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Recovery is Possible.

Per the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), Recovery Month is a national observance held every September to promote and support new evidence-based treatment and recovery practices, the emergence of a strong and proud recovery community, and the dedication of service providers and community members across the nation who make recovery in all its forms possible.

As recovery month is upon us, I am heartened reflecting back on stone ceremonies of women past who have moved through CGE’s Long-Term Residential Mommy & Me program. A stone ceremony is a tradition that CGE has established to honor a mother’s time in our care. Each stone has a different message: Heal; Serenity; Love; Let go; Breathe; Wisdom; Inspire; Pray; Imagine; Pause; Faith; Relax; Trust. This tangible transitional object is symbolic, carrying within it the teachings, love, and lessons one experienced through her time in care with us. She gets to carry it into her future to remember where she came from, what she learned, and how that foundation can only help her grow more.

healing stones

I am reminded, too, of how the wheels of life continue to turn, as another newcomer enters the program. During a room check, it was noticed that her calendar on the wall had been marked up a bit. Upon closer look we saw, “3 days clean,” “4 days clean,” “5 days clean.” Today is day 88. Her daughter was born while she was in our program and due to her ability to sustain her sobriety, her child was not removed from her care at the hospital by the Department of Child Protection & Permanency (DCP&P). The baby came home to mom at CGE. Mom has the cutest nickname for her baby. They are learning about one another in very special ways.

There are unique challenges a pregnant woman in active addiction faces when she tries to get help. Not being able to get onto maintenance medication, such as methadone, because she doesn’t have photo ID is but one of them. Getting to the DMV is a very difficult task when transportation is a barrier and then providing the correct points of identification seems almost impossible when one is homeless and has lost everything. Sitting on hold with the Office of Vital Statistics, when the minutes on your phone are low, becomes less of a priority, because there are just so many steps involved, and no help, it seems. And the situation is stressful and relies on one’s internal capacity to regulate emotions in a way that does not result in the cursing at the person on the other end of the line in sheer desperation. And, so, use continues; her belly grows, desperate for change, and the only looks she gets are those of judgment and disgust. No one checks in to ask: “Hey, do you need help?” Oftentimes, the child’s father is not involved; if he is, it may not be the healthiest relationship. Therefore, attending recovery meetings is not something she often has the luxury of doing, while trying to work as many hours as possible to financially support her family, and perhaps tend to other children. Then there is the legal involvement. She is keenly aware of the looming reality that her child(ren) could be removed from her care. A mother in recovery faces many stressors. Keeping all those balls in the air can be exhausting.

moms in recovery

This month is a reminder that there is always hope. The meaning behind the acronym HOPE is: Hold On Pain Ends. Holding hope for others when they feel as though their light is too dim is exactly what we do at CGE. Another newcomer arrived on Wednesday, 9/8/21. Her now eight-month-old daughter was removed from her care due to her incarceration. They’re scheduled to have a visit this afternoon. In those bonding moments of tight mommy-baby hugs, all really does seem right in the world.

Recovery is possible. Join us in the celebration of this incredible work on Oct 1 at 6pm at the #HopeLivesHere Gala! Click here for more details on the in-person event.