For 33 of my 48 years, I was an active alcoholic and addict. I struggled with the “disease” of addictions. This was the end result of a childhood filled with abuse, violence and fear. Growing up ashamed, guilty, fearful, angry and with no supports, I had become obsessed with alcohol and drugs.
In 1996, through a relationship with another addict, my beautiful daughter was born. Although we both tried hard to give up the drugs and alcohol, we continually relapsed. In 1999 my partner left and I filed and got custody of my daughter.
Due to my inability to stay clean, my daughter had been in and out of care since birth, and later became a Crown Ward. At that point, I decided to give recovery one last shot and turned to Bethlehem for help. Bethlehem was a constant from the start. They allowed me to access some of their programs even before I moved into their building. Before moving into Bethlehem Place, I had detoxed at the Women’s Detox Centre, stayed briefly at the YWCA and lived at Branscombe House, a recovery home for women.
At Bethlehem Place I continued to work on myself through their various Lifeskills Programs and the quality one-on-one counseling. Most importantly to me Bethlehem Place advocated on my behalf with Family and Children’s Services around my visitation with my daughter.
Then, with three years clean and sober, and my daughter’s 12th birthday approaching, the miracle happened. My daughter was returned to me.
After I moved from Bethlehem’s transitional apartment building into one of their two long-term community homes, I continued to benefit from their on-going counseling. I was then able to provide my daughter with a stable, nurturing, loving, supportive environment, all under the loving care of Bethlehem Housing and Support Services.
Bethlehem Housing and Support Services has been instrumental in helping me, along with other supports, to “Break the Cycle” of addiction and abuse. I am free from the bondage of that lifestyle and no longer just “survive”.
NOTE: The names of the individuals in this story have been changed to protect their privacy.