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We made it through the storm!

Created by Denise Washington

We made it through the storm!

Growing up during a time where marijuana was easily accepted, and perhaps expected, should have been a warning sign of what was to come for our family.

A single mother of three daughters, my mother worked hard to make sure that we were balanced as individuals. She not only kept a job, took care of the home, but also made sure that we were enrolled in extracurricular activities, including piano lessons and kickball leagues and ensuring we attended church on the regular. She wasn't the type of mother to yell or to punish us when we got out of line nor did she use spankings for discipline. Instead, she talked with us, and merely by the tone of her voice, we knew what to do.

During my eighth grade year in school, my mother changed. At first we couldn't explain it, nor did we see the signs. Beyond the rumors, my mother didn't display typical signs of addiction, at first. It took several years for the drugs and alcohol to takeover but once it did, it was as if a hurricane had reigned on our lives.

In short, there were times we didn't have a place to live, food to eat, or clothes to wear to school. We depended on each other, or other family members to provide us with the bare necessities. Even then we knew that it wasn't that she didn't love us, it was the drugs.

Then, being ready to graduate and go to college, I prayed every night that God would turn our lives around. I felt that as long as I continued to do what I needed to do, I would be rewarded by her becoming free of drugs.

My mother was sent to jail and that was the turning point. Her being in jail turned out to be a blessing. She was then sent to an inpatient rehabilitation center and has now been free of drugs for 20 years as of 2012.

My mother is a new woman, not just for her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren, but for herself. Being in rehab, she was able to get focused. She didn't have to be ashamed or run from the many problems that life had thrown her way (including being given up for adoption as a 6-month-old baby).

I remember going to visit her and she would look so refreshed. She had clean clothes on, her hair was combed neat and she always had her nails polished. I could see the light shining through her sobriety. My mother went on to college and got her license to counsel others. She has been working as a Drug and Alcohol Abuse Counselor for the past 10 years.

She is not only inspiring to our family, but she has inspired and continues to mentor all those around her. My two sisters and I have also completed our degrees in college and continue to support each other and to make sure we enjoy our loved ones at every holiday.?

We are blessed to have made it through the storm.


This Story of Hope was created in celebration of recovery and to let families know that there are pathways to hope and healing. The Partnership for Drug-Free Kids is the only nonprofit organization dedicated to helping families who are struggling with their son or daughter's substance use. Please consider sharing this page so that families know where to turn to for help, and that there is always hope.

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