I was raised by a very strong and determined mother in a house filled with 4 girls and lots of love. I had everything I needed – nice clothes, nice home, and a close-knit family. I had a solid foundation, yet my life took a turn down the wrong path.
I started drinking once I reached junior high school – I was 15 years old. I guess the peer pressure got to me. Part of me knew it was bad, but I wanted to rebel against my strict mother. It was fun for a while, but then it consumed my life. Eventually I dropped out once I reached high school. I had my first daughter at 17 and lived with her alcoholic father.
I drank alcohol most of my young life. My adolescent life was full of alcohol, blackouts, and fighting. I was forced to go to treatment. After completing the program, I went back to the lifestyle I knew and I relapsed. One thing lead to another and I started doing drugs.
At 25, I was introduced to crack cocaine and was hooked immediately. During that time, I was living on the streets. I did not even want to go to a shelter because I couldn’t make curfew, and I was only focused on finding more drugs. When you have an addiction you are always on the move – you don’t deal with distractions from anyone who will hinder you from getting your fix.
I hit bottom when I woke up on a metal grate on Pennsylvania Avenue, where I had been living for the past 7 years behind the old unemployment building. I woke up one morning and I cried uncontrollably for three days straight because I could not live this life anymore. I was physically, mentally and spiritually exhausted. I asked God to please help me because I need a path for a different life. After those three days, I felt like a weight was lifted off my shoulder and I knew it was time to get help.
I finally surrendered to the program on April 2, 2001. The first time in treatment I couldn’t sit still. This time, I sat still long enough to get the help I need. I got my GED while in treatment and later went to UDC for a degree in nursing. Ever since that first day in treatment, I haven’t found it necessary to go back to drugs and alcohol. Treatment does not work unless you are sick and tired of living the way you are living. You have to have an honest desire for a new way of life! This program is for those who truly WANT it, not NEED it.
I came to SAMARITAN INNS in April 2003 for the Single Room Occupancy at Tabitha House. It was a therapeutic community – exactly what I needed to build on my sober foundation. Everyday, the ladies in my suite told me to apply for a job opening as a building manager. It was as if they were like my guardian angels, they saw something in me that I didn’t see in myself. I applied after celebrating my 2 years clean and got the job. I give thanks everyday for this establishment for saving my life and affording me a job where I can help someone with no strings attached.
Tammy is celebrating 14 years clean and married her best friend and long time love, Joe. “I have never felt healthier or happier!”