[I was] introduced to this group of women over Christmas [when] I came with an alumni member to help make cookies. The vibe and energy I received from being in their presence was just a sense of comfort, like a hug on my heart. I got ecstatic when I found out they were having a winter session coming up.
I’m so glad I got the opportunity to be able to experience this extraordinary program. I’ve gained a substantial amount of knowledge along with skills [and] most importantly, support. I got a TEAM now, and they truly want me to win, and that feels amazing. I’ve gained my self confidence back.
I’ve been at [Friends of] Guest House and transitioning back after being sober for almost a year. I’m a recovering addict [and] that’s been a tough. I’ve been battling this for twenty years almost. It all started with a health issue that caused me to be on pain medication that I dealt with for a few years. Then it turned into depression I believe, and I just would take them to self medicate.
I had a family, and we bought a house. I had a great job, and I was the one that had it all together. I took on a lot in a short period of time in 2008. My marriage, my home, [and] my family was broken. Things all fell to pieces. I knew they would, but nobody listened to me, and I think it broke me too. I didn’t have the ability to provide for my kids. My dad got cancer [and] my parents divorced.
I didn’t know the importance of mental health nor did I attempt to look into it due to the negative stigma at the time, plus family beliefs. I love my son and daughter so incredibly much. I don’t want to hurt them anymore. They’re my reason to keep going. I probably wouldn’t have fought so hard if it was just me. They matter the most.
I made a promise, and I’ve got a lot to deal with everyday. I don’t think people know what it’s really like. However, I want to thank Stephanie and Tricia for creating this wonderful program. Hanna, you’re terrific and I appreciate you.
Now, I’m educated and a huge advocate of mental health.
*Note: This transcript has been edited for clarity.
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