Highlighting accounts of our Addiction Prevention, Treatment & Recovery clients and their journeys towards a strong and healthy future.
Below is a firsthand account of recovery and the pathway to a life untethered by the grips of addiction and substance use. Through her determination and commitment to recovery, strengthened by the guidance of FCA services and supports, she shares her success story in hopes of inspiring others on the road to a better life.
“First, I would like to thank you all for the opportunity to tell you of my long journey. I’m not sure where to start, but here it goes.
As a child I attended Jackson Annex elementary as well as Jackson main. I also attended school in the Uniondale district but mostly Hempstead school. I come from a household of four, I’m the second child. Ok fast forward to when my life started. As a child, I was always different from any, and everyone I was around. From siblings to friends, I was just that one that stood out. I was always into activities in school like cheerleading and dance. I loved to participate in pep rallies. When I was sixteen, I got into a serious relationship but did not know what I was getting myself into. I was not taught how to love myself, let alone how a man was supposed to treat me. That result in me being very naïve, I ended up suffering from anxiety and depression as well. I ended up being out of my family home multiple times in my teen years.
Two years into my unhealthy relationship I became pregnant and things took a turn for the worst. My depression got worst, my family treated me a way and I was the type to not take mess from anyone, not even my mother. I always felt like I deserved to be treated how I treat you. But I was always the cast away put out to the street while my siblings were able to live wild and free. We were put out to live elsewhere for the second time and that lasted until my daughter was two months then I returned to my mother. That did not last because I never let anyone treat me less than I deserved so I was not able to go with them when they left the state. I then go back to my child’s fathers house and my then he had been still cheating and doing him. That did not last long so I ended up down south I was just back and forth. My aunt referred me to this shelter that I had been excepted to, but I did not go until I was ready. When I finally got tired of being verbally abused, put out dogged I went in. It was a sad first night. Just lying in the bed with my baby, wondering how could love be so cold. All love, including that of my family and boyfriend. I was then sent to another house in Glen Cove and I wondered why God would send me so far. But it was all for good. I learned how to set a schedule for my daughter and myself, which we still use. I have met some incredible moms that I am best friends with to this day. I went and took this class for my GED but was not able to pass that test. I was still so worried about my child’s father.
After two years, I left. I got tired of house meetings every week, 5 o’clock weekday curfews, 10 o’clock weekend curfews, the director having to know your every move. I was just tired. My sister ended up finding a house, so I went to live there. We soon found out that the house did not belong to the man and was in fact a scam. So here we go, back to square one, back home to my mom. By this time, only two of my siblings lived home so my daughter and I slept in the living room. We were no longer able to sleep on the couch, so our last resort was the floor. Company for my brother had to pass us in the wee hours of the night laying on our one blanket. I still needed money, so my mom signed a letter stating that I was renting a room from her. I still did not have my GED because I had not gotten the results back. I then used the money that my mom told me to keep to pay for a CNA class. So that August I started. I would walk or take the bus, drop my daughter at Harbor Childcare, get on the bus to work around 9 o’clock to then get back to the daycare for 4:30. I would walk or take the bus depending on how much money I had and then drop her off at the house, then head to my CNA class for 5:30. I did that for a few weeks. That living situation did not last long. It felt like nothing I did was good enough. There were eviction notices out in the living-room where I slept and on the fridge the door. I do not want to go into too much detail of how that went but it was bad. Love was supposed to love, not hurt. I remember my bag being out outside while everyone else stayed. My aunt had told me that they opened the waiting list for Terrace Apartments, so I went. After being put out of my mother’s house for the last and final time, I ended up staying with an ex. My daughter then spent time with me and her dad. By the next month, I ended up at her godmother’s house and she flipped on me as well. I was so confused. But it so happens that God allowed my best friend from the shelter to be living around the corner. I began to spend a lot of time with her. Our kids were friends. She let me keep some of my things at her house. The place where I was living became sad. I would be locked downstairs with no access to the kitchen. I was hurt bad. It was a good thing that my friend lived nearby. I knew of a childhood friend who had a house, so I reached out to him. He said that all I had to do was pay him two hundred dollars a month. So, I went from Elmont to Ozone Park where I had never been. When I got there, I had to scrub the place down. I had no sheets, maybe one or two blankets. I call it my survival blanket. I would wrap my baby so tight in the blanket to keep her warm even if I were cold. The house was spooky. That was two days before Thanksgiving. My daughter asked if I was coming and I said decided to join her. I packed my bag and clothes for a few nights. I ended up staying. Her dad lived upstairs. They treated me like their own. I dealt with my child’s father from time to time, but I knew that was not love.
I then took the State Board Exam for my CNA License. I failed by a few points, so I had to take it again. This time I passed and started an internship. I worked three days doing homecare and three days in a nursing home. Through all the heartbreaks, pain, anxiety, depression, and minor setbacks I passed. In 2015, things started to take off. I soon after that visited a church where I was baptized in the name of Jesus and was filled with the Holy Ghost. My life has changed dramatically since I moved into my first apartment on September 14th. I left that apartment and went to rent a room because I was no longer working two jobs and my income was not enough to pay for a one-bedroom which cost almost $1,300 a month.
Fast forward to 2017, the Terrace Apartments called me to let me know I was selected, but I denied the offer. I ended up calling back and accepting because I knew that my rent would go by my income. I had the cash in full and I moved in by March 15th. Soon after, I started classes at Nassau Community College. In May 2021, I will be graduating with my Teaching Assistant Certificate. I am taking the dual program which mean I am going for my T.A. while also obtaining my Associates in Childhood Education. I had a rough few years but I have grown a backbone and I self-love that cannot compare to how anyone can love me. I have gained a love inside of me so strong that sometimes I must pat myself on the back.
For years I was insecure, bitter, and miserable. I did not know whether I was going left or right. I grew so much that sometimes I must remind myself that anytime I have a problem, I have been through worst. In 2020. I realized that because I struggled with my daughter so much, I resented her. I felt like when her dad came around when I was sixteen that my childhood ended. This year, I realized that I wanted to cut any connection to him. However, my child was a connection that could not be cut. I needed help so I started therapy but that did not help. It was parenting that I needed. So, I made some calls and I decided that something had to change. Some places wanted to charge hundreds of dollars, so I kept looking.
Then I found FCA and it was truly a blessing to have been in a parenting group where parents could receive helpful services and support. I now mentor several young ladies from my church, helping them understand self-care. I was also able to get these girls that I mentor involved in FCA’s Girl’s Circle group. I wish I had this kind of support as a child. FCA is truly a blessing.