I am Women’s Bean Project: Brittany

Content Warnings: substance use, homelessness, justice involvement

Before starting at the Women’s Bean Project I would have to say my life was a mess. I was navigating a life of sobriety that I hadn’t known in almost 9 years, I was on probation in 3 separate counties, I had lost custody of my son at 2 weeks old, I had no job and no stable housing. In the last few months many of these overwhelming circumstances in my life have changed or at least became much more manageable. This program has made me aware of how resilient I can be as a woman. I have learned that if you genuinely want to make a change in your life and you put in the hard work to make that change, the way you look at your future becomes much more optimistic than it was before.

I have been at The Bean for almost six months and in this short period of time I can honestly say I have felt a weight being lifted off of my shoulders and I can finally breathe again. When I entered this program one of my main goals was to become more stable and that is exactly what I have become. I was able to show DHS that I wanted to financially provide for my son by starting a full time job. Most jobs I believe I would have gotten bored with and would have wanted to leave but the Women’s Bean Project has kept me actively engaged in my program and has made me want to keep waking up and coming back day after day. I was also able to navigate many housing options and ended up finding stability at Joshua Station which is a transformational housing program for families. Having a full time job and being a part of a housing program has allowed me to become more financially stable to the point where I was able to pay off a few traffic tickets and buy a car.

A few months into my program I celebrated my one year of sobriety and that was something I honestly thought I would never see. I was in and out of jail so many times and told myself over and over this is the last time, but up until now I was never actually able to commit to a life of sobriety. I owe a huge part of this accomplishment to the amazing women I have met while working here. Getting sober is really lonely, you have to change everything about your life. I had no friends when I came into this program and now I can say I have formed friendships that I hope will last a lifetime. Being around other women that have been through many of the same things I have been through and to all be working towards the same end goal of change in our lives is something that has kept me going. With all of the support and services I have had help with since starting at the Bean I was able to accomplish my biggest goal of all which was getting custody of my now one year old son back from the state. I am still on probation, but I am now at a point where I can say I am completely compliant and hopefully in a few months down the road I can make a plan for a possible early termination.

The thing that I am most happy about in my life and what I consider to be one of my biggest successes right now is getting to stay at The Women’s Bean Project as a full time employee. I am excited to get to share my story with other women that are looking to make positive changes and I hope that I can make some sort of positive impact in their life. Over the next few months I am hoping to settle into my new role while continuing to learn new skills that may help me in my future. I have to admit that moving into this role is a little scary because it is a new level of responsibility that I haven’t had in quite some time. At the same time this fear may be one of my biggest motivators. I want to prove to myself and my family that I can still be successful and happy and a good person despite the chaos I have caused in the last several years. I want my son to grow up and see that his mom is a strong woman and I want him to know that hard work pays off and that life can be wonderful if you allow it to be.

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