What was your situation like before coming to the Coalition?
I had gotten myself arrested for drug charges and lost my car, apartment, and most importantly, my kids. I was pretty much homeless – I was staying in people’s cars and couch surfing as people would allow. My only possessions were a backpack and a suitcase – I didn’t know what to do or where to go. I was trying to get into a treatment center because I knew the drugs were a cop out and an unhealthy way to deal with life’s challenges – I owed it to my children to get my act together. I’ve since learned that I owed it to myself too – I’m worth it and I didn’t always feel that way. I eventually got into a treatment center where I stayed for 9 weeks. While I was working toward recovery, I learned about the Food & Care Coalition.
What impact did your stay at the Food and Care Coalition have on you?
My family has always been supportive of me even through my addiction challenges. They did everything to shelter me. However, moving into the Coalition was the best thing that ever happened. I needed to be on my own, I needed to not be dependent on family members and have them always rescuing me. Being exposed to the world as I was going through my process of staying sober and being clean was vital to my long-term sobriety. I’ve stayed clean since even when drugs or triggers were around me. I had the right tools and the right support system. My case managers and the whole staff knew me and knew about my drug habits, about my situation. They helped me out so much- with finding housing, with care, with my resume and looking for jobs.
How have things changed since you left?
When I moved out of the FACC into my current apartment, my kids moved in with me. It’s been great. We walk to the bus stop every morning- they go to school and I go to work. It’s the greatest feeling being back with my kids. They were gone for over a year, and now we’re back together and trying to build our relationships again. I feel a motivation to do better, to go to the extreme for my kids and for myself, because we are worth whatever sacrifice is needed to make it!