A departing love letter to the Well House,
As my wife Ryelee and I begin to face the inevitable reality that we will be moving on from our resident fellow roles at the Well House, we write today with our hearts full of gratitude and appreciation. When we entered this community nearly two years ago, we found ourselves awestruck by the courage and determination that each of the students at the Well exudes.
We have seen firsthand the transformative power of this community. The residents of the Well House are a testament to the fact that building a community that is supportive of students opting for a substance-free lifestyle is not only possible, but also beautiful and fulfilling. They have created a safe and supportive environment where they can learn, grow and thrive at Stanford without substance use. We have seen them support each other through difficult times, celebrate each other’s victories, and build lasting friendships.
But the impact of this community goes beyond its residents. It also serves as a beacon of hope for anyone struggling with substance use disorder, reminding them that they are not alone, and that recovery is possible, even at a school like Stanford. It is a testament to the fact that recovery is not a solitary journey, but a collective one, and that support and community are crucial to success.
To the resident assistants of the Well House: Your leadership has carried us through the bright and gloomy times over the past two years. You have worked incredibly hard to create a warm environment where students are inspired by your devotion and leadership. Your unwavering commitment and love for the house and its students has been extraordinary.
To the students of the Well House: You are an inspiration to us and to countless others. Your courage and perseverance in the face of adversity is nothing short of remarkable. You have created a community that is filled with love, kindness, and hope, and we are grateful to have had the privilege to live with and learn from you. Thank you for being the change you wish to see in the world.
To our neighbors living on The Row: We thank you for your willingness to reach out and ask how to support students in recovery living next to you, while at the same time carrying forward the dominant culture traditions passed down by Row students of yore. It has not been perfect, but it has been progress.
To the Stanford students in addiction recovery: The sheer willpower to stay sober and maintain a healthy lifestyle in the midst of a campus culture that often glorifies substance use is nothing short of admirable. It takes strength, support, and a level of self-awareness that is not easy to come by.
To the rest of the Stanford community: Let us rally around these students and offer them the support and encouragement they deserve. Let us recognize that substance use disorder is a serious and complex issue that affects many, and let us work together to create a culture of compassion, understanding, and support.
In conclusion, we want to express our deep gratitude and admiration for the students of the wellness and substance-free housing unit, The Well House, at Stanford University. As the world around you searches for answers to the addiction crisis, you have shown that real-world solutions can and do start at home. You have shown us what true courage, resilience, and community look like, and for that, we are all better off.
With love, admiration, and appreciation,
Noel and Ryelee Vest, Resident Fellows of the Well House