In our recovery residences, called Serenity Houses, our support staff and house managers help our residents learn how to live in RECOVERY by helping addicts participate in their community, work, advocate through legal problems, promote healthy and sustainable life choices, reunite with their loved ones and get their lives back in order. Our recovery residence alumni share first-hand how Serenity House has impacted their road to RECOVERY.
TELL ME ABOUT YOU.
I’m the oldest of three. My childhood was good, I was taught right from wrong. I played sports, I got good grades, and everything was pretty normal. Eighth grade was the first time that I tried marijuana. I tried it to fit in and to be seen as cool. Eventually, I tried alcohol and I really liked the affect produced by substances. It got to a point where all other things went out the window as far as sports, my grades, and my family life. I was consumed by drinking and using. When I was 19, my addiction to opiates had gotten so bad that I went to my first rehab. From the age of 19 to the age of 26, I went to three more detoxes and four more treatment centers. Some were long-term and some were short-term. I moved states, I tried changing my friend group, and nothing worked for me. Every time I got out of treatment, I would go home to the same living environment which was toxic for me and my recovery. I was homeless at one point in Camden. I lost my child through DC PNP system. I did an extended stay in jail. My life got unmanageable. When I was 26 years old, I hit bottom emotionally and knew that I needed to find a different way to live. That is when I made a decision to really try to get sober. Not for my family, not for the courts, not for any outside influence… this time it was truly something that I wanted for myself. – Nicole B.
WHAT DID YOU LEARN WHILE AT SERENITY?
I learned a lot of patience and tolerance. I was one of the older women in the house and I came from being a mother and wanted to do things for everyone. I realized that that’s not what to do. I had to learn to be accountable and be responsible for my own things. I also learned that I have to be selfish at times and worry about myself, put myself first to stay well. I also learned how to pay bills on time. I always paid you know, but it was robbing Peter to pay Paul. I learned how to pay bills, make my bed in the morning, simple things that we don’t think that you’re supposed to do. I learned to get out of bed, just be active and work a program honestly with accountability. – Shane R.
WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR HOBBIES IN RECOVERY?
Now I love being part of a 12-step program and carrying the message. I was driving over and thinking why did I get this chance? I was chosen to carry this message…. bottom line. I really enjoy being a part of Enlightened and the recovery community. I do all the things I used to love to do that I couldn’t do because I was always too high or too drunk. I surf all the time, I walk my dog, I clean my house, I pay my bills. I love paying my bills. That’s one of my favorite things in the world because I have money now.
Not a lot, it all goes to bills, but I am happy to pay my bills. Greatest life I have ever known. – Steve M.
WHAT MOTIVATES YOU TODAY?
Today I am motivated by my desire to just live life and to be happy, joyous, and free. I have to remember that I didn’t get clean to be miserable. I am very motivated by trying to be a better person. – C.C.
WHAT WOULD YOU TELL SOMEONE CONSIDERING COMING TO SERENITY HOUSE?
It’s probably one of your best options to stay clean. They set you up with the tools and everything in life that you would need. For example, they help you if you are trying to find a job, or typing a resume. If you don’t know where to apply, they will help you find those places; if you don’t know how to schedule a doctor appointment they will help you do that too. You need accountability. Every little aspect of staying clean falls into place. I feel like the staff are very caring and I am not just saying that because I’m a staff member now. People care… from Jennifer Hansen down. – Erin B.
IS THERE ANYTHING ELSE YOU WOULD LIKE TO SAY ABOUT SERENITY?
I would tell them to give it a chance. I was so against coming in and if it weren’t for my house managers and the support of the women I lived with, I do not think I would have made it through early recovery. The staff go to bat for you every single time. The house manager Melissa took me to court to help me sort out all of the warrants I had. She also sat down with my daughter’s father to help us create a plan for our daughter and our time with her. That way, we didn’t have to go through the court system. – Taylor J.
WHERE DO YOU SEE YOURSELF IN FIVE YEARS?
It has been five years since I got sober and my life has come such a long way. Five years from now I would like to finish my undergraduate degree and attain a Masters Degree in social work. I’d like to be working in the recovery field helping others. I would like to be a strong Mom and woman continuing to live this beautiful life that has been afforded. – Nicole B.