Hannah

I was introduced to drugs at age 7 when my uncle gave me alcohol so I would sleep and he could molest me. The abuse continued until I was 11 when he moved out of the house. Soon after he left, my mother had just started dating a new boyfriend and then he came into my room one night to say goodnight. A good night kiss turned into sexual abuse for the next two years until I could get out of the house to live with my grandmother.

At 14 I was feeling ashamed, alone, angry and hurt by everyone in my life. My grandmother provided food and clothing but resented having to raise a child at her age. I realized quickly that if I wanted to have good clothes, pretty shoes and money, I could easily get men to give me what I want if I gave them what they wanted from me. I started dancing at a strip club and I could make $500 - $800 a night. To stay awake and thin, I used cocaine and then alcohol and marijuana to come down from the cocaine high. I got pregnant and had two abortions but by 20 I knew I needed a different life. I was in and out of treatment programs but none of them worked for me. I knew the right things to say, but I did not feel the treatment in my heart.

At 22, I got pregnant by a man I thought who loved me, but he left me when I told him we were having a baby. Pregnant, alone and scared, I found out about Horizons from a peer-support specialist attending an NA meeting. She gave me the number and I called the next day.

At 22, I got pregnant by a man I thought who loved me, but he left me when I told him we were having a baby. Pregnant, alone and scared, I found out about Horizons from a peer-support specialist attending an NA meeting. She gave me the number and I called the next day.

Within three weeks I was moving into my own apartment!  At first, it was overwhelming. There were so many rules to follow, and so many different people to help with different things- transportation, getting a job, preparing for the baby, finding permanent housing and attending group and individual treatment. I had never trusted other women and I was asked to live with other women and share everything about my past and life with them.

In treatment, I learned how to trust myself and how to be a true friend. I learned to focus on myself and my baby and stay out of the drama of other people’s lives. Horizons gave me the skills to be healthy parent, to learn from the mistakes my mother made and break the cycle of abuse. I learned how to have healthy relationships and forgive myself for the abuse I endured as a child. Horizons helped me find my voice and use it to help myself and my daughter.

My goal when I leave the program next month, is to keep my job as a receptionist and become a peer-support specialist in Horizons in two years where I can give back to help other women like me.