomas wants to “meet you where you’re at”, wherever that is and whoever you are. Drugs don’t discriminate based on age, income or social standing and neither does Tami. The MirIAM is home-like, providing a small space and serenity for all who walk through its doors. When the women do leave, it is with the ability to be self-sufficient, with a feeling of empowerment, as a force of strength and capability.
Tami believes that people everywhere need to wake up and recognize the pain of those who suffer with addiction, and know that it takes a village to get them back on their feet. “No,” she says, “it takes an army” to help! She provides medical care, mental health care and follow-up care for the ladies who choose the MirIAM and incorporates Celebrate Recovery’s 12-step program with a myriad of other classes into the healing and rebuilding of lives. Tami Thomas, herself, just might be the miracle and the army we all need.
To learn more about the MirIAM and the many volunteer opportunities they offer, visit their website at www.themiriam.org