Meet Emilee, our January “Mama’s in Recovery” feature story. Emilee took the time to sit down with Faces & Voices of Recovery to share a bit of her recovery journey.
Emilee, now 31 years old, began raiding her parents liquor cabinet at the age of 14. By the time she hit high school, Emilee was smoking marijuana and telling herself that she would never be one of “those people”. It wasn’t long before Emilee was introduced to ecstasy, cocaine, pills, crack, and eventually heroin. Soon she realized she was in the grips of addiction. Losing her brother in 2008 pushed Emilee to new heights and the disease of addiction quickly progressed. She found herself using everyday just to ward off the sickness and to “stay well”. To help with sickness, Emilee sought help through medication assisted treatment but because she didn’t change her lifestyle, she’d find herself right back in addiction after attempting to stop her medication. For Emilee, it was a vicious cycle and things she thought she’d never do, became a part of her story. Stripping to support her habit, things just continued to spiral. From crashing cars, to evictions, Emilee found herself homeless. It was then that she decided to seek treatment.
During treatment, Emilee sought medication again and after using this recovery path for five days it became the catalyst to her recovery journey. Emilee was exposed to a fellowship that embraced her, showering her with hugs and surrounding her with happiness but Emilee didn’t feel like she could measure up and went back to active addiction for two more months. That exposure to treatment and recovery planted a seed for Emilee and once again, she reached out for help, “I had a taste of recovery and knew it didn’t have to be this way”. Emilee hung on for two days before she was granted access to treatment and in the interim, couldn’t stop using the drugs. The day Emilee was to be admitted, the only person she could reach out to was her mother, “even though I missed her birthday and Mother’s Day, she still picked me up and took me to treatment”. Emilee embarked on the recovery journey and after three weeks of treatment along with long term residential care, she found support by transitioning into a house with others in recovery. This recovery support helped her build a foundation and Emilee finally felt like she belonged.
In and out of relationships, Emilee expressed that she was a “serial dater in the fellowship…I was never in a relationship for more than a year”. Nonetheless, Emilee stuck with her recovery journey until she found herself at a recovery picnic, sitting across the table from someone who had 5 years of recovery and no girlfriend. According to Emilee, “I used to date people new to recovery, but he had something to offer and that was attractive to me. It was the smoothest relationship I had ever been in because we were both working on our recovery”. Not too long after, Emilee found out that she was pregnant. Both her and her partner were scared but they were ready for a new journey, parenthood. Baby Cruz was a welcomed blessing. Emilee announced her pregnancy on Facebook and found that there were so many women in recovery who were also pregnant. That was the beginning of what has become, “a solid support group” for Emilee and the other mamas. “My best friends all have grown teenage children or children over the age of 8. They don’t remember what it’s like having an infant or toddler or what its like being pregnant”, Emilee stated. “I felt so alone and the mamas in recovery took me out of that state of loneliness. We talk everyday and we’ve been supporting each other for an entire year, it’s been special for all of us”. That special feeling has made Emilee’s experience as a mother a memorable one, “…it’s a scary thing and I can go to them anytime. It’s an intense support network”. Emilee expressed her gratitude for the mamas letting us know that it’s “unconditional love during a life changing event. There’s no judgment and we incorporate the mom component and the recovery component for connection”.
Emilee, we, at Faces & Voices of Recovery are so happy that you have found such an amazing connection to the mamas and are glad we have become a part of your network! You are doing amazing work as a mom in recovery and wish you, your significant other, and baby Cruz the best as you continue your journey!