Going to Stonehenge was a defining moment in my life. I had been to a lot of other rehabs, and the therapeutic community was a different approach. It’s given me the opportunity to grow, and the Addiction Supportive Housing (ASH) program has been a true life saver. I’ve always struggled with living life on my own, but STC has helped me become independent. It’s hard to imagine where I would be without it.
It was my brother who convinced me to apply to the residential treatment program in 2012. I was spending a lot of time drinking. I was in and out of detox, suicidal and depressed. After one particularly bad night, I realized that I needed help and I reached out to Stonehenge. While I was in treatment I applied to Addiction Supportive Housing (ASH) and moved right into transitional housing when treatment was done. That transition from one to the other really helped because there wasn’t any time in between to get off track. I was able to stay committed to my recovery. I found it hard in the transitional program as I struggled without the structure and constant staff support that exists in treatment. I had a relapse while in the transitional program, and with a lot of support from my counselor, I was able to get back on track.
I’ve been living in my ASH long-term unit, on my own, for four years now. Before that, I had never lived on my own. Even though living with other women during treatment and transition was challenging, going out on my own was a really big adjustment. I was used to having people around who would take care of me. I’ve had to learn to take care of myself since I’ve been with ASH. It’s really amazing to know that I can do it on my own. I also have a wonderful companion, my dog Archie. He helps me stay committed and accountable to my sobriety, and he has been a faithful friend through some of my most trying times. This apartment is the place that Archie and I can call home. It is my safe space – I treat it with respect. Being in the ASH program has helped me so much. I have strong bonds with the AA community, healthier relationships, and most importantly, I have been able to maintain a relationship with my daughters. There have been many times that I have betrayed their trust, and have let them down. I have made promises that I cannot keep. But my daughters continue to give me the chance to make amends, and to keep building relationships with them.
One of the biggest challenges I have right now is figuring out how to fill my time. Having too much “down time” scares me. Sometimes not being busy lets thoughts of drinking creep in. I try hard to find productive stuff to do, like volunteering, attending AA meetings, and taking Archie for long walks or to the park. I am also Colombian and I love my Latin music. I put on music and dance or clean. I used to go to salsa classes which I just love. It’s important to me to keep in touch with my Colombian roots, and both of my daughters speak Spanish. Sometimes I think about getting a job or doing something else with my life, but then I get scared and it’s hard to take the next step. Even though I still struggle, it’s important to remind myself how far I’ve come. There was a time when I truly didn’t believe that I could do things or live life on my own. Now I know that I can.
What I learned in the residential treatment program has stuck with me. It’s given me the opportunity to grow. Being part of ASH has given me space to learn and grow, even when I’m struggling. Sometimes, I wish this whole process was easier. But I know that recovery is a journey, a really tough one sometimes, and I have to deal with it. I just want people to know that there is hope. We have to persevere and do the right thing, even though it’s hard. When you’re struggling, tell someone. Ask for help. It will be there.