“Three years ago, three years seemed a long way off. On Sept 13th 2013, I had three years of sobriety and I just keep moving forward. It’s hard to think what it will be like down the road when you’re there. But just like I was told, hang on and life will get better. And they were right.”
December 27, 2013
“14 months ago, I left Duffy’s and I had no idea what or how my new found sobriety was going to go. I came home to a house absent of any alcohol and have a wife and step-son that are completely happy and supportive. I do not have the cravings for alcohol, but every now and then, I have a dream in which I am drinking and no one around me cares that I am having a drink. I, on the other hand, have this feeling of guilt and incredible remorse for taking that drink because I know that I just blew my 14 months of sobriety. Me being sober has been such a relief and weight off of my shoulders. When I wake-up from those dreams, I am so happy to know that it was just a dream, nightmare, and I have not blown my sobriety. Every aspect of my life has improved. My health is better and I am losing weight slowly. I have paid-off several loans and my credit is back to excellent. I look forward to going to work everyday and my coworkers now know that I went to Duffy’s and they are all in for support. In that haze, I never knew what was wrong in my life and it was all about me. I remember the first four or five days at Duffy’s, that was just not the place for me. I knew better. Then about the 4th day, I started to listen in group meetings and I started to realize that I was just as bad off as the rest of the people there. I realized that I needed help. Getting involved at Duffy’s was key to my sobriety. I remember thinking how strange it was to look forward to doing the dishes. My buddy Erik and I did them for a week straight. My wife has a saying for that, “Teamwork makes the dream work.” My wife and I are going to take a trip back to Duffy’s, on our new Harley that is paid for, and I can’t wait to have dinner and attend a meeting. I have a new life, and I am loving it!”
December 27, 2013
“I was an upper-class, soccer/PTA super mom. How could I possibly be an alcoholic? Well, I was and I am and thanks in large part to Duffy’s, I sit here writing this with about 4 1/2 months of sobriety. I’m still very “new” to sobriety but already, my life is vastly different than it was just months ago. By the time I checked in to Duffy’s, I was a two bottle a night wine drinker. Most nights ended in a black out (although I preferred to call it “going to sleep”). My kids were angry, my husband was fed up but more importantly I hated me. I’d “come to” every morning around 3a.m. and berate myself for a good half hour, promise myself the next day would be different and then do it all over again. Day after day…for years. I was scared to death when I checked myself into Duffy’s but I decided to make that program (at least for a time) my “higher power”. I did what was suggested of me (if not more) and listened. And learned. I didn’t stay as long as I would have liked (the pull of family was too much) but I had a mantra when I left: meetings, steps, sponsor and service. I drove straight from Duffy’s to my first meeting and attended two per day for weeks after. I still attend at least one meeting a day, I have a sponsor, I’m working the step and I have four meeting commitments. I’d be a liar if I said the first week or two at home weren’t difficult (I avoided the wine aisle at Safeway as if it was death itself) but in a surprisingly short period of time, the obsession to drink was lifted from me. I still think about it occasionally but life is so much better for me without alcohol in it. I pray I never go there again. One day at a time. I highly recommend Duffy’s. It’s the perfect combination of a strong treatment center and an excellent foundation for entering A.A. “on the outside” and living a sober life. I also liked the fact that although the days were relatively full, there was a nice mix of down/quiet time to reflect and relax. Unlike some other programs, every minute of your day ISN’T scheduled. The facilities are comfortable and the staff are friendly. I’d highly recommend the program to anyone considering residential treatment.”
November 25, 2013
“As I sit here wondering what I can share it became obvious in an instant… I went into Duff’s thinking it would be stodgy conservative people both in guests and staff. What I found was so the opposite: I was greeted with caution yet care. I was so uncomfortable being the only gay male there and it was fairly obvious some were a little nervous around me. After no more than a few days, the uncomfortable few became my new best friends, and as I lightened up so did the staff. I enjoyed stirring up shit with both the staff and guests all in great fun. OF COURSE Duffs is responsible for my road to recovery as am I but dammit they are responsible for me understanding that we are all one equally and accepted, and a chance to care for others might just be what I needed as much as I desperately needed to get sober. KUDOS to staff and GUESTS who helped me through the worse time in my life. I’m living very well guys n gals… thank you from the bottom of my sober heart.”
