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Laura’s Story

“Wayside was the first time I received the help I needed in all areas of my life―therapy, parenting, employment counseling, spirituality, art, and housing. Addiction and the abuse had fractured and impacted everything in my life.”

– Laura G.

I grew up in a house with both parents and my older brother. Overall, I was a happy kid who liked school. But there was an undercurrent of pain, a secret I kept: I was abused as a young child. I never told anyone.

I was introduced to weed and alcohol when I was 15 but, since I was a “good girl,” no one suspected. The secrets kept building. I blamed my parents, I wanted to be a rebel. I moved out at 18 and danced in nightclubs for the next ten years all the while hurt, angry and lonely. At 23 I took cocaine and I knew I was in trouble. I remember it instantly melted everything away.

When I was using cocaine, I didn’t think about the abuse. I had self-esteem and I felt good. I couldn’t stop. At 29 I got arrested. The first time my secrets got some light. I entered treatment and found out I was pregnant with my son. I got sober for 2 years. I got married, bought a house, had a good job, and completed my Associate’s degree. When my son turned eight a switch flipped inside me and I began to use again. I lost everything, even the custody of my son.

I entered Wayside Women’s Treatment totally broken. I had to start over and this time treatment was different. I had never discussed my abuse, never had my mental health diagnosis woven into my care.

“It was at Wayside that I connected my son turning eight with my own abuse at the same age resulting in my need to use again to forget. I still have my acceptance letter to Wayside Supportive Housing. After treatment, I knew I had to get into their supportive housing because it was the only way I was going to stay sober and be a part of my son’s life.”

I needed all of it, the stability, the community meeting, the coaching, the apartment inspections, the random UA’s. I have now been sober for three and a half years.

In May, I graduated with the highest honors from St. Catherine’s with a B.A. in Social Work and now my job is to help other families experiencing homelessness secure housing and stabilize. Stability matters—now I am a licensed social worker and more importantly I am a sober mom with a healthy, happy kid.

– Laura G.