I had nowhere to go, no friends, or family for support

By: Vanessa

Category: Specialists

"I would find a place only to lose it all again when my addiction would rear its ugly head."

I spent many years battling addiction. I started at a very young age drinking homemade wine and beer. By the time I hit my teens, I was drinking every day. Eventually, that led to marijuana and then to cocaine and eventually I wound up addicted to crack cocaine. Throughout my twenties and thirties, I would get clean for a year or two, work decent jobs, but I always wound up back in the vicious addiction cycle. I lost everything: husband (not a real loss), children and even my home.

I found myself homeless with no friends or family for support. I stayed on the street for many years. I would find a place only to lose it all again when my addiction would rear its ugly head. I was in and out of various institutions, but nothing would work because I was always released back into the streets.

With nowhere to go, I just kept falling down and could find no way to get up. I was blessed to find a case manager who worked hard to get me into PSA and transitional housing. I was finally off of the streets after 15 years, on and off. I went to groups, talked to my doctor and took the steps necessary to lead a recovered life. I found out about the Peer Support training class that was taught at REN. I enrolled and completed it, but didn’t think that I wanted to work as a peer. I didn’t feel that I had anything to give back to anyone.

Eventually, I began working at the Warm Line and my whole life began to fall into place. I now have my own apartment, car and a wonderful husband who is very supportive. I have returned to college and so far I have a 4.0 GPA. I spend a lot of time doing a lot of things that I didn’t think would have been possible five years ago. I have nothing but gratitude for the chance to live a life in recovery. I have found that I do have something to give back and I enjoy doing just that.

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