“A turning point for me was when I learned I have power over choice,” she said. “A healthier life is my decision.”
At age 12 Jessica was introduced to marijuana and alcohol by her mother, an active drug user. Her mother died a year later, leaving Jessica with the thought that addiction was her only option in life. Jessica told herself she could quit using anytime, but the next ten years became a pattern of self-neglect and desperate attempts to do whatever she could to sustain her dependency. She depleted her father’s savings and disability income, leaving both of them homeless. She roamed from shelters to abandoned houses and spent many nights in jail.
Her aunt, who overcame her own addiction, encouraged Jessica to seek treatment and attend 12-step meet¬ings. Each day she set a place at the dining table for her niece with the hope that one day she would fill it as a sober young woman. Jessica is grateful that her aunt pushed her to achieve sobriety, which led her to complete recovery at The Women’s Home.
Staff at The Women’s Home not only helped Jessica maintain sobriety, they allowed her to recognize her full potential. Their faith in her success made all the difference. Her counselor and therapists developed an individualized treatment plan based on the WholeLife program, through which Jessica gained emotional/mental, spiritual, financial, physical, social, and vocational stability. Now she knows how to manage a budget, provide for herself, and maintain successful relationships.
“Years ago, I couldn’t keep a job. Today, I’m honest, hardworking, and passionate,” she said.
Jessica is completely substance free and enjoys sober living at Jane Cizik Garden Place, a safe permanent housing complex owned and operated by The Women’s Home. She receives aftercare services at The Women’s Home and attends weekly support groups. She works full-time and is a part-time student at Houston Commu¬nity College. She has more energy to pursue other goals including becoming a skilled guitarist.
In her support groups, Jessica confidently tells others that the tools she gained at The Women’s Home saved her life. With her aunt by her side, she had the courage to share her journey in front of hundreds at The Women’s Home spring luncheon and was a featured spokesperson for United Way’s 2012-13 video campaign.
When Jessica compares the person she was before to the person she is today, a smile lights her face. She looks to her future with excitement and dreams about having a career, building her savings, and moving into a home of her own one day.
See Jessica’s story featured in United Way’s 2012 campaign video.