November 3, 2013
“I have delayed sharing simply because I haven’t found an adequate way to express my amazement and appreciation. Duffy’s physical environment provides the serenity, comfort, and security I had not anticipated, but enhanced my recovery. The staff (now family to me): front and back offices, counselors, housekeeping, dining, maintenance, and administration are sincere and caring people. As for the program itself, I cannot imagine one more thorough or effective. I learned, practiced and continue to use tools for daily routines and attitudes (as Pat would say) which have changed my life. I regret the years wasted in ill health (and looking it!), isolation, depression, loneliness, frustration, desperation, and denial because life is GOOD! My best personal qualities are resurfacing. It’s a new me and I like her. I am eternally grateful for this gift from Duffy’s which has opened doors to a wonderful life. Problem free? No, that’s life, but now I can handle these minor turns along the road with serenity…”
October 2, 2013
“My favorite thing, the best time, I remember about Sarge (Gene Duffy) is sitting on the porch of the main house on 4th of July (early 90’s, forget what year) listening to his words of wisdom. He always had some to share and it was always good. I remember a lot of it even now. And by the way, what ever happened to the lady who cooked. The one that would take 3 orders at a time. Cook them up and deliver them to your table without making one mistake? She was another favorite of mine.”
May 24, 2013
“I knew him well! He knew me better! Two things that took it to the TOP level. Duffy’s zero-tolerance on bullshit, and hummers. If you even thought about trying to pull it over on Gene, it was ‘get yer ass outta my place, and come back after you learn to tell the truth!” It was EXACTLY that confrontational booming voice that I needed to hear, if I was EVER going to stay sober. Gene was my #1 guide, and that is always the story I tell, and I’m stickin to it. And YES, Gene, I DO have a date, and its 9/12/1985. Thanks, always.”
April 15, 2013
“I came to Duffy’s twice – last time in 1979 and have been sober ever since. Had it not been for Duffy’s and the introduction to sobriety, there is no way I would be alive today, let alone still sober after all these years. Thank you. Glad to see you are still there.”
March 14, 2013
Betsy (Bishop) Colgan
“In Jan of 1992, I had been at Duffy’s about 9-10 days and had convinced myself that all this “one day at a time” bull was not for me and was ready to leave and continue the insanity. At my afternoon group session I didn’t have anything to say and was just waiting for my one on one with a Duffy counselor so I could check out.
As I walked into her office the first thing she said, “What’s wrong? Something on your mind?” I said yes and she said, “You been here about 9-10 days” and again I said yes. She then smiled, and I remember that smile, and she said then you’re in the right place. Then we talked I know we went longer than I should have expected, but she was the right person at the right time for me.
I stayed the remaining 28 days and have been sober ever since. Thank you, Duffy counselors, I hope you realize how important you were in my life.”
December 20, 2011
“I used and abused drugs for the 2nd half of my life. I was functional, relatively successful, but I know I would have achieved much more without the use of drugs. I felt all was under control until one day someone introduced me to speed. I thought I could handle anything because I did coke, ecstasy and other drugs for so long, I thought nothing of it.
Man was I dead wrong. That stuff took getting high to a new level and one I could not handle. After realizing my life was in shambles, I tried to quit a few times on my own but to no avail. My family dragged me out of it, I moved in with my brother across the country and a year later I was back in the same town thinking I was good to go. No rehab involved this time. I lasted for several months (2 years total break) and I finally got into it again in full gear. I think I jumped back in worse off then I was before. My first run was 5 years and my second run was 7 years and I thought, there is no way in hell I’m ever gonna get out of this hell alive or without going to jail, death or serious injury to myself at the least. I knew one or more of the above was inevitable.
