TRUSTING SANTA MARIA CHANGES A FAMILY
On the edges of her life, Courtney had always used drugs recreationally. It wasn’t until her infant son Jacob died in his sleep, co-sleeping with his father that her use spiraled out of control. She could not stand the feelings of anger and despair caused by her grief. She felt she needed to numb her racing mind. And so, she did for two and a half years. She no longer cared for her daughter, Kylie in the loving way she had before. She compromised her own safety, and that of her daughter, as her dependence progressed. Courtney lost her moral compass, her determination and her soul.
It took an arrest for public intoxication and possession in 2014 that landed her in the Harris County jail to get her attention. It was there, as she detoxed without medical assistance from “whatever she could shoot into her veins” that she discovered she was pregnant. It was through that arrest, involvement with CPS and the introduction of a restorative option of treatment, that she came to Santa Maria. She arrived at her new residence depressed, angry with God and in denial about her real situation. She mistrusted the staff and could not believe they were on her side. She was often non-compliant with assignments, policies and procedures and prescribed routines. Early on, she was not making progress.
Eventually, new thinking started to surface. There was her family to consider. There was another baby on the way. Following the path of recovery, this baby could be born healthy and thrive. Also, with a clear head, she began to see how her decisions had affected Kylie’s life. Although Kylie was in the safe care of her grandparents, this vulnerable child, who had suffered so much from her mother’s absence, began to have serious emotional issues. It was in the loving and compassionate support that the SMH staff showed her daughter that Courtney finally realized she was in a place of help and hope not just for herself, but also for her children. She opened her mind and her heart and began to fully participate in everything that was offered. She continued with outpatient treatment for three months.
Today, on reflection, she feels like the unity with the other residents, the parenting classes, the 12 -step groups and the tenacity of her treatment team are the major contributors to her successful discharge. With the unbelievable care she received during her difficult pregnancy and the early birth of her baby girl, Courtney began to structure her life around her own health and her children’s development. With the extended time available through the safe housing program, she was able to become a better parent and integrate her recovery skills into their lives.
Even now, she still structures her day with the simple discipline she learned while she lived at Bonita House. She still wakes up every day and vows that just for today, she will not use drugs. She calls her sponsor, she attends women’s support meetings, prepares meals, runs the carpool for school and helps with her children’s activities. “Some might say I live a boring life, Courtney says, but I know that I am focused on the good things, the things that matter.” Courtney celebrated 5 years in recovery this past November.
Kylie, now 18 and a senior at Humble High, shares her family’s story with her friends. She has just been awarded a $60,000 scholarship to attend Howard Payne University and plans to study business and psychology. She feels that the individual counseling and family therapy she received made her worry less about her mom and understand her better. “These things have made me stronger. I share my experiences with no shame. I am proud of my mom.” Courtney adds, “Santa Maria literally changed our lives. It saved us – our whole family.”
SHE IS THE FACE OF RECOVHERY.