Tara’s Story: Celebrating the First Year of Sobriety at My Sister’s House
When Tara arrived at The Dimock Center’s My Sister’s House residential recovery program one year ago, she didn’t know what to expect. All she knew was that she needed a safe place to be and that she didn’t want to continue living on the dangerous path of constantly getting high.
Tara grew up in Roxbury. When she was 17, she moved into South Boston’s Mary Ellen McCormack housing development. A shy, introverted teen, Tara only felt comfortable interacting with people when she drank alcohol. By the age of 22, Tara was drinking heavily and eventually started using cocaine. At 25, Tara was addicted to crack.
During her time using, Tara lost contact with her two eldest daughters for one year; they returned home in 2014. Tara’s third daughter (now 13) is being raised by the girl’s father in New York. Tara and her twin boys lived with the boys’ father until she went into recovery in 2016, and the boys remain with their dad today. She plans to pursue custody of her sons once she meets additional job training and education goals.
“I knew the very first time I tried cocaine, that I wanted more,” said Tara as she reflected upon her life. She had lost her home and her self-respect, and was so miserable and hopeless that she attempted suicide twice. At that point, she begged to get help. After living most of her adult life in denial of being a substance user, Tara knew she needed help in a big way if she was to beat the habit and stay alive.
“After going in and out of drug treatment facilities, I was given applications to several long-term programs throughout the region. I applied to them,” continues Tara, “and it was October 2016 that I received a call from My Sister’s House at The Dimock Center. I made the decision to become a member of its family and to join their community of sobriety. This was the best decision of my life!”
One year later, as she celebrates her first year of sobriety, Tara feels many emotions, ranging from embarrassment and anger to pride and hope. She attributes her success to the support received from Dimock staff in the residential program and also in the Health Center.
There are many things Tara is now thankful for, most of all to have been given another chance at life. Moreover, Tara is hopeful about a future with her family.
In Her Own Words: Tara’s Experience at My Sister’s House
“At My Sister’s House, every woman is provided a strong support system that helps them through each step of their recovery. Through peer group meetings, I learned how to understand why I abused, and that I have an addictive behavior, and that addiction is a disease in the brain. I learned to understand the triggers and to not keep things in so they can build up. I learned that stress causes anxiety and that I must address concerns immediately in order to alleviate life stresses. I learned to set short and long-term goals. Before My Sister’s House, I had never written goals for myself. In fact, because I now keep and manage a schedule, I’m on time to my appointments and for showing up in life!
Dimock staff see things in the women that you don’t see in yourself, and they are very supportive and encouraged me to be the best I can be. By learning how to think and positively experience life to find things that I like, I am encouraged to do new things. I’m now decorating shoe boxes with colorful pages from magazines, newspapers and pieces of art. I’ve made boxes for nearly everyone in the house. I get really excited to see the happiness these boxes bring to people who receive them – and I feel positive about myself.
I love the fact that I have a comprehensive plan that includes psychiatric counseling, crisis stabilization, a primary care physician, and an eye doctor – all at The Dimock Center. These services are preparing me to move forward with my life.
I was the President of My Sister’s House resident council. I am a peer leader, providing guidance to the younger women who are new to the program. I use my life experiences as examples for what they should and should not do. It is very inspiring.
As I mark my one-year anniversary of sobriety, I am proud, frightened and excited at the same time. there are so many options ahead for me. Who knows – I might launch an online business with my sister to sell designer boxes. One year ago, I didn’t have a home or a bed to call my own. Today my life is full of hope. I look forward to staying on this path; spending time with my children and family; and continuing my sobriety meetings and visits with the other alumni of My Sister’s House. Most importantly, I will be staying close to Dimock, because this is where my life really began!”