Finding A Balance: Recovery & Motherhood
November 21, 2016
Almost 10 years ago Gwen* entered Epiphany’s doors with the dream of getting her young daughter back in her life. Today, Gwen lives a life that she never realized was possible. She manages a leading pain management corporation and gets to watch her daughter grow into a talented, beautiful young woman. Gwen is still giving back to the community, and she’s sharing her experience, strength and hope with you this holiday season:
It was 2007. My life was a mess. I was just swallowed up in depression, medicating and keeping myself numb. I remember my last day on the streets I was watching people walking to work, with their suits and briefcases. I couldn’t stop wondering, “Why can’t I just be normal? Where did I go wrong?” I was lost, depressed, sad and stuck. Finally I had enough, I was done. I walked into a treatment program crying, “please help me, I can’t do this anymore, I need help”.
I transferred to Epiphany’s recovery program because I needed to start the reunification process with my child, who was then living with my sister. I needed a program that was more family-oriented. The difference between programs is drastic. The things that are offered here at Epiphany Center, you can’t find anywhere else, period. A lot of programs are work-based, and that’s fine, but Epiphany’s program is structured around recovery, and that’s what I needed. They had me in group four days a week, we attended eight 12 step meetings a week, I worked the steps with a sponsor, and received individual and family therapy. Because I was a victim of domestic violence, they helped me get specialized EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization & Reprocessing) therapy for that. The trauma from domestic violence created a lot of fear and anger. I can remember waking up in a hospital with my eyes swollen shut, and a cop there told me he didn’t know how I was still alive. So many things were going on inside me that had never been addressed before Epiphany Center. I took advantage of all the services offered, and they helped me get outside services. Eighteen months later, I went back to school, got an internship and then a career.
I truly love Epiphany Center. I drive by the Broderick St. residence where I lived every day on my way to work, on purpose. It’s a reminder of where I came from, and how grateful I am to be where I am today. I always wonder, would I have made it without Epiphany?
Today, my life is good. Now I have that “normal life” I always wanted. But I still go to meetings, I share my story with other women, and I strive to be of service. I have a stable job with a good salary. I’m still a single mom but I don’t need child support, section 8 or welfare—I used to need those things, but not anymore. I’m totally self-sufficient. My life couldn’t appear to be more normal, but I still have challenges. I don’t have to take medicine to manage my depression anymore. Instead I’ve learned to pay attention to my emotions, to do regular self-check-ins and reflect and practice self-care.
I’m safe, I’m secure.
I’ve mended my relationship with my sister, we are now best friends. And most of all, my daughter is okay, and she’s not mad at me. She was afraid I was going to die, and now she knows I’m okay. Now my focus is finding that balance between motherhood and my recovery. My daughter is a juvenile diabetic and requires a lot of care. It’s challenging with my work schedule and overtime hours, but I make it work. My daughter is thriving, she’s been accepted into a prodigious arts school for vocal performance.
Recovery means life. Epiphany Center gave me my life back. I didn’t think I’d live past 50 years old, and now I am 50 and I’m about to buy my own house. I never expected my life to be this good, and it still keeps getting better. I can’t ever throw that away. If there’s a woman out there struggling like I was, I wouldn’t just recommend Epiphany Center--I’d offer her a ride there.