Samantha had “a million excuses” for why she didn’t want to come to the UNC Horizons Program, she says. She had a family who needed her – a loving son, a dedicated husband who was her high-school sweetheart, and three dogs as beloved as her child.

She was also embarrassed and disappointed. A former client of Horizons with four years of sobriety, she was experiencing a relapse, and she didn’t want anyone to know.

“Being vulnerable is frightening,” she says. “I should have reached out when I was triggered, and I didn’t. Admitting my mistakes was so hard, but once I came back, I saw that the staff and other women here are so supportive that it’s safer to be here than to be out there.”

Samantha now attends SACOT (Substance Abuse Comprehensive Outpatient Treatment), an outpatient treatment program that meets at Horizons daily from 9:00 a.m. to 1:45 p.m. While she is at SACOT, her son, G., attends the 5-star UNC Horizons Child Development Center on-site. With SACOT, she is able to receive group treatment, individual therapy, tools to manage stress and prevent relapse, help for family issues, therapy for G. and access to employment assistance. Through her experiences, she has already determined that she’d like to work in mental health helping other families once she graduates.

The shame of relapse was difficult, Samantha says, but she’s able to accept that it is part of her recovery story and that, at Horizons, she is never alone.

“There is this voice telling me, ‘this is where you’re supposed to be. You belong here,’” she says. “At SACOT, I’ve learned that recovery is possible. It once seemed like an insurmountable task – something you hope for but never truly believe is possible.”