From a young age, I witnessed the devastating effects of addiction. Because my mother suffered from alcoholism, I lived with my father until he passed away when I was just 13. While grieving the loss of my father, I moved back in with my mother and an abusive stepfather. I used any opportunity to avoid being at home, which led me down a difficult path.
When I became pregnant at 16 with my first child, my mother kicked her out. I struggled over the years to provide for my growing family, which now included three more children. Troubled by my circumstances, I turned to drugs. Around the same time, my mother got sober and was able to take custody of my children.
My mom got sober during this time and she took my kids. I knew it was better for them. In 2000, I tried to get clean and gain control of my life, but I lived with a boyfriend who was violently abusive and an addict himself. Attempting to save my own life one night, I stabbed my boyfriend, resulting in a five-year sentence in prison.
While in prison, I finally got the help I needed and deserved. When I was released, I was clean, sober, and focused on my own mental health. I moved into my own place and eventually regained custody of my children. Things were good for a while, but after a few years, I started using again.
Although the journey was tough, five years ago I once again found the determination to get clean and sober after moving into the Village’s Patricia Handy Place for Women to escape another abusive relationship. Soon after, I was able to move into Miriam’s House, a Village program for women living with HIV/Aids.
N Street Village is the best thing that’s happened to me. It’s given me the chance I needed to start over. At Miriam’s House, I received the care and resources she needs. I work hard each day to prioritize my mental and physical health. I have been able to reconnect with my children along with my grandchildren. I am grateful that I am able to spend quality time with my reunited family.
Because of my strength and determination, I once again look forward to a bright future. Thanks to a referral from the Village’s MARJ & MAK Vocational Program, I recently completed a workforce training program at Together We Bake. My dreams are to find employment and eventually own a home, where I can be surrounded by family. I pray that my life will continue on this positive path and I can enjoy the rest of my life, surrounded by the people I love.