Meta House ends the generational cycle of addiction by healing women and strengthening families. The stories below are a testament to magic that happens when a talented, compassionate team empowers women determined to get well.
In 2016, Brandi boldly shared her story of recovery to an audience of hundreds at our annual event, A Day for Meta House. Her video, Learning to Live Again, invited the community to step into her story with the purpose of understanding how addiction takes hold and how much strength is required to break that hold. We caught up with her recently; click to see what she’s been up to since that time.
Donated by Purple Onion, this film was shown at A Day for Meta House 2018.
A mom of three, a softball player, a waitress and a soon-to-be teacher, Jessica doesn’t have much extra time on her hands. Yet, she enjoys using her few spare moments to candidly share her journey of addiction and recovery. She’s faced some tough challenges – foster care, grief, addiction – but despite it all, has recently completed her Associate degree in education and has two years to go before being awarded her full degree. She freely admits her story is still in-progress, but her life looks drastically different than it did five years ago.
Too often recovery begins with tragedy. We hear stories of a gut-wrenching loss of a family member, of painful separation between mom and child or of losing a home and feeling an overwhelming sense of helplessness. Unfortunately, it can take rock bottom to realize that without help, the disease of addiction is deadly. For Meta House graduate Angela, rock bottom was coming home to find her fiancé lifeless in the bathroom floor. In that moment, she said that everything changed…
There’s always a story brimming underneath the surface.
Standing in front of her daughter’s classroom for an Alcohol and Drug Awareness Day, that’s what Donna wanted to share. Working as a Peer Support Specialist the past three years, Donna has walked alongside many women who are recovering from substance use disorders, serving as an advocate and a mentor.
Sharon came to Meta House following a Christmas that devastated her and her family. This stunningly raw yet courageous story holds nothing back. Donated by Purple Onion, this film was shown at the 2017 A Day for Meta House event.
As Wilma walked through Meta House’s doors as a graduate of eight years, she was proud to reflect on how far she’s come since she first arrived in 2008. “When I first came to Meta House, I was so angry. I didn’t want to be there, I didn’t want to participate. Yet, I was so tired and I had hit rock bottom,” she remembers.
Story after story reminds our community that recovery isn’t a snap of the fingers. Similar to any disease, recovery from addiction requires an effective treatment strategy paired with an attitude of compassion. So often at Meta House, we see and admire the resilience of women who determinedly tread down the path of recovery and move past the setbacks along the way. This is especially true for one of our recent clients, Jill.
“Being able to wake up every morning and actually be a good daughter, mother, sister, friend, girlfriend… fuels my fire to try to help others and give back what I’ve been given.” Hear about Brandi’s journey here.
She remembers it vividly – walking through the aisles of a local grocery story along with a few of her housemates – carefully selecting ingredients for the week’s meals. Into the cart, then onto the conveyor belt and into brown paper bags the items would go and up stepped … Read more about Laurie’s experience here.
Shelonda says before Meta House, “life was horrible. I was lost, hungry, homeless and pregnant with a desire to get clean and stay clean.” Read her story here.
Renee’s Story – Stepping into the Light
This film was shown at A Day for Meta House 2015.
Melanie never knew her father and her mother had substance abuse problems. When she was 18 months old, she was taken away from her mother. She was brought to a foster home in Hales Corners on Christmas Eve. Her foster parents called her their, “Christmas Angel.” Read more…
Robyn grew up an inquisitive, happy and spirited child. She learned early on, though, that asking questions about her parents’ addiction was unacceptable. At a very young age, Robyn learned to quickly adapt to her volatile home situation – at times, it was a peaceful, quiet retreat conducive to family bonding and her studies, while at other times, it was unpredictable and chaotic, wrought with alcohol-fueled anger. Read more…
Jean’s Story – The Ripple Effect of Recovery
Jean came to Meta House shortly after her husband passed away from the effects of alcoholism. Her family, fearful that they would also lose her to the same disease, wanted to give Jean a second chance at life. This uplifting story was shown at the 2014 A Day for Meta House event.
Since 1963, Meta House has been helping women with addiction reclaim their lives and rebuild their families. This video highlights milestones in Meta House’s history, recognizes the generous donors who make our work possible and pays tribute to the courageous women who have reclaimed their lives from addiction. Enjoy!
Martina came to Meta House after her addiction left her homeless and unable to care for her daughter. Martina was diligent about following her treatment program and was able to recover and reunite with her daughter. Their inspiring story was shown at A Day for Meta House 2013.
Pam came to Meta House pregnant and in the grips of her addiction. She felt that, because of her addiction, she was unable to be a good mother to her daughter and son. Through Meta House’s holistic program, she was able to overcome her addiction, give birth to a healthy baby, and become a better mother to all of her children.
The first time Latanya asked for help was after nearly being killed in a hotel room by a married man who was going to pay her for sex so that she could afford more cocaine. She couldn’t go through with her end of the bargain, and, during the altercation she prayed to God to help her get out of the situation. Latanya managed to escape, ran down the street and flagged down the nearest police officer. “It was the first time I remember ever asking for help,” she relates.
Latanya did not come from a bad family. The baby out of 6 children, her mother was a teacher and her father a correctional officer. She grew up with discipline and support, graduated high school, and moved out on her own. She remembers distinctly her mom’s warning about her new neighbor. “She said ‘I don’t know what it is about that girl, but I don’t like her,’” Latanya recalls, “What my mother sensed was that this girl was an addict.” Read more…
Robin begins her story by explaining, “I come from a broken home. My father was an addict and I grew up with a lot of emotional baggage.” Her father abused her mother, who eventually left the family when Robin was 14. Robin is the second of eight children, and when her father spent all of the family’s money on himself then 14-year old Robin started stealing to feed her younger siblings. At the same time, Robin began smoking marijuana as a means to cope with her home life.
Robin got into a relationship with a man when she was 18, who offered her a place to live, food, and care. She had a baby girl the next year, and also became a licensed foster home to take in her younger siblings. When this man started abusing her and taking her money, Robin was scared to leave him for fear of losing her siblings. Read more…
“I wanted to know why my mother couldn’t stop – what made the drugs more important than the family?” Arielle was surrounded by drugs, and even though she struggled with her mother’s addiction to heroin and crack cocaine, when she was 14 she started smoking marijuana and drinking alcohol, and began smoking crack cocaine at 18.
During her first pregnancy, Arielle tried to quit using crack cocaine. She even entered a treatment program, but ended up leaving and smoking crack during the pregnancy. When her daughter, Darielle, was born cocaine-positive, Child Protective Services took her away. It was at this point that Arielle says, “It hit me that I had a problem. I was depressed because I wanted my baby but I couldn’t have her with me because I was using drugs. I wanted to stop but didn’t know how.” Read more…