We share with you the testimonial of Jaana W. In her testimony she shares how she found New Directions for Women and how it was so important for her to be at a center that accepts women with children. Jaana is just one of many women who have come to New Directions for Women for treatment without having to sacrifice time away from their child. Please take the time to listen to her wonderful story of sustained recovery. The following is a transcript for you to read:
What an emotional morning. I was not expecting this at all. What an honor it is to be here today as an alumnae of New Directions. My sobriety date is January 12, 2012, so I just received a year of continuous sobriety.
Prior to New Directions for Women, during my using, I became mentally, physically and spiritually drained and had a life that became unmanageable. My husband – this is my story briefly. My husband was stationed in Japan through his orders in the Marine Corps. After several months of being apart, I eventually went to live with him in Japan, where I found that he was using pills to self-medicate from his post-traumatic stress disorder and trauma he had received during his time in the military. I now know I was completely codependent and enabled. When he got out of the Marine Corps, we moved back to North Carolina. Because he could no longer get the pills through his military insurance, we both ended up going to the street drug of opiates. I also became physically dependent too. We literally lost everything we had in four months. We went from being completely self-sufficient and living and working in foreign countries to having nothing.
I went to the center in North Carolina and did 60 days wilderness therapy, which is extremely hard; not what I was expecting at all. I had to leave my daughter Soliea with her grandmother for those 60 days, which was extremely hard. I was a mother. I needed extended care, and my therapist found New Directions for Women because it’s one of few treatment centers that allow you to bring your child with you in the United States. I flew all the way to North Carolina because that’s where I needed to go to have Soliea. Not living with her was just not an option because I was already without her for 60 days. During my addiction, I was so passive and quiet before, both with Soliea and my husband. While at New Directions, I went back to school. They drove me to Irvine Valley College twice a week so I could finish my associates in psychology. I’m only a couple of credits away. So that’s huge.
All the staff, but especially my case manager, Poppy, were there for me. Anything I needed to process, she would always challenge me. She never made any decisions for me, which sometimes made it hard. But she gave her wisdom and allowed me to grow into my own person. The child development coordinator, Ms. Sherry, was amazing. She taught Soliea how to trace her name, the sound of letters in the alphabet and helped me a lot with discipline and parenting. Soliea and I walked down to the back – Newport Back Bay all the time, which was only a block away. We walked up to the water and would just sit. It was our place of serenity and quiet time. It can get a little hectic in the house with all the women and children.
They allowed me to bring Soliea when we did the outrigger at the Newport Aquatic Center, so it was just her in the boat with all these women. So it was pretty funny. They all knew and loved her, and we had our own room so we could live as a family. Chef Glenda made special meals for Soliea, and she even cooked Asian food for us, which was a treat. Soliea loved playing with other kids that were there and was able to just be a kid. She had a birthday while we lived there, and everyone made a cake for her, which was a really special occasion, especially because you can’t have sugar in treatment.
Today life is great. I just had a newborn baby named Kaya. She’s six weeks old tomorrow. My marriage is absolutely amazing. My husband and I are both sober today. He’s two weeks behind me, and he’s working at another treatment center in Newport Beach, which I actually started working in treatment a week ago also. It’s important for us to keep our programs separate, which is something I learned at New Directions for Women. New Directions for Women encouraged me into building my own identity. I sponsor women, and I sponsored – my sponsor is an alumnae of New Directions of 16 years. I participate in panels and I’m extremely active in the AA community, and I’ve learned it’s all about giving back what was so freely given to me.
When I was asked to speak here today, I wasn’t sure because I don’t trust anyone necessarily yet with my newborn alone. And I needed a baby – I have a three-year-old, as I mentioned. Then I realized I could bring them back to New Directions because they are in very capable hands with Ms. Sherry, as are the many more little kids that live there with their moms in the future. I’m just extremely blessed and grateful today to be sober, and what an honor really it is to be here. Thank you.