Three Strong Women – Three Decades of Recovery

Three Strong Women – Three Decades of Recovery

Looking at the pair of tired black loafers with torn soles sitting on the center of the table, Donna C. becomes overcome with emotion. “Can you believe I walked into Hitchcock ten years ago wearing these shoes?” Angela K. and Donna W. shake their heads but the looks on their faces tell the story. Those shoes represent how they all came into Hitchcock a decade ago; broken, alone, with their own tattered souls. Each has her own story, her own addictions, and her own journey in recovery. But at Hitchcock they found each other. The bond of friendship and a unique sisterhood formed have endured trials and tribulations over the last ten years.

Donna C. came to Hitchcock addicted to heroin, homeless, scared and in her own words, “having burnt all bridges.” After going through the treatment program at Hitchcock, Donna spent two years getting back on her feet in their transitional housing program. “I learned to get honest with myself, learned how to love myself.” Today Donna is a home health aide and celebrated 10 years of recovery on June 4th. Ten years later, she found herself turning to her old friend Angela. “I called her crying in the middle of the night-so grateful that we had made it 10 years.”

Angela arrived at Hitchcock in a taxi, wearing only a hospital gown. It was the only place left to go after leaving an emergency room seven months pregnant, HIV positive, and addicted to crack. No other treatment center would consider assessing her, but Hitchcock saw something more than a broken woman. They offered her a new home. “Francine Mann (former HCFW employee) changed my life. she took me on a retreat for HIV positive women. I had never told anyone I was positive until I came here. I have never looked back.” Shortly after leaving treatment, Angela began a support group for the friends she met at Hitchcock. Donna W. remembers with laughter being Angela’s first guest in her home. “I brought ice and chicken wings! We made a commitment to be in this together, and that has never changed.” Today Angela is raising her son (who is HIV negative) and working as a resident assistant at Hitchcock. She celebrated 10 years of recovery on June 12th.

Donna W., also known as “Big O” by her friends, came to Hitchcock homeless, hopeless and addicted to crack. She credits Francine Mann and Victoria Marian (where are they now?) as two “angels” that helped her through her treatment journey. Reflecting fondly on her grandmother who raised her after her mother was killed when Donna was only 4 years old, Donna W. said, “She always supported me even when I was doing drugs, and I was so happy that she was able to see me in recovery and that she could be proud of me before she died.” Her journey in recovery has been challenging. Her husband died six years ago after relapsing into addiction and Donna found herself at a crossroads in life. She chose to go back to school and graduated on May 20th. Currently, she works as a nursing assistant in a local nursing home.

The bond these three women share is one that all Hitchcock alumni share. The challenges, the fears, the hope and the power to overcome addiction binds women in a lifetime of understanding and camaraderie. Hitchcock is committed to not only women in treatment but to a lifetime of recovery. It is a place that offers not only a new pair of shoes but a new community of companions for the journey.

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