Thank God for my loving family who said to me again…we know you are using so please would you go to rehab? We researched our butts off and found this place in Napa called Duffy’s and we think you’d do well there and someone in a friend’s family went there and loved it. I said yes, reluctantly, but I knew at the age of 39 I did not want to be on drugs on my 40th birthday. Somehow, I knew it was time and I had to do something. This was a blessing from above.
So I arrived and slept for a few days since that was something I never did and I felt at home right away. The people were great under the circumstances. The staff was wonderful and they actually seemed like they cared and they did. The schedule was absolutely great because it kept you busy and honest. The facility is clean and the food was good. I think it was too good because it showed. I always thought I would feel imprisoned there but I felt like I was in camp when I was a kid, really I did. I learned a lot, I loved the class activities and time flew by, it was a great experience.
I don’t know what it was about being in Duffy’s that made me want to stop being a drug addict. I just knew I had a second or third chance at life and this was it. I still to this day don’t know what it was that made me know I had to quit. I’m sure I had something to do with it but I really learned a lot there and highly recommend it to anyone who is in need of recovery. No, I’m not being paid to write this but you may think so. I’m just happy to be alive and well and want to share.
I heard 1 out of 10 people recover from speed and I am one of them. I have a very addictive personality and I never ever thought I could stop my abuse and I did. Miracle, luck, whatever, it worked and Duffy’s showed me the strength. I wish I could show people in their addiction a glimpse of my new, clear headed and very happy life and that there is hope. Sleep is my best friend these days among other things and what I love most is I spend a lot of time with my family…the people I always tried to avoid when I was getting high and now I never want to be without them.”
December 13, 2011
“My brokenness has been shadowing me recently. Reminding me of where I came from. I believe she will always be watching over me – encouraging me to keep strong and whole.
26 years ago I was on a year-long path of learning how to walk again after a night of drunkenness which led me down Silverado Trail imploding amongst twohundred-year-oldd Oak trees and a thirteen-foot ravine. Pieces of my car and…my body are still imbedded in those majestic Oaks. My outlook on my life was “I couldn’t live right and I couldn’t die right”. A sad perspective when one considers that I was given a loving family, opportunity galore and a community that embraced me with gentle arms. All of which I bafflingly turned away from as if they were the plague.
25 years ago I was crumbled on the linoleum of the kitchen in my migrant worker’s cottage. I was broken beyond the physical. I had a moment where I realized that I was responsible for what I had become. There wasn’t anyone else to blame.
In the days between 1985 and 1986, while healing from the wreck that miraculously didn’t kill me, I was visited daily by a young man named Lambert. He would come on those slow and painful walks with me and quietly talk. He shared a life that started where I found myself to a life of peace, freedom, and joy.While on that floor in my kitchen, I felt I had no one to turn to. I had hurt too many people; damaged too many relationships; burned too many bridges. There was one person though that kept coming in my thoughts – Lambert. I called to him for help. He came that night and held my hand and told me there was a way of life to live that would remove my despair. He shared again the path life had taken him and disclosed in depth how he came from the shambles of his youth. He gave me the lifeline of hope. That night, after many cups of coffee and a moment to wash up, I found myself among a group of people sharing a life that was mine but instead of crumbling into the earth, they were walking with their heads held high and a spark of life in their eyes.
That was October 25, 1986.
Until that night, I didn’t know it but I was afflicted with a disease that wanted to take me down fast a furiously – the disease of alcoholism.
Today and for the past 25 years, my life is full of joyous impossibilities had I not been given that moment of Grace. The nightmare of yesterday will not be forgotten but it does not define me today.
Thank you To Eloise, my sponsor who told me to accept the first callback for an interview for employment! Ended up being the best latrine scrubber for Duffy’s ever – ha… meals, meetings and sobriety part of my job description!!!!”
