Interview and write up by Kelly Friday
Tiffany is a 43-year-old woman who first started drinking when she was 15. Several people in her family have died from substance use disorders, including her aunt, uncle and more recently her brother, a devastating event that lead to more drinking. Tiffany initially had positive experiences with drinking:
“It brought me out of my shell because I was so insecure. At first I just drank on weekends, then I started going to bars regularly, even becoming a bartender, and finally I drank at work. She said, “We call it ‘the hair of the dog’—I drank what I drank last night to get over my hangover.
“Throughout my bartending and drinking career I would get the shakes and sweats. I always had an upset stomach but I didn’t want to know what was wrong with me. But my family and friends knew I had a problem because of the way I looked and acted. I wouldn’t show up to family functions or holiday parties and very rarely even spoke to family. I thought I didn’t need anyone.
“I started taking six-month breaks from drinking, just to prove that I could, but then there would be a celebration or a trip to Palm Springs and I would start drinking again.
“Before I came to House of Hope, drinking was my main focus. I was living in my car, homeless, and I woke up one morning drinking what I had left in the bottom of the bottle, trying to rid myself of the shakes. I asked God for help. I prayed and prayed to God, pleading for Him to please help me. I said to God, “I don’t want to die like this.” I reached out to my mom and told her I was out of options. I admitted that I needed help and she told me three words, “House of Hope.” My mom went through House of Hope twice and she had only great things to say about it.
“I had my reservations. I had never admitted that I even needed rehab. I thought of the stigma attached to getting treatment for addiction. But I was also ready and weary. When I arrived, I was welcomed with open arms. I was home. The girls were welcoming and I started making real connections with women, something new for me. All the staff has played such a part in my recovery, from the case manager helping me get insurance and doctor’s appointments, to an amazing counselor who is so relatable and reassuring. I even asked someone to sponsor me through Zoom. She said, “It’s hard for you to ask for help isn’t it?” I’m excited to work with her and figure out what makes me tick, something I’ve been trying to figure out for years. I look forward to completing residential treatment and then transitioning to outpatient treatment at House of Hope, and Recovery Bridge Housing. I’m excited for the miracles, thanks to House of Hope.”