From Despair to Resilience:
Brenda had reached a breaking point. Her life had spiraled into a relentless cycle of addiction, neglect, and despair. But when she found herself on the side of the road, sleep-deprived and malnourished, she knew something had to change.
Brenda was desperate for help – not just for herself but for her three young daughters. It was then that she discovered a lifeline at Volunteers of America (VOA).
Brenda’s story began when she had her first child at the age of 19. She married her high school sweetheart, hoping to provide a stable environment for their daughter. However, the pressures of motherhood (having two more daughters) and the weight of post-partum depression led her to seek solace in alcohol and occasional drug use. At that point, Brenda didn’t see her substance use as a significant issue; it was just the lifestyle she and her husband had known for years.
Two decades into their marriage, Brenda and her husband separated, leaving her feeling utterly lost. She had never been alone before and struggled to cope with the newfound loneliness. What started as occasional drug use quickly escalated into a full-blown addiction, with cocaine, Adderall, and methamphetamines becoming her refuge from life’s hardships.
Reflecting on her situation, Brenda recalled, “My marriage had failed, I wasn’t reliable for work, and, most of all, I wasn’t there for my children. I felt dead inside.” The turning point came when she realized that her four-year-old daughter had never known her sober. Brenda knew it was time for a change.
Entering treatment at VOA was a daunting step for Brenda. It meant temporarily leaving her daughters behind in the hopes of becoming a better mother through sobriety. She said, “I had a lot of guilt being at treatment, away from my kids. But I promised myself that if I was going to be away from them, I was going to give it my all. I wanted to learn everything I could to live a sober life and be the best mom I could be.”
Through the 12-step program at VOA, Brenda achieved just that.
While in treatment, Brenda was diagnosed with ADHD and depression, but she learned healthy coping mechanisms for her mental health issues without resorting to substance use. She found the White Bison Certified Wellbriety Program particularly fitting with her recovery process, which emphasized the importance of spirituality through Native American practices, including being a good person, making the right choices, and connecting with a higher power.
Since completing treatment, Brenda has rebuilt her relationship with her daughters, proving to them that she can lead a happy, sober life.
She shared, “Many of the recovery values that I learned in treatment are things that I am implementing in raising my children now. I try to slow life down a lot more. We take a lot of time for prayer and simply enjoying each other. I am much more empathetic with them, and emotionally there for them. I would not have been able to do this in active addiction.”
Today, Brenda actively participates in Alcoholics Anonymous meetings and dedicates her life to her sobriety and her children. She’s embarked on a new path, pursuing an education in social work with a focus on addiction treatment. Her heartfelt desire is to help others transform their lives, just as VOA transformed hers. Brenda expressed, “I’m so grateful and blessed to have gone through treatment at VOA. It truly saved my life.” Brenda’s journey serves as an inspiring testament to the power of recovery and resilience.