October 26, 2011
“My last alcoholic drink was a “hummer” in October 1984, or as Duffy used to call it, “shitty bourbon and water”. In those days, Duffy tapered us off on “hummers”. I still hear Duffy’s voice in the back of my mind. “If they make a pill to allow me to take one drink, I won’t take the pill…who wants one drink?””
October 20, 2011
“Greetings! I received treatment at Duffys over 23 years ago. I am proud to say I am eighteen years clean. The most significant memory of my stay were the staff and the discipline. The family structure was critical in my growth process. It is imperative that you as learn to understand your daily struggle with your addiction as it is the addict mind. With this disease there is alot of shame and destructive behaviors. Shame will take you places you never intended on going and staying longer than you anticipated staying…”
October 2, 2011
“Hello, I am so grateful to get the Hummer. Thank you all for your hard work. Duffy’s was so special in my life. It opened doors for me to have a new way of living. I remember the evening I arrived at Duffy’s. I was allowed to go straight from maximum security at Santa Rita jail to Duffy’s. I arrived in my jail suite around July 12, 1996 at 8pm. My intake was with a counselor named Rich. I still remember a sign out front that I think said “absolutely insist on enjoying life.” I never thought it could be possible. I remember my first morning session, the discussion was about drugs and I just starting crying and another patient(Heather) put her hand on my arm and said you are in the right place. And she was right. I want to thank the staff for providing my beginning set of tools for daily living. Today I look forward to waking up and living life. Today I have not had a drink, used any drugs or hurt anyone, that is a good day of living. I have been sober now for over 15 years.”
August 2, 2011
John F – San Francisco
“I left Duffy’s on June 13th, 2011 and I am still on track. This is the most happiest I have been in years. The Duffy’s Staff and my fellow classmates will always have a special place in my heart. I can’t explain it but there is something “MAGIC” about Duffy’s. I had one of the best experiences of my life at Duffy’s. Who would think this would happen at rehab.”
July 13, 2011
“Just checking in again, another year later, with more thanks for the wonderful staff of Duffy’s. This is my second time to sign the guestbook (I hope that’s alright). I had four years sober on May 15th, 2011…. Four years since I walked through the doors at Duffy’s and my life changed forever. Anyway, if you’re still thinking about Duffy’s and you haven’t gone yet…. GO. If you’re afraid, don’t be. It’s the most welcoming place I have ever been. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain. I will be 30 in September; my family didn’t expect me to see 26. I am eternally filled with love and gratitude for the amazing staff of Duffy’s and the friends that I made there, wherever they may be. What a special group of people…. What an amazing place to start a new chapter in your life. This is one thing that you really don’t need to think about — just go and see if you want a new life. Give yourself a few weeks to make that decision with a clear head and an open heart. You will not be sorry. xoxo”
June 23, 2011
Love, again, from Texas. Julia T.
“Hello from Humboldt! I entered Duffy’s on Sept. 22 2010, and the first thing I noticed was how happy everyone was. I thought to myself, “How can this be?” I was sick and lost, and a room full of cheerful people was not what I expected. The staff was wonderful, kind, and understanding as they helped me to settle in. I saw the doctor that day, and through his administration of Suboxone, was made immediately comfortable in my opioid withdrawals. That very afternoon I had an appetite and was laughing. My biggest fear was conquered. That allowed me to get to work on my real problem. Myself! And I’m still working hard. Almost five months sober, and going! The future looks bright for the first time in many years. Many thanks to all at Duffy’s.”
February 9, 2011
Sincerely, Brian J.
“I liked Duffy’s so much, I got to be a repeat. Last time was in 1992, when Duff said he did in fact have a bed for me. He didn’t look down on me, condemn me, nor think less of me as a man, just an alcoholic who needed help. In 1992, his statement of looking at one’s self in the mirror and finally admitting that we had lost the ability to control our drinking really hit home. I listened and took to heart all that Duff had to say, and the staff had to offer. He was a hell of man, and helped thousands of us on the road to recovery, which included living life again as productive and independent members of society. Duff could get us sober while we were there, but he also pushed AA, which continues to be a big part of my life. I often think of Duffy’s, having thought they might not have been around after his passing. Good to see they are still helping others in need, along with those of us who have positive memories of our experience there. Now that I know they are still open, I may plan on a golf tournament, as well as a sober weekend. Thank you Duff for guiding me in my sobriety and a wonderful life. April will be nineteen years of a great life.”
