Amy grew up in suburbia in the 60’s with three brothers, a stay-at-home mom and plenty of involvement with extended family. It was a happy childhood. But when her parents divorced, her world fell apart, so at 17 she escaped by going to go live with her boyfriend. They eventually married, had two children, and bought a house. Life was good again.
By the time she was 28, she and her husband had dabbled with pot, but then they were introduced to crystal meth. It was like a plane crash and within two years their marriage was destroyed. There was an ugly divorce and a bitter custody battle, which she won. Then an old friend moved in with her, bringing a bottomless bag of dope. Behind some bad activities, her house burned down and Amy had to send her boys to live with their dad. Things continued to spiral downward and she could not get herself together. After several moves, getting pregnant and giving birth to another son, she became pregnant again. This time, when her daughter was born, she tested dirty, and both children were taken from her.
She was told to go to rehab at this point, but couldn’t admit she was an addict. After trying unsuccessfully to get her kids back, she spent the next 15 years feeding her drug and alcohol habit, going to jail for the first time, then living wherever she could. She went on General Relief (GR) and requested GR put her in a drug treatment program. She was sent to Redgate, where she was directed to call House of Hope and another facility every day, which she did.
In time, House of Hope asked her to come in for an interview. Amy recalls, “I showed up with a brown grocery bag, three changes of clothes and a pair of PJs I got from the shelter. That was it. My hair was long, dirty, and stuck to my head so I came in wearing a hat. I had no teeth. I knew nothing about rehab, absolutely nothing. I really wasn’t looking for recovery, I just needed a place to live. I sat across from the program director, who told me what they were going to do, I’ll never forget it: “We are going to smash you down to lift you up.”
She told me they would give me a bed, but they were also going to go to work on me. Thankfully for me, it wasn’t just shelter, it was way more than a bed I was receiving!” Amy became willing to do whatever the staff asked. “I don’t know where it came from, but I had the mindset that they knew what they were doing. I would do whatever without question, I had complete faith and knew they had a reason and a purpose behind everything they did. I got an AA sponsor. I didn’t resist anything.”
After completing the primary part of the program, Amy started to look at what she was going to do with her life. She was encouraged to go back to school by one of the staff members, and she agreed. Her sober sisters showed her how to get grants, show up for school, sit in the front row, and ask for help when she needed it. She recognized many students being from her recovery community, which encouraged her even more.
She made the Dean’s list, received a special scholarship, and graduated this past June with her AS degree in Accounting and an AA degree in Social and Behavioral Sciences. She also followed through on her probation requirements. She completed her community service, did the mandatory monthly drug tests, paid back a portion of her fines, and when it was pointed out how well she was doing in school and in recovery, her remaining fines were dismissed by the judge.
She learned that she could get her record expunged, and completed the necessary steps to make that happen as well. Amy has reconnected with her family and is working at a local computer firm. She is helping other women at the House get back to school. She remembers “It all started when I walked in to House of Hope with my matted hair in a cap and my teeth all rotting, just looking for a place to stay. I put myself in the hands of people who had my best interest at heart. They want to see you succeed, they want to help you!”
Now four years sober, Amy is a living example of this!