Client Perspective: Emily’s Story

May 24th, 2019

I began using drugs the summer before my 9th grade year. None of my friends had parental supervision, and neither did I. Between the ages of 15-17, several traumatic events happened in my life that caused me to slip into depression including: a severe car accident, the brutal beating of my brother while our car was being stolen and a family friend’s suicide. My depression worsened when I found out I was pregnant. I pulled away from my parents and did a lot of adult things at a pretty young age. Eventually, I moved out, got a job and dropped out of high school.

I have always struggled with Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD), severe depression and exhaustion. Using meth gave me the energy that I needed and seemed to even out my ADHD symptoms. I definitely used meth to self-medicate. I’ve been through treatment several times in my life but never for the right reasons. When I was 17 years old, a police officer took me to a rehabilitation program rather than incarcerate me. Although I was clean for a bit, I relapsed eventually. I completed another intensive day treatment program for eight months in order to prevent Division of Child and Family Services (DCFS) from taking my children. I had one child at the time and was pregnant with twins. Unfortunately, I plunged into a deep relapse after my best friend passed away unexpectedly. After another severe car accident, I gave my oldest son to my parents while my husband, our twins and I went from shelter to shelter as we coped with homelessness. With DCFS catching up to our family, I briefly entered another outpatient substance use disorder treatment program but ended up having my kids taken from me. I went straight back to using. I really had no reason to keep fighting. The loss of my kids and homelessness were horrible. My drug use and criminal behavior were all part of coping.

Eventually, I was arrested. It was honestly the best thing that ever happened to me! For the first time in a really long time, I was clean and focused. I didn’t have the daily stress of being homeless and providing for my four very young children. I could think straight. This was a turning point for me!

After I was arrested, I came into treatment at House of Hope determined to try again. I’m here for the right reasons this time and have worked very hard to reunite with my kids. They are all very young, and it’s hard to know how severely my substance use has impacted my kids. I’m mending the relationship with my parents. I’m grateful to have them back in my life and for the care that they gave my oldest child through my darkest times.

House of Hope taught me how to set boundaries. They’ve provided a support system and people that truly care about me. House of Hope is unique because it’s such a structured program. Everything is removed from you – no cell phone, no smoking. My life became clear, clean and organized. If I had never learned to go without, I would never have learned to appreciate what I have. House of Hope has taught me to live with gratitude!

Thank you House of Hope!