I just knew that I was ready to turn my life around: Angela
My name is Angela, and I would like to share my story and, more specifically, how much Homeward House has done for my family and me.
I am 33 years old, and I have three wonderful children. I had my oldest son when I was 20 years old. I was young and ambitious and determined to make something of myself. I had finished my Associate of Arts degree shortly after he was born, and then after taking a year off, I started attending the University of Washington when he was a little over a year old. At that time, I was also working.
Being a mom, a full-time student, and an employee proved to be really difficult, and it did not take long to figure out that it was much easier to keep up with all of those responsibilities with the “help” of prescription pills.
I really had no idea what I was getting myself into with those medications, and by the time I figured it out, I was already dependent on them.
Fast forward to today…My daughter’s case has been dismissed; I have full custody of her. My oldest son spends a few days a week with me and will move in with us soon. My youngest son is almost a year old now, and he will never have to know what it’s like to have a mom with a substance use issue. My kids and I have a safe place to live, I have relationships with the rest of my family, and life is pretty beautiful.
My plan was to finish my degree and then quit. I did, in fact, complete my bachelor’s degree, but I found that ending my substance use was more than I could tackle on my own.
Over the next few years, things slowly and surely spiraled out of control. I eventually lost everything; my home, car, and family – all gone. At first, I used to help me accomplish things, and then I continued using to escape from the fact that my life was falling apart. Eventually, I was using to numb the guilt and shame of what I had allowed myself to become.
It was in the midst of all this that I got pregnant with my daughter, who is now three years old. When I found out I was pregnant, I tried to get clean. I went to detox and to treatment, but I was unable to let go of my relationship with her father, and after treatment, I ended up back with him and back on the streets, using once again.
When she was born, she tested positive for a number of substances and was removed from my care right out of the hospital. It did take me almost another year to get clean, but eventually, I was given the gift of desperation and was willing to put in the work.
When I got clean in November of 2018, I was on the verge of losing my daughter forever – there was a sole plan of adoption in her case. I had not seen my older son in almost a year, and the rest of my family had all but given up hope.
I had no job, no money, and no plan. I just knew that I was ready to turn my life around.
I ended up getting connected with the Snohomish County Sheriff’s program, and they got me into treatment and set me up with funding to live at a clean and sober house for 6 months. During this time, I attended outpatient treatment, attended 12-step meetings, and took a 2-hour bus ride twice a week to visit my daughter.
At this point, I got connected with Homeward House, and I cannot even really explain what a blessing they have been. I began having visits with my daughter at Homeward House, which cut my bus ride time in half and also gave me a place to play with her and feed her. Visits in a public place are just not the same as having the comfort and convenience of a house. At that point, I was still not welcome at my parent’s house, so the facility was a great resource for us. The staff at Homeward House also connected me with resume help and a number of other resources. The most important thing they did for us was to help me figure out permanent housing for my family and myself.
My 6 months at the clean and sober house was coming to an end, and the only thing standing in my way of getting placement for my daughter was a stable place for us to live. Oh, and I almost forgot to mention, by this time I was also pregnant with my third child.
Homeward House and the Parents for Parents program connected me with the Keeping Families Together program through HASCO. There are only very limited spots available for this program, and they worked hard to make sure that I got one. Last year, they also brought a huge pile of Christmas gifts for all the kids to our house. It had been a long time since I had a Christmas tree in my own living room with gifts for my kids, and that really meant the world to me.
Fast forward to today…My daughter’s case has been dismissed, I have full custody of her. My oldest son spends a few days a week with me and will move in with us soon. My youngest son is almost a year old now, and he will never have to know what it’s like to have a mom with a substance use issue. My kids and I have a safe place to live; I have relationships with the rest of my family, and life is pretty beautiful.
I have been going to school for a little over a year and have one quarter away from finishing my Certificate in Addiction Studies. I will start an internship at Evergreen Recovery next month and work as a Substance Use Disorder Professional in the coming months.
I have worked really hard in the last couple of years to get to where I am, but I could not have done it without the support of programs like Homeward House.
Angela — January 2021