Voices of Gratitude: Joyce’s Story

My name is Joyce.

Until last year, I never imagined there was any value in my life story – I really didn’t feel I had any worth. I had a negative image of myself and I felt a lot of shame.

I came to N Street Village 16 months ago. It has taken me a long time to want to share my story and to want to treat myself with the dignity I deserve. But today I am ready. I know now that the value of my story is that it shows courage, it shows survival. And who knows – it might even help someone else.

I was molested by my father for 10 years starting when I was only nine years old. Eventually I just grew numb – that was the only way I could get by. I became pregnant and had my first child at age 19.

Drugs became my escape from a life that I could not handle. I was in and out of jail, my kids were taken away, I was beaten up by strangers, I was homeless and I slept anywhere I could find a place. I had no belief that I had any value and I was so tired. Then, the last time I was in jail, I admitted to myself that I didn’t have any fight left in me. If I was going to live, it was time to change.

N Street Village took me in – I don’t mean just in terms of having a bed and a home. I mean they took me in without judgement. My roommates, the staff – they saw something good in me.

Today, I’m 50 years old. And for the first time in my life since age 19 I am sober. And – I am so grateful. Grateful to have myself back. Grateful to have new relationships with my family. I have 6 kids and 7 grandkids! That’s a lot of love – I have for them and they love me too.

I’m taking it day by day, going to sobriety and self-esteem classes at the Village. My newfound sisters and friends are here and we remind each other of how hard we have worked and how far we have come. We say to each other and to ourselves: don’t give up five minutes before the miracle!

This is just the beginning for me. My wish for you is that you also find whatever new beginnings you need in your life. Thank you, N Street Village.