My mom left my dad when I was three; when I was older, he told me her excuse for leaving was that I, as a three-year-old, was “too much trouble.”
I lived as an only child with my dad for a couple of years and then he remarried. When I was 11, that marriage broke up and it was just my dad and me again. He died when I was 19, which was a huge loss.
At age 20, I vacationed in Colorado with my then-boyfriend and fell in love with the mountains. Two weeks later, we moved there, got engaged, and got married.
But after two and a half years of him abusing me, I left him. Just about every relationship I’ve been in since has been abusive. I always want to help, but men seem to always take advantage of me. My drinking problem got serious around age 23 or 24.
After 20 years in Colorado, I began missing my family a lot, and I moved in with my sister and her husband in Indiana in 2015. Then my brother-in-law lost his job and they moved to California to live with his father, under cramped conditions. I had a married nephew at Scott Air Force Base near St. Louis, and he invited me to live with him because he had an extra bedroom. But he had marital problems and with all the extra stress, my drinking got out of hand to the point that I ended up in a rehab facility in Centralia, which discharged me to the Freedom House in Decatur.
Their van drove me to the Freedom House in April 2018. For me, so many of the situations were so stressful that my existing problems with depression and anxiety were becoming unmanageable.
In Colorado, I had worked in property management for eight years and was in charge of owner relations for a large company. I also worked as a sales associate at a Pier 1, both in Colorado and then in Fairview Heights. So I had no trouble being hired at the Pier 1 in Forsyth (an hour’s commute by bus). I only get 15 to 20 hours a week as an associate. I could become a lead associate, but I don’t have a car, which is required to make bank deposits. I could have had my own place by now, but I have financially helped my boyfriend and his 70-year-old father, who are also homeless. He’s a really nice guy and treats me very well, but it’s been difficult considering our living situation.
On October 1, I started staying at the Careage House. I was very impressed with the cleanliness and peacefulness there. It was refreshing. I had never set foot in a homeless shelter before. I really appreciate the meals starting November 1. Before that, the most stressful part of my day was trying to figure out how to get something healthy to eat.
I’ve battled drinking for the last 20+ years. I’d love to return to Colorado, but it would have to be a different area, because the people I know there are into a lot of drugs and drinking. When my sister gets her own place in California, I might move there. I’ve been sober a little over seven months now and plan to just keep taking it a day at a time. I hope to have my own place soon and continue to improve my life and myself spiritually and physically.
Thanks to everyone who supports the Careage House; I don’t know where I would be without it!