My story is a long struggle. I have been arrested thirty times, have four felonies and have spent four years in prison. I have three sons; my middle son was kidnapped by his father when he was seven and I have not seen him for over 20 years. My addiction to methamphetamine for 36 years influenced my other two sons to become addicted to drugs. Now, the three of us are working on staying sober (for me, it has been 19 months!), but have been unable to see one another for two years. Having experienced all of this, I am still positive about my future.
The people at Women’s Bean Project have given me that hope. They have provided a safe space for me to learn, grow and change. My mentor, who I meet with once a week, has given me the language to talk about my past to potential employers—addressing it openly and communicating my commitment to change. Most of all, I now have the confidence to accomplish goals, advocate for myself and to focus on a long-term career not just a “job”. I have become a skilled collaborator and have made supportive friends that I know will be there for me in the years to come.
The Haven, an in-patient behavioral modification and drug addiction treatment facility has been another crucial factor in steering me toward the path to success. One of the most rigorous in the country, this program has saved me by putting structure and stability back into my life. I have never been good at taking care of myself and that was killing me. When I entered The Haven 16 months ago, I carried around an oxygen tank and could barely walk—today I do not need the oxygen and am able to stand for hours during my workday at Women’s Bean Project.
I thank God every day for helping me to learn patience and acceptance and to have faith in a better life for my family and me.