My name is Dominique, and I am a woman in long-term recovery from SUD, and what that means to me is that I get to live a full and self-directed life today. I have been on this journey to recovery since 2014 and have sustained my recovery since Jan 4, 2018. It has been my experience that my kids couldn’t keep me sober. As much as I thought I was keeping it together, being a single mom, working, going to school, and thought I was managing well until I couldn’t anymore. In 2014 began a series of dependency and neglect cases with DHS and through that, no matter how many programs the Courts put me through, I just could stop using drugs, thus ultimately losing my rights to one of my children. In 2016, just after losing my rights to my daughter, I discovered I was pregnant again facing the same disaster. I was 32 years old, riddled with a violent heroin addiction thus leading to the premature birth of my son. He was immediately placed in foster care and in the NICU unit for 4 months.
Again, I just couldn’t stop using it, no matter how much I wanted to, I couldn’t. I had a DHS worker, hospital staff, and family members that stigmatized me as a drug user and a deadbeat mom. At one point, I was participating in MAT services through a suboxone clinic and the DHS staff was not familiar with the benefits of MAT. They considered my use of MAT addictive behavior as well and I was not supported. Shortly later, in 2018 I was arrested for a final time. And that’s when it all changed for me. It was probably the 30th time I had been incarcerated and at this point, I had enough. When in jail, I attended my DHS hearings with a concern that my parental rights for my son would be terminated due to State guidelines for permanency placement for children under the age of one.
I was released into a sober living program and participated in drug court. I became willing and open, and after several months separated from the lifestyle and substances, I finally had some Hope. Upon release, there was no stopping me, I knew where I needed to go from my previous experiences, and I immediately plugged into the local 12-Step Fellowship, became a member of my church again, and got involved in a sober active community, The Phoenix. I took it one day at a time, I showed up, I remained disciplined and willing to do whatever too to not go back to the hell I was living, and I surrounded myself with other people who were just like me in the recovery community. I found myself using MAT services again in the 1st year of my recovery. My DHS case was in Larimer County, where my son was born and where he resided with his foster family. I didn’t have a license at the time, so I used public transportation every Saturday to travel to Ft Collins to see my son for 2 hours and make it back to the Springs on time for curfew at my sober living. My son was then placed with my mom in Arizona, I traveled to Arizona once a month to go pick him up, fly him to Colorado and do my overnight visits. I did this process for nearly 10 months and in February 2019, I was granted placement of my son. In May 2019, I was awarded full and permanent custody of my son.
The road of repair was not easy, but it was possible. I faced my mistakes, I made amends to my family and yes it seemed impossible at the time but I had rooted myself in the Recovery Community and had so much support whispering, “Just keep going,” “one day at a time,” and as long as I didn’t use one day at a time, I had a fighting chance at being the Mom I was created to be. I was able to face the world, and my problems and overcome them. I had already been through the worse, so knowing that I had been able to get sober fueled my motivation and commitment.
Today, I have two of my three children in my life, and while yes I still do not get to communicate with my second daughter, I am constantly reminded by those who came before me that I needed to remove the word “never” from my speech and remain hopeful that so long as I remain in recovery when the time is right, I will be reunited with my second daughter.
I work as the Director of Programs at SRC, I am rooted in my faith and still participate in fellowships of the local recovery community. It has not been easy by any means, but it has been WORTH IT! I am an active mom today, I show up and I am present, something that was never possible before. My children get a Mom today, and that by far is the greatest gift of my recovery.