Amber’s new tattoo – the Santa Maria logo.
“I call it my recovery tattoo; you see nothing happens in God’s world by mistake. Representing my recovery, how it happened, where it happened, and why it happened. God is amazing because I love my life today and I love me!” ~ Amber
The first thing you notice when you meet Amber is that she is a confident and self-aware woman. But she hasn’t always been this way. Like so many other women here at Santa Maria, Amber has had a troubled past and turned to drugs and alcohol to cope and create some sort of comfort. It all started for Amber at the young age of 15 when she first started using marijuana which quickly escalated to cocaine, meth, ecstasy, and other substances by the time she turned 16. Amber stated, “I was using to escape my feelings and drugs were the only thing to make it better.” Although she didn’t realize it at the time, she had an addiction. But it didn’t stop there. Her addiction escalated and she soon began selling drugs which offered her a lifestyle of status, money, drugs, and possessions. Amber recalls of her earlier times, “I was in the game and hustling while using daily and couldn’t stay sober.”
Amber became pregnant and delivered her baby 3 weeks early which prompted tests that revealed her past drug use bringing about her first experience with Children Protective Services (CPS). Amber went to a rehab facility in Austin and tried to work the program but soon found herself relapsing not only on using but dealing drugs as well. Amber hit “rock bottom” when she was arrested for Xanax with her baby in the car. Amber reflects, “At that exact point I knew that I had hit bottom. I was filled with guilt and shame and now realize that I needed that experience to show me that I was not the person I wanted to be.” Amber’s infant son was placed in the care of a relative by CPS and Amber had to make a lifestyle change for the sake of her baby. Amber stated, “I remember telling myself that enough was enough and I didn’t know who I was but I knew that I loved my son and had to work on my issues and most importantly, be honest with myself.”
With her son in the care of a relative, Amber came to Santa Maria to get help. She remembers making the tough decision to leave her son. “I had the option of bringing my son to treatment with me at Santa Maria but I knew in my heart that I couldn’t be a mom until I fixed myself first. Looking back on it, the sacrifice was difficult but for me it was the right choice.” At Santa Maria Amber thrived and learned a lot about herself and her past. She realized that she had underlying abandonment and rejection issues that stem from an alcoholic father and distant mother that lead her to the drug lifestyle. Amber now has the tools and skills to cope with her addiction. While Amber’s path to recovery will continue for her lifetime, you can see that she now has the confidence, drive, and determination to be not only the person she always wanted to be but a mother to her son. We are happy to report that Amber has a great job now in a supervisory capacity while she actively works her recovery. And the best news of all, Amber is getting her son back this month. When asked how Santa Maria has helped her: Amber simply stated, “Recovery is my new life now.”