Juanita Celebrates 30 Years of Clean Time

If you met Juanita today you would find it hard to believe that 30 years ago, she was frail, homeless, and losing her battle with addiction.

Juanita found the strength to overcome her addiction while living at House of Hope and since graduating from the program in 1991, she continues to give back by sponsoring residents and leading the monthly Alumnae meeting.

Alumnae group celebrates Juanita's 30 years of clean time
Congratulations to Juanita (back row, third from left), a former resident who recently celebrated 30 years of clean time at the March Alumnae meeting.

“I can do things today, at 64-years-old, that I’m truly grateful for and I don’t have a problem letting people know that addiction does exist,” said Juanita. “Following the program, working the steps, and gaining the principals of honesty, open-mindedness, and willingness really assisted me in becoming the woman I am today.”

Juanita’s father died when she was 17 and shortly after that she started college and began using alcohol and marijuana more often. Eventually, she was using cocaine and that’s when she remembers starting to lose control.

Juanita became pregnant with her first child and decided to leave school. She started working full-time and managed to keep life stable for a while but in 1988, more than 15 years after her father’s death, Juanita lost her job due to her drug use.

“I would go for lunch and not return to work, that’s where you could really see my addiction taking over,” said Juanita.

Juanita became homeless and was unable to care for her children. She survived on the streets for about three years until one day she reached out to a family member hoping the family member would give her money but instead she received a second chance at life.

Juanita called her aunt who insisted on coming to get her and convinced her to go to the hospital for in-patient treatment.

While receiving in-patient treatment, Juanita learned she was five months pregnant.

“I was 90 pounds, my hair was matted, and I was a hot mess so we were all shocked to learn that I was pregnant, but the doctor said the baby’s heartbeat was fine,” recalled Juanita.

Juanita stayed in treatment until she gave birth to her third child, a little girl who she named after her aunt. Once her baby was born, she was discharged from treatment and came to live at House of Hope where she stayed from June of 1990 to March of 1991.

“While I was living at House of Hope I was taking parenting classes, attending meetings, and the rest was history. I found a sponsor and I did what Sister Therese and Sister Connie said to do when problems came up. I tried to follow all the rules that they gave us, and I learned to take care of a house and my children,” said Juanita.

After completing the program, Juanita continued to work for the agency and helped set an example for residents that came after her. Over the last 30 years, she has sponsored many women in recovery and hosts the monthly alumnae meeting.

“I keep coming back because it shows newcomers that this program works,” said Juanita. “House of Hope  is a house where you can gain as many tools as you will ever need in life and you don’t have to pay a dime, you just need to have the honesty, open-mindedness, and willingness to try.”

Juanita said that her goal is to make sure the women in the program and those who have completed the program feel supported to keep moving forward with their recovery and never have to look back.