January 30, 2011
“Well over 20 years ago, Duffy, his sons and staff allowed me the opportunity to a new way of life. Since then I have celebrated not only two decades of continuous abstinence, but also have watched my sister get 14 years. My defunct family is changing our history. I am now married to a recovering addict with 18 years clean and have been blessed to be married to her for over ten years. I have two children 7 and 4. I have God in my life that this addict actually lets guide me…..every now and then. I could go on and on. Still go to meetings, I am involved in running a H & I meeting. Own my own business and home…..I can be alone….and be OK. Duffy was truly, looking back….an angel of mine (and others). I will never forget.”
January 18, 2011
“Hello all, I celebrated the start of 2011 sober and happy for the first time in who knows how long. I am enjoying life again and I thank the entire Duffy’s staff for everything they did for me. And I have to admit, I appreciate my dishwasher more than ever. Today is 125 days and I am just taking it one day at a time.”
January 5, 2011
Patrick A, Sacramento
“I received “my Hummer” with a new look today. I have much to say about Duffy’s. In March of 1971 I “visited” for the first time and twice since that year. Gene D new how to handle a “big shot” like me. He just ignored me for three days. We became great friends. He dined in our home in Lafayette before a speaking commitment in Walnut Creek and once we met for lunch in Copenhagen. Went to the big Round Up in Palm Springs together but all that was not enough. After six years I was cured, moved my family to New Jersey and was nipping for 7 years and still going to meetings. April 10th 1984, I turned my life and my will over to the care of God and gave up and have been truly blessed with a wonderful life ending up in Naples, FL. I go to many meetings here and in Denmark (we are there 4 months in the summer), where there once were few and now many meetings. My initial introduction to AA and Gene’s ass kicking way of getting me going I shall never forget. The “old timers” that took me under their wings was what brought me back to a wonderful sober life. Last year we visited my first sponsor’s wife in Gilroy (I had not seen her in 30 years). Bill Mac passed on some years ago and we just had lunch with her and her new husband while visiting Lafayette over Thanksgiving week. I am living with my ex-wife now for over 12 years (the mother of my sons and my high school sweetheart). She has been a steady member of “the other party” since 1971. We are so lucky, so very lucky. Thanks to AA and all you wonderful people that came into our lives. God Bless the work you do at Duffy’s. I’m going to stop and say hello when visiting our oldest son in Lafayette one day. Thank you for faithfully sending me the “Hummer”. God bless you and have a very Merry Christmas with the best wishes for the New Year where Duffy’s will bring the message to so many new and lucky folks.”
December 20, 2010
“Happy Holidays everyone, I have never been a patient of Duffy’s but I have several friends that have gone to Duffy’s and are still sober after 20 year’s…Thank you for being there for the Alcoholics that are ready for a better way of life. If I put one hand in AA and my other hand in my Higher Power, I don’t have a hand to pick up a drink.”
December 20, 2010
Steve from Albuquerque, New Mexico
“Thank you Duffy’s for being the first 28 days of the rest of my life in August 2000. I have spent the last 10 years sober, and have achieved so much as a mother that I could not have achieved on the destructive path I was on. The caring, the counseling, the environment….the wonderful staff….all contributed to the life I began, and the horrid one I left behind. Blessings to you and all in recovery. One day at a time. You saved my life.”
November 25, 2010
Susan B., Southern California
“I am still amazed at the quality of care that I received at this facility. I realize that I can only take one day at a time and today I am happy and sober because I am actually using the tools that I learned at Duffy’s. I will keep you all in my prayers.”
