Imagine coming from a life of addiction, heartbreak, and abuse. Lost. Surrounded by darkness. A life scarred with so much pain that the scars became the only way you were seen and how you were treated. You know no other way. This is how one of our recent graduates, Laura, felt. It was only when she hit rock bottom that she decided to leave the comfort of the darkness and break the cycle. That is when she arrived at Lydia’s House of Hope.
Laura didn’t know what to expect. The unexpected scared her the most. She was incredibly quiet and reserved, and this tendency translated into having difficulty advocating for herself or knowing how to communicate her needs and set boundaries.
We learned that Laura carried a lot of shame and self-doubt with her because of the choices she had made in the past. She constantly questioned herself and needed constant validation to know she was making the right decisions. Learning of Laura’s past, and how there had never been a period of time where she had been safe—even in childhood, it was clear that safety is what had been lacking in her prior attempts to stay sober and successful.
At Lydia’s House of Hope, her foundational needs were met so she could transition from living in constant crisis and safety mode to being able to sit still and be quiet with herself. Being with herself, in her own skin, was uncomfortable for her in the beginning. As time went on, she learned to trust us and trust herself. She began to set boundaries in relationships and use her voice. Laura has worked on her parenting skills and is an amazing mother to her two boys. She now understands how she didn’t always put them first and didn’t prioritize her own safety and health. Now, she is healthy for herself and her children!
Laura has never had any family or healthy contacts that could be supportive of her and having those supports for the first time here has made the difference for her. She has developed her relationship with God. She trusts that she isn’t in control and that everything happens for a reason. She has also learned to be at peace with whatever happens, whether she wanted it or not, and that radical acceptance has helped her to be resilient in times of struggle, truly knowing everything will work out for her. Her Case Manager comments that, “This safety and trust is new to her but it’s been beautiful to see grow.”
Laura knows now that she can take healthy risks, that she can desire more for herself because she knows she is capable of more, and that merely surviving is not enough. She has chosen to live and thrive.
In her time here she has created friendships with the other women and cultivated her skills as a mom, growing into a loving and supportive parent. Laura says, “This program is the first one to ever give me safety—which makes my graduation bittersweet.”
Laura is graduating our program having quit smoking, paid off her debt, gotten her license back, and started classes to attain her GED. She has a job and bought a car. Laura also got her smile back. When she came to our program she hardly ever smiled because she was so embarrassed about her teeth, but, thanks to Foreside Family Dental, she can smile again. They donated all of her dental work, and she now confidently smiles every day. The donation of time and work to help Laura with her teeth is truly God’s love, and we cannot thank Foreside Family Dental enough!
Laura will miss Lydia’s House of Hope, but she graduates with the confidence knowing the relationships she’s formed here won’t just go away, and she now gets to show the world how much she has grown and learned. Since her graduation, Laura has returned to teach a 12-week program to our residents, based on the 12 steps of AA and serves as overnight staff a few times a month.