or the last five months before I made it to Healing Transitions, I disconnected from my family and my first child, Brody. At the time he was four years old. I was couch surfing and in a very abusive relationship for part of those five months, finally ending up sleeping under bridges or in my car. I was drinking and using drugs every single day. I would get notes from my parents that they would leave on the windshield of my car asking for me to reach out to them to let them know if I was alive or not. For those last five months I was completely checked out of my life and was a zombie. I was depressed and later on through my recovery I have found that it was a spiritual depression with no direction or purpose in my life.

I started on the road to Healing Transitions when the man I was in an abusive relationship with went to jail and I had the opportunity to escape that relationship. I ran for my life and my parents allowed me to move back home. I moved back in with them, but I was still in a pattern where I would disappear for days and then come back home. So, one night my mom took me aside to talk to me about getting help and this night in particular her words really sank in. I finally felt like I was done with struggling and I didn’t have to do this anymore. From that moment forward I surrendered and was willing to do whatever was asked of me to get help.

On June 2, 2014 I started the program at Healing Transitions. The first year I spent at Healing Transitions was the best year of my life out of 28 years. The time I spent in the program finally gave me the time I needed to heal. It also gave my family time to heal. The program set me up for success in recovery by connecting me with a community of women that will never leave and will always be there for me. I have the opportunity today to give back to that community by coming back to Healing Transitions and helping other ladies that are in the same place that I used to be. I used to be the new girl in the shelter struggling, and the women who came through the program before me showed me what it looks like to be a woman. They taught me to hold my head high, be respectful and walk with integrity. I saw these women who came before me finish the program and have freedom and not remain sick. They were able to stay sober through so many trials — even when they missed their children and wanted to be with them.

When I was coming through the program, one of the most powerful things that happened was the reconnection with my family. The Child and Family Resource Specialist at Healing Transitions, Ms. Ann Hoo, helped my family to be at peace with me coming through the program and helped them to understand the process. She is a true advocate. She wasn’t just in my corner, but she advocated for my family and knew what was best for all for us to heal together. Also having the opportunity to have my child come and stay for weekends and visit with me during Christmas was one of the moments I am most thankful for. I was not with him the previous year on Christmas, and it was such a wonderful feeling to be able to be present and spend that time with him. When I came into the program, I was concerned about missing opportunities to spend time with my son. My mom told me that I was giving up a year to be in the program, but I was gaining the rest of my life with him and I won’t miss anything ever again — and I haven’t. I am able to be there for every moment with my family and my son.

After finishing the program, things are wonderful today. I have a great relationship with my parents now. They never gave up on me through all my struggles. They took care of my first son, Brody, for six years, and when I had a year of sobriety, I gave them custody of Brody with the understanding that once I showed them that I would not return to my old behaviors, I would have the opportunity to regain custody. At the time it was one of the hardest things I had ever had to do but I trusted my parents and knew that it was the right step. I now have shared custody of Brody with my parents and have a wonderful relationship with him. I am able to be a mom and be there for him, and we grow every day together. The relationship with Brody has been one of the most difficult to rebuild but it has been the most rewarding and I think that was one of the proudest moments for my mom — knowing that I was able to take care of her grandson again and be a mother.

I also got married to the love of my life who is also in recovery. He started a business called Recovery Landscape that I now work for managing the office. Through this business we are able to provide job opportunities to those is recovery. It’s not about cutting grass, landscaping or making ends meet as much as it is about giving opportunities and helping those in recovery. We have hired around 15-20 men that have been through the program at Healing Transitions. We believe in giving chances to those who would have difficulty finding a job and giving them second chances if they take an opportunity with us and fall down again. There were so many jobs that gave me a chance when I was finding recovery, and we are so glad that we can give that opportunity to others today.

Everything is not always easy, but things are so much better today. My family is growing! I have a newborn son, Wyatt, and I have a loving and supportive community of women that are there for me when times are tough.

Healing Transitions gave me my life back.