November 18, 2010
“It has been over six years since I spent time at Duffy’s and I am still sober. Cannot say enough about the staff and the program there. You are all miraculous.”
November 8, 2010
Thanks so much, Diane G
“I brought my addicted wife to Duffy’s to help her, and never realized it would change my life forever. I was a successful contractor in Silicon Valley and felt that these “addicts” were just weak individuals who couldn’t cope, and that God was just a legend made up for “such people”. I could relate to Duffy as he was a construction person also, so I listened to his stories on Sunday’s when I came to visit the 3 times my wife was there. One weekend I was extremely troubled because the city inspector had refused to allow occupancy (Friday afternoon) of a facility I had just completed. I would be responsible for the lost productivity and wages until the facility could open. Duffy was talking and said that if you got down on your knees and asked God you may be surprised at the coincidence of the results. I went home and asked the Lord to help me, and on Monday morning a new city inspector showed up and approved the facility for occupancy. Who would ever expect that a change in inspectors could take place over a weekend as we know the city doesn’t work on weekends. This became the start of a new beginning for me, and although my wife passed away due to her addiction it has led me to the Lord. I regularly hold meetings in my home and minister to those in need, and am studying how to be a better conduit for HIS healing abilities (stripes). You may not be aware of who is listening and the impact at your meetings, but we all are hurting and your input is felt beyond what you can see. Later on I had to bring my secretary there for help and she is now my wife and soul companion and she is clean and sober for 15 years. Keep up the good work.”
November 6, 2010
An old friend and believer, Bob
“My sobriety date is July 21, 2008. On that date I drove myself from the Sierra Foothills out to Duffy’s because I was out of answers. My father had attended meetings there in the late 70’s and helped me find the facility. I checked in and got involved. I needed a solution to my alcoholism and I found it at Duffy’s. I got plugged in immediately and hit the ground running. I haven’t stopped since. Today, I am very active in the recovery community in Southern California, I am helping others to get sober, I am back in school full-time and starting my own business. This wouldn’t be possible without the treatment and kindness that I received at your facility. Thank you for my life!!!”
November 5, 2010
“I knew I needed help but didn’t know where to turn. I didn’t realize what I needed was to learn I was lost with nowhere to go. I was a mess and finally hit my all-time low. I accepted death as my only way out. I was to die young, in that I had no doubt I knew giving up wasn’t a smart move. Being worthy of love was something I knew I could prove. With this lesson I’ve learned so many important things about life’s gifts and all the blessings it brings. Thank you for your gift that keeps on giving. I will take your lessons and be thankful for living.”
September 6, 2010
“Hi there, I just wanted to send a big hello and thanks again to everyone at Duffy’s. I am about to turn 29, and much in part to the help I received during my stay at Duffy’s. I celebrated three years of sobriety on May 15th, 2010. My life is unimaginably different than it was a little over three years ago. I have accomplished a great deal, both personally and professionally, but the most important thing—at least I believe—is being able to wake up every morning… and not wish that I hadn’t. It’s amazing to actually look forward to my life, where every day used to be such a struggle. My family and I send our love and well wishes to the staff and workers. And, to everyone who was a resident in May/June of 2007, I hope you’re still out there… and I hope that you have found peace and happiness. I miss you all and think of you often. If you’re considering a stay at Duffy’s, just go for it. Whatever happens, however scary it may seem, I promise that you will be better for the time that you spend there. Duffy’s, without a doubt, saved my life.”
August 26, 2010
Love from Texas, Julia T.
“Love reading the comments. Fills me with such nostalgia. I was a guest at Duffy’s in 1986 and have not found it necessary to take a drink since that day. And, for this alcoholic, that is a miracle! I was also blessed with the chance to then give back what was so freely given to me by working at Duffy’s in the late 80’s and early 90’s. I will never be able to truly communicate my gratitude, so I will continue to help those that still suffer and keep Sr. in my heart always.”
July 28, 2010
Yours in Sobriety, Irene T.—San Carlos, CA