My story begins with me being a cocaine addicted mother with three children. I was addicted from 2005 until my clean date of April 23, 2007, when my new life began. I was homeless, living from one house to another with whoever would allow me and my children to stay for a few days.
My father took us into his home because he was tired of the way I was living. He made me realize that if I didn’t wake up and start thinking a little clearer, I was headed to disaster especially the possibility of losing my three beautiful children. Months went on with me still using drugs until my father said he had enough and told me I needed to find a program. I went to the Virginia Williams Family Resource Center for intake. I did not want to go to a regular shelter; I needed a program that was going to help me turn my life around. I was referred to Community of Hope’s Hope Apartments. I met with the program manager, who interviewed me and told me the details of their structured program. She told me that clients were handpicked for their program, which was for people who were tired of using drugs and ready to get their life back on track.
I was able to communicate to her that I was ready to allow a transitional substance abuse program into my life. Once in, I quickly advanced through all of the phases of the program. I completed an intensive outpatient substance abuse treatment program at Calvary’s Alternative To Alcohol And Drug Abuse (CATAADA) House and graduated ahead of schedule. I then entered and completed a job training program at So Others Might Eat (SOME) where I learned to operate and master all types of computer programs from Microsoft Word to Excel. I participated in all of the Hope Apartments groups and events and before I knew it, I was considered a leader in the community. I interviewed for a position at the Department of Navy and to my surprise, I got the position. Finally, my name came up on the list to receive housing. I was blessed to obtain a 3 bedroom house, and I saved up enough money to purchase a used van for my family.
After I moved out on my own, I married the love of my life. I have never been happier. I am drug-free, my children are thriving and safe, and I have a very good government position with the Department of Navy and a wonderful husband. Hope Apartments has done so much for me and my children. While at Hope, I was able to attend parenting classes, NA and AA meetings, journalism, spiritual classes, field trips, and many other exciting things; the list just goes on and on. My kids are in private school today via the Washington Scholarship Fund thanks to Hope Apartments. After leaving Hope, a group of us who have transitioned out decided to come back and help mentor the new women coming into the program. We call ourselves the Hope Apartments Recovery Team (HART). We all decided that we would use our voices, time and experiences to advocate for other women and children affected by homelessness, substance abuse, and city budget cuts. Through mentoring, HART works with new residents as they navigate their path of finding their voice, remaining clean and sober, obtaining employment, and participating with other residents in groups and events to promote solidarity and recovery.
I am very grateful to Community of Hope, Hope Apartments, and HART. All the struggles and accomplishment I’ve had, Community of Hope has been through all of them with me. I want to thank the staff and all of the residents of Hope Apartments who have helped me to become the self-sufficient and responsible woman, mother, and wife that I am today. I will do all that I can to participate in HART to help new women coming into the program and to give back to them what was so freely given to me: HOPE.