Throughout the years, as my addiction got worse, my two daughters noticed a change in me, and eventually I became an embarrassment and a disappointment to them. Because of my addiction, I stopped participating in the PTA and attending school events. My relationship with my daughters completely fell apart to the point where they stopped calling me Mom and started calling me Angela.
I started drinking around age 12 or 13, and my best friend’s older sister introduced us to marijuana around the same time. I went through high school skipping classes and rebelling against anyone who tried to dissuade my destructive behavior. At the age of 21, I tried cocaine for the first time. I went on to use it for many years, and at first it wasn’t a problem. But there came a day when I lost all control. I started to deteriorate mentally, physically, emotionally and financially until finally I was a train wreck.
My childhood was a happy time. My mom was the best, always caring for and loving me and my sisters. She worked a lot to provide for us, and my sister and I were independent. In high school, I smoked pot to fit in with my group of friends. Despite my drug use, I completed high school and went to college. While there, I began an intense bible study. As my relationship with Christ grew stronger, I discovered my purpose. I was destined to help others and make a difference in the world.
Through her early 20s, Katrina had it all. Raised in a loving home by her grandparents, she graduated Robert Morris College with an associate degree in business, had a baby boy and got a good job working for the city.
I didn’t grow up wanting to be an alcoholic and an addict. I wanted to be a surgical nurse. Those goals are attainable now. I will go back to school and have my own place. Thanks to St. Martin. Lyntoi, 57, has worked hard to get where she is today. A native Chicagoan, she grew up in a close-knit, loving family on the West Side. Her father was a pastor and a singer, and her mother stayed at home and raised Lyntoi and her brother.
“St. Martin’s is such a beautiful place. It prepared me to reclaim my life.” Crystal, 51, is looking forward. Fourteen months sober, and a recent graduate of St. Martin de Porres House of Hope, Crystal has a part-time job and sings with Harmony, Hope and Healing, a therapeutic and educational music program. Melanie Bagnola, the Case Manager at House of Hope, connected her to Housing Opportunities for Women (HOW) and this past April she moved into her own apartment.