Sober, Housed, & Never Going Back

Allison had it all—a supportive family, good job, new car, nice place to live, and money in the bank. That’s why when a friend invited her to try crack for the first time, she told him, “Oh, I can’t do that. My life is too good. I’ve got to be there for my daughter. People who do that stuff aren’t successful.”

Her friend responded, “Well, I’ve been smoking crack for years. Not everybody fails doing it.” This was a revelation. After a couple of beers with her friend, Allison began to think maybe it wasn’t such a big deal. She reasoned, “What the heck? I can try it once and say no after that.” She took her first hit, and that was it. Allison was hooked.

Six months into her drug use, things started to unravel. Instead of paying her electricity bill or rent, Allison spent her money on the next high. The worst part was the damage she did to her relationships, especially with her twelve-year-old daughter, Katrina, and her parents. She says, “When you’re using, it’s so easy to burn those bridges because you’re thinking about yourself. You’re not thinking about how you’re hurting somebody else. It’s serious tunnel vision, and you’ll do anything to get that stuff.”

Over the next few years, Allison bounced between her parents’ place and apartments, keeping the same bad habits. This eventually led to Katrina living permanently with Allison’s parents and Allison entering the shelter system, where she would stay for three-and-a-half years. Then one day, Allison’s case manager at the shelter told her, “Okay, I got a place, but you’re going to have to interview like it’s your life. They have five spots available, and one of them could be yours.”

Allison was so nervous she couldn’t sleep that night. She decided that she was done with drugs. The next day she interviewed with Our Saviour’s Permanent Supportive Housing Program. The interview went well, and Our Saviour’s told Allison they’d let her know within a week. Thirty minutes later, Allison was standing at a bus stop when the phone rang. She answered and heard the person on the line say that they would like to offer her housing. Allison’s response was immediate. “I screamed so loud I think everybody around there heard! She was trying to talk, and I’d start screaming again and was running around. That was a good day.”

On April 15, 2010, Allison moved into her new apartment and has remained successfully housed there since. She’s also stayed sober and knows she’s never going back. She says, “There’s a few things that keep a person sober, and the big thing is having the respect of my family again. It took time, but I rebuilt those bridges. I can honestly say that I feel good. I can make sound decisions, and I can be proud of where I am. I’m thankful to Our Saviour’s Housing for giving me this opportunity. I thank the Lord every day for them.”