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Through the Eyes of our Children: Salia and Jaana

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Watch Part One: Melissa
Eighteen years ago, New Directions for Women began serving women with their children and pregnant women. We were founded in 1977 with the vision of providing all women affordable, accessible addiction treatment services specialized for women. Women faced many barriers to accessing residential rehabs. One of the primary ones continues to be childcare and Moms not wanting to be away from their children. In general, mothers take on more of the child rearing responsibilities and may have to choose between recovery and family when seeking treatment.

Coming to rehab with your child not only removes that barrier to care, but also provides a healing opportunity for children to heal from the devastating effects of family addiction. Treating the mother and child(ren) concurrently in a residential setting where the needs of the family are met is a cost-effective and highly impactful method of breaking the cycle of addiction. Children are able to develop emotional strength and deepen their resilience. Their daily schedule includes: art, storytelling, role playing, and recreation. Moms get parenting classes and Mommy and Me time, and their parenting relationships grow and deepen in recovery.

Jaana is an incredibly brave Mom who came to treatment at New Directions for Women in Costa Mesa, CA for aftercare, after an initial stay in a wilderness program. She had been away from her young daughter Salia during that time, and chose not to go to aftercare without Salia. There are only a small handful of facilities in the country that help pregnant and parenting women seeking drug rehabilitation. It is especially interesting because, as Jaana shares, she (and many other women) received prescription pain medications after their C-Sections which is what led to her addiction to heroin. Women are an increasingly vulnerable patient population when being prescribed opioids. In fact, in 2016, 30% more opioid prescriptions were written for women.

Today, both Jaana and Salia are thriving in recovery and their lives’ trajectory have forever been changed, as well as their future generations of daughters and granddaughters! Our hope is this story can help other families heal from the cunning, baffling, and powerful disease of addiction. Listening to recovery stories through the eyes of our children will heal the addiction epidemic and ensure our future generations live in a happy, joyous, and free world.

Transcription of Video:

Yeah, I think about that sometimes … sometimes I use my imagination and pretend I’m a unicorn. I was thinking about being an artist at New Directions or an Art Teacher. You can get creative with it.

I had my first child at age of 20. Which is Salia.

I’m 8 years old and in 3rd grade.

I had a C-Section and being prescribed pain medication was ultimately my downfall. So, I graduated from prescription drugs to the street drug ultimately which was heroin. When you wake up during active addiction the first thing you think about is “how am I going to get my fix today?” Which usually involved doing something that I probably shouldn’t have done.

There’s a lot of wreckage that is caused from addiction and you have to face the reality of it when attaining recovery. So, my role as a wife to my husband, my role as a mother, was completely irrelevant. I disregarded that responsibility. I was willing to completely walk away from them and I did. Ultimately, that lead to an intervention. They had to hire a professional. Our 3 year old daughter was there, and they said “If you do not get treatment you will not see her anymore.”

Something that day had me going because I walked out of the house to go to treatment. After not seeing Salia for 60 days I felt extremely guilty. She was extremely excited to see me but I also saw fear in her eyes. She looked up at me and immediately got extremely concerned If I was coming or not. That was pretty tough.

Yeah, She really means a lot to me and I don’t want to see her go away. It just makes me sad.

A lot of my first days being reunited with her I tried to make up for lost time. I remember laying with her and singing songs with her as we were going to bed. She was with me all the time. We went on a lot of walks and it meant a lot that I was at a facility that was that flexible and understood how important it was for my daughter to experience that with her mother.

Recovery is the greatest thing that ever happened to Salia and to me. She was able to learn how to write her name at the age of two because of the care she got at the daycare. I did parenting classes. I didn’t think I needed parenting classes but I had to learn.

Being active in addiction the first few years of her life I didn’t really fully experience or learn what I needed to do as a mother.

For my children I have high hopes for them. I’ve been blessed to be given the opportunity to raise a strong girl that knows her worth. A girl that knows who she is.

We have this thing called Art Masters at School and it’s where we learn about famous artists. We copy the art that he did when it was my turn I was a little nervous inside but I knew I could do it. We learn about an artist named Peter… I forgot his last name but he was born somewhere that started with an “N” and ended with “Lands”.

He paints these really cool flowers. They are like different colors and little pieces. I just really like it. I like to see the art around me like grass or meadows or I would like to draw me.

Jaana now helps other women recovery in a sober living community.

Her blog – “Rooted Mom” – explores her family’s growth and wholesome lifestyle.

Salia continues to see the art around her.

And within her.

For more information regarding rehab for women please contact: 800-93-WOMEN or visit www.www.newdirectionsforwomen.org.

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