To Love Her is To Help Her

Mother and DaughterMother-Daughter Team Dedicate Lives to Women and Children Affected by Substance Use Disorder

At New Directions for Women, we believe to love her is to help her. For us, that means loving each woman into sobriety; loving her into a new life filled with hope, strength, and faith. When a contributor from Huffington Post reached out to us and wanted to highlight our very own Chief Executive Officer, Becky Flood and her daughter, Margaret, on their dedication to helping women and children across the country affected by substance use disorders, we felt overjoyed and a bit emotional.

For Becky, she has been in recovery for 41 years and although, her daughter, Margaret is not personally in recovery from addiction, she understands the journey of family recovery and the importance of educating our communities about it. On one side, you have Becky who works with women who are in danger of losing custody of their children, women who have lost custody of their children, women who are in the process of reunifying with their children, and has created pathways for both the children and the entire family to come together so all the generations begin to recover. On the other side, Margaret and her husband already have fostered 33 children, five of whom they have adopted. Almost every child that has entered Margaret’s home has a parent who suffers from addiction. Experts estimate that 80 to 90 percent of foster care placements can be traced to parental substance abuse. Their addictions lead to abuse and neglect of their child/children. The parents struggled to recover due to lack of resources, lack of support, and not wanting to get well.

In any society, when women or children are neglected, suppressed, and abused, poverty exists. Famine occurs. Social injustice rise. But in all nations, when we see women and children loved, empowered, and nurtured, you begin to see growth and thriving and abundance. Even though here in the U.S., we’ve made much progress, there’s still so much more that needs to occur. Substance use disorders are still stigmatized by individuals, communities, and payer sources. There is so much broken-ness in our health care system, our legislation, in child protective services, prison systems, and even those providing care, behaving in ways that are not helpful to the population they’re serving. I truly believe that if we, as individuals, families, and a nation, truly embrace substance use disorder and other behavioral health diagnoses as the diseases that they are and put our resources into the solution (meaning pay for treatment at the intensity and duration of time needed to truly have a lifelong journey of recovery) we as a nation will begin to heal. Generations will be forever changed.

As Becky says, “My children never saw me under the influence. They lived in a sober home. They were brought up on recovering principles. They were brought up in a house of faith, and encouraged to become all that they had the potential to be, to be kind and loving to others, to be grateful for what they had. We celebrated them as individuals, and together as a family. I had no expectations other than for them to make healthy choices and be happy, kind human beings. Because of that, I’ve been blessed with children that are doing amazing things – not always through conventional methods, but they are changing the world in their own ways. My daughter, who I have called a Princess since the day she was born and every day since then, is living out the life of a Princess. She has been blessed with an amazing husband and in-law family, with amazing children, and she’s a Special-Ed teacher in a contained classroom in a Title 1 school. It’s one of the toughest jobs a person can hold, and she does it with enthusiasm and joy, with a belief that each child matters and that each child can be who they want to be. She advocates for them to school system administrators and is a voice for the unheard child both in her personal and professional life. My grandchildren are being positively impact by the numerous children that come through their lives. I know that if they can do it, every other person in America that is blessed with resources, can do the same thing. Together, we can take care of our own nation and change the world.”

As Margaret says, “There are many things that lead up to me wanting to foster children. My Mom wrote the grant to create the Matri-ARK program at Seabrook House, a program that helped women healing from addiction alongside their children. I remember the infants that were born drug addicted and the school aged children who were trying to heal while their mothers were in treatment. Interacting with these children always brought me comfort. I love all children but have always been gravitated to children who have higher needs and who need the most love and attention. While working at Union Hospital as a nursing assistant I had the opportunity to meet and work with a seasoned foster parent Dori Haase. She had many foster children over the years and she had just recently adopted 2 little girls from foster care. She explained the need in our county for foster parents and enlightened me on the world of foster care. A world most of us know nothing about, most of us turn a blind eye to, most of us are scared to help because of the fear of having to give children back. Dori convinced my husband and I to help in any way we could. So the journey began…..”

There are several government funded women and children’s program – however not enough of them to treat those that need services. In some areas, there is no access to this type of care at all. However, New Directions for Women is very unique in treating a privately insured population of pregnant women and women with children who utilize their health care to some extent, their own private resources, and we provide partial scholarship funding (made possible by generous donors) to give pregnant women and women with children the intensity and duration of care that they need to heal. So we are only one in a handful of programs nationwide to treat this population of women. There is still a scarcity of women coming forward to receive care. Many providers are treating women without their children, or treating a woman when she’s pregnant and then needing to discharge her when she gives birth because they can’t accommodate the child. This doesn’t help create family healing or provide continuity of care; it does not wrap itself around the entire family and allow generational healing to occur. We’re unique in that we provide on site child care services, we assist women in working with both public and private schools to ensure that their children’s individual education plans (IEPs) are being met, we seek out in community supports for our children. We work with women who are in danger of losing custody of their children, women who have lost custody of their children, women who are in the process of reunifying with their children, and have created pathways for both the children and the entire family to come together so that all the generations begin to heal. This will change the outcome for these children, for the community they live in, and for the social services that would have been affected by these children not getting care.

Ultimately, when women heal, generations heal. Thus, Becky and Margaret’s life mission is to provide mothers with the resources to enter recovery from drug or alcohol addiction. In turn, these mothers can give their children every opportunity to go on and lead a meaningful and healthy life.

To read more about Becky and her daughter and the life-changing work we do, visit our article on Huffington Post.

New Directions for Women (NDFW) is a drug and alcohol rehab and detox treatment provider offering services for women, pregnant women, women with children up to 13 years of age. For nearly 4 decades, we have expanded to become an internationally recognized, comfortable, luxury, attractive 30-bed residential rehab located in Southern California (CA) Costa Mesa, near Newport Beach’s Back Bay and Nature Preserve. State licensed and certified, our award winning facility touts a very high recovery rate. Please contact New Directions for Women if you or someone you know is in need of care in overcoming this disease at 1-800-93-WOMEN. We believe to love her is to help her.