By John Kelly, columnist
The Washington Post
November 18, 2015
After Alyce McFarland told me her story — about the homelessness, the drugs, the painful withdrawal as she weaned herself from methadone — I asked when it began, the thing that triggered her long slide into addiction. When did the abuse start?
“It’s my first memory as a child,” she said.
When most women look at a photo album and see a picture of themselves as a youngster in a particular outfit, they remember the dress, Alyce said. “My memory is something that happened to me when I had that dress on.”
Who could even begin to cope with that? Alyce coped by using heroin. When she decided it was time to quit, she was helped by Community of Hope, one of The Washington Post Helping Hand charities I hope you will support.
“A lot of times when you think of drugs or being addicted, you think of low-income black families, impoverished families,” Alyce said. “I wasn’t in that situation. I came from a middle-class family. I didn’t have those healthy coping skills to address molestation and incest. A lot of people don’t.”
Alyce, 38, grew up in Southeast Washington. She started using drugs at 19, after graduating from high school. She lost jobs because of her heroin use. She was jailed frequently for drug possession. She lost custody of her young son, who went to live with her mother.
“For the last six years, I was actually living in a hallway,” Alyce said, a note of disbelief in her voice.
Story continued in The Washington Post.