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In September 2009, after struggling with heroin addiction and having their two young sons placed into foster care by the Department for Children and Family Services, Ed and Stacey joined the Victory Programs community. They both joined 4-6 month residential treatment programs, Stacey at Joelyn’s Family Home, a program designed for women, and Ed at the men’s only New Victories.
Though each of them succeeded at their programs, their sobriety was short-lived. A rocky road of recovery and relapses resulted in being reunited, and then separated again, from their sons. “Those were the darkest days of my life,” said Stacey about losing her children for a second time. She admits asking for help a third time was difficult. “I was so embarrassed to call Joelyn’s again, but I needed to put that aside and get back.”
The couple made the call on March 21 and Stacey was back in the program the very next day. “I really jumped right back into recovery. I got a job, went to meetings, got a sponsor.” Ed also returned to Victory Programs, but four days into his program he relapsed and almost died. In the hospital, Ed had a revelation. “I had a spiritual moment. I realized I had to make my own health my number one priority. The only way I would be able to work at being a better husband to my wife and a better parent to my sons was if I was alive and sober.”
Victory Programs offered Ed another chance. If he could complete a 28-day detox program, they would welcome him back to Victory House, and Ed jumped at the chance. “I took every opportunity to go to meetings, to take full advantage of everything I could,” he said.
Ed and Stacey are so thankful to Victory Programs for never giving up on them through their journey. “They care so much,” said Stacey. “They never gave up on us.”
After completing her third stay at Joelyn’s, Stacey regained custody of her children and moved back in with her parents. Shortly after, Ed completed his stay at Victory House and moved on to another program in Cambridge. Since then, he has returned to Victory House to run AA meetings and offer support to the men in the program.
In March, Ed called us to share some good news. He and Stacey had completed a full year of sobriety and were finally living together in an apartment with their two sons. Stacey is working full time and Ed is working part-time at a recovery home in South Boston. He is currently applying for continuing education programs so he can become a counselor and help others.
Their path is not an easy one, which they acknowledge, but Ed and Stacey say their relationship is stronger than it’s ever been and they’re hopeful for a future free of drugs. “I’m becoming the man my father raised me to be,” said Ed. “It feels good to be living a healthy life, a life surrounded by my family.”
Just last year, I officially became an adult. I had many life experiences that had tested my hopes to succeed in life. In 2010, I was a high school graduate, living with my mom, and was going to be a mother myself. During my pregnancy, I separated from my mother and was living in a motel. I was alone and scared, but I made a commitment to my unborn daughter that I would not have her growing up in shelters the way I had.
During my pregnancy I was working at a department store and surviving on food stamps. The day my daughter was born, I was fortunate to find an opening at ReVision Family Home, Victory Programs’ family shelter that also provides intensive housing and vocational case management. With my newborn in my arms, and having the security of being in a program, I was hopeful about my future.
Being responsible for another human being at the age of 21 was not easy, however. The staff at ReVision Family Home was especially caring and supportive during this new phase of my life, for which I did not have any experience. Having loving staff who were like my family, the security of a roof over my head, and access to healthy food and childcare, I was able to get my bearings.
I continued to take part in all the support services that were offered at the Home. With the guidance from the staff, I was introduced to and completed a job readiness program at Project Place in Boston. For me, this was not enough. I applied to Year Up, a national, one-year, training program that provides hands-on skill development, college credits, and corporate internships. Application was not easy; the acceptance rate was 1 out of a 100. I was ecstatic when I was accepted in the program!
One year of hard work paid off when earlier this year I was offered a full-time position as a Client Services Specialist at State Street – the place of my internship! My daughter is two years old; I have a steady job and a place I can call home. I have plans to get a college degree and start my own business in the future.
As I look back at my life from two years ago, I realize that ReVision Family Home offered me the vital support that helped me to recapture my life. The staff instilled in me the importance of hard work, and taught me to see the bigger picture.