A GRATEFUL MOTHER AND DAUGHTER
I was 12 years old when I started using drugs. My family moved here from Iran when I was 5 years old. I remember a lot of domestic violence and family fighting. Although my family was successful, I felt like a black sheep and didn’t fit in anywhere. Rebelling and getting into fights, I moved from school to school, eventually landing in continuation school where I was introduced to hard drugs. I continued this path after high school.
I had made a handful of unsuccessful attempts at sobriety over the next several years. Then came a serious car accident. I had surgery, a long recuperation, and had to learn to walk again. I was so angry that I hadn’t died in the accident. It was at this lowest point that I had a moment of clarity and switched from being mad to thinking maybe it was God’s plan I hadn’t died a dope fiend.
I went into detox soon after and began my sober life on July 1, 2015. Because my own attempts at previous programs hadn’t worked, my insurance company suggested I needed more structure and said they had just the place for me: House of Hope. When I arrived there, I was embraced by the women. The House had a peaceful, homey feel to it. It felt good to be with women who were also broken and here for the same reason.
There was fear of the unknown as I walked through the phases of the primary program. I had been numbed out most of my life, so sitting in group and having to bring things up was hard and uncomfortable, particularly on family night. Through counseling, my mom and I were able to walk through some things and come to trust and accept each other. There were a lot of tears, but they were healing. I’ve been able to make amends, stop blaming and take responsibility. My mom is truly my best friend today and I visit her several times a week.
The structure and time management I learned while in the House has really helped me. I needed that discipline, I still need it. Now in sober living, I’m back in school and getting straight A’s. My sober sisters walk with me and support me. They help me with my fears and remind me that I could be dead. They encourage me to remember that I am worth being successful and happy. I am the happiest I have ever been in my entire life.
My daughter, Del, had struggled with her disease through her teen years. It affected everything: school, her grades, her relationships, and me. She had been going to therapy but no one ever suggested her problems were because of drugs.
Del ended up in the ER due to a seizure, being poorly hydrated, and vastly underweight. At one time the police found her sleeping in her car, high and totally disoriented. I thought the last straw was when she was in a car accident, but the situation continued to get worse. Talking to her didn’t help. Drugs had become her life.
For me it seemed like the end of the world and I couldn’t see any way out. I was praying to God every day and night. I couldn’t let go of her, I was always wondering where she was. I am a nurse and see the end of addiction on a regular basis. It’s traumatizing, losing patients 18, 23, 28 years old. I was desperate. I was going to Alanon, religious meetings, whatever. I was at the point of losing my job, and I couldn’t sleep. It seemed nobody could help me or Del. She had to make a decision.
Then everything changed. Del went into detox and was guided to House of Hope. She ended up staying and I saw just how safe she was and that she would be ok. I saw her change and start believing in herself.
I began attending family night. I’d never had that kind of serious meeting, the counselor working with the families and with the girls. It was just amazing every week – everyone working it out, not judging anyone, putting everything aside and just talking about it.
I am so glad my daughter is healthy and safe today. I’m not kidding myself about the disease but I am optimistic and see the changes that have happened – so different from her other experiences. We have a beautiful relationship. We are both still learning, but we can be so open with each other now.
I give it all to HoH. Along with Del getting healthy, I am, too, and I’m finally taking care of myself.
In 2010 I left my alcoholic husband. I had been a functional alcoholic myself up to that point. For a while I was able to maintain a façade while meeting my own needs and those of my child. I began self-medicating, using vodka as the answer to my life’s problems. Soon I could no longer control my drinking and blackouts started. I had been a successful hairdresser but ended up losing my clientele due to my drinking. Within a year, I got two DUIs, lost custody of my son, and my ex-husband passed away due to this disease. Things snowballed in just a very short amount of time.
I went to a residential substance abuse facility. I had just finished the required MADD class, the last step in my DUI program and had paid all my fines. I wanted to celebrate, so with no fear at all, I bought some alcohol! The treatment facility kicked me out and my parents let me come back home. Depressed, I couldn’t get out of bed. I was still drinking and decided to try an outpatient program and start working again, but I couldn’t stay sober any length of time.
I found House of Hope through an internet search. I saw the pictures, it looked inviting. I had an interview and was put on a waiting list. I was told to call every day, but because I didn’t do this, I had to come back for another interview. This time I was told I could start the next day. My bags were already packed! I was really excited to come. I was also very scared but I didn’t want to go anywhere else.
I’m astonished at how much healing has happened while I’ve been here. House of Hope didn’t just put a Band-Aid on me.
My future ambitions for work and regaining custody of my son feel like they are within reach. These goals looked so far away when I got here. Family night has helped me immensely. Watching my sober sisters’ reunite with their families encouraged me to invite my own. My relationship with my family has become more trusting and open through the nurturing guidance of the staff.
I am now in the new House of Hope outpatient program and am transitioning to sober living. I see how important a 90-day residential program is. The program structure is set up for success and has definitely improved my self-esteem.
I feel God directed me here and I am eternally grateful for all of the incredible blessings that House of Hope has given me. I feel like I am ready to re-enter the real world.
Amy’s dad, Morrie, recently shared his thoughts on his daughter’s addiction and subsequent journey to recovery: “For several years, I had very little contact with Amy. She was living this other life and there was just no involvement with her. It seemed like she had literally just thrown her whole life away. I couldn’t figure out how this happened and I couldn’t imagine there was anywhere else to go from here but up, yet that didn’t come about.”
The effects were so devastating. To get to where she was on the streets was unimaginable for him as it would be for any parent. Morrie knew it was not intentional or personal, yet there wasn’t anything he said or did that seemed to help. “I begged, I pleaded with her to get clean. I know now that until she was ready, nothing was going to change.”
These were dark years and it was hard for him to accept that this was happening. Then it was as though one day it was bad and the next day it was ok. Sometime after entering House of Hope Amy called her dad, and it was obvious something had changed – like the light had finally come on for her! As Morrie puts it, “Her life has completely turned around and I can’t tell you how happy I am. Her philosophy seems to be ‘show up early, be prepared and good things happen.’”
I thank God for a place like House of Hope; your work is such an important task. It is an amazing process to witness. To have my daughter back is just indescribable and I am so very grateful.”