My name is Maloree Capps, and I am 29 years old. During my early 20s I struggled with addiction and the lifestyle that came with it. After many rehabs, halfway-houses, and programs, I decided to move to Wilmington to find success.
After moving in 2015, I started cosmetology school. I still struggled being by myself. I stayed in a halfway house for about 9 months then got my own townhouse. I graduated from cosmetology school in 2017 and found out I was pregnant with my first baby. This was an extremely hard time for me. I was not happy with the father of my baby. I wanted out but was afraid to reach for help. This ended up becoming a trigger for me as my anxiety took its toll and I ended up back where I started. I lost everything, even my daughter to DSS, and ended up with a DUI and in jail for 6 weeks.
I am so grateful for this last experience because it led me to new beginnings. I have always loved the quote “When one door closes another one opens”. After getting out of jail I moved into LINC, a transitional living facility for those who have been incarcerated.While living there, I learned about kratom and began using that to cope with the unfamiliarity of my life at that point. I began seeing a great guy and it was not long before I found myself pregnant again.
I found out about Tides from another woman at LINC who was in the program. I met with Debbie, told her my story, and was accepted into the program. The first thing they did was wean me off of kratom and put me on a medication assisted treatment program.
So here I found myself in the Tides program with a new pregnancy, and a new partner in life. I was so scared and had no idea where it would take me or if it was even a good idea. I did not even know if I wanted another baby at the time. But, meeting Debbie and a couple other ladies in the Tides program inspired me tremendously to keep pushing forward and that this was God’s plan for me.
During my time in Tides, I continued to work my DSS plan to regain custody of my first daughter. I completed parenting classes and a 12-week SAIOP specifically for mama’s and babies. I got my job back in a hair salon and completed the LINC program and found my own apartment. I had my second daughter in October. Also, I am happy to say that I completed my DSS plan for my first daughter and was given back full custody of her in the same month!
All of these things happened so fast! I was so busy, and the women of Tides helped me stay grounded. We would meet for lunch and catch-up. Tides would help me with rides to get places. Simply, the Tides program pushed me to do what I knew I was capable of doing. I loved attending the mama baby IOP group with the ladies in Tides because it gave me the opportunity to share my experience and give others inspiration who had not made it as far as I had at that point.
Now only a year and a half later, we bought a home and I am able to stay home with my two girls who are growing and active. I have graduated from the Tides program but am still active in my recovery. I do sessions with a therapist I discovered while doing the SAIOP classes. My fiancé works and that is how we manage financially. When our girls get a little older and we are past Covid-19, I will return to cutting hair. I am so grateful I met him when I did because we have been so good together. I am so happy for all these experiences that have made me who I am today.
“Recovery is not a destination. It is a choice of uncertainty and a lifelong process that is not only possible, but BEAUTIFUL and worth every difficult step along the way.”
(Permission given to republish from a Facebook post on October 15, 2021)
I drove myself to the hospital feeling alone, terrified, and completely hopeless, in a car that I had called “home” for the past few months with nothing left to lose. When I got into my antepartum room to begin awaiting my c-section scheduled for the following morning, I finally had my first look into a mirror in what had felt like forever. I couldn’t even recognize the person staring back at me. I cried.
I didn’t know the gender, let alone the health of the baby inside me – No prenatal care whatsoever. All I knew was that I had refused to let myself get attached to the pregnancy, knowing the drugs I used to numb myself every day were all gone, and I wouldn’t be able to handle the regret, disappointment & disgust in myself when it came time for them to take the baby away from me. I didn’t (and still don’t) know why, but this particular day, I was ready to lay it down for good – the drugs, the lies, the lifestyle, the excuses – all of it.
I delivered a healthy 7lb 1oz baby girl at 10:22am on November 10, 2018. She was perfect. I called her, “Nova.”
“Nova – “new,” stemming from the Latin word “novus” …It is also the name given to a star that beams with sudden and increasing brightness after exploding with a burst of energy.” I knew the name was beautiful but at the time, what I didn’t know, is just how fitting of a name it would turn out to be for her.
3 days postpartum I was ordered to court, and the state of North Carolina took legal custody of my baby girl. Nova wasn’t cleared to leave the hospital quite yet, for obvious reasons, but the social worker and nurses did allow me to stay and nest in the hospital room with her until she’d be determined healthy enough to leave. Thinking back now, I must have held that baby non-stop for days. I didn’t eat, I didn’t sleep, I didn’t shower, (not that I had been doing much of any of those things prior to the hospital, anyways) I just gazed at this beautiful baby that could somehow make me forget what a horrible mess of a situation I was in. A feeling far better than any drug ever gave me.
Nova was released from the hospital the day after Thanksgiving. I placed her teeny-tiny body into the infant carrier/car seat my parents had rushed out and bought for her along with some other basic essentials since I had literally nothing for a baby. Reality set in as I carried my newborn to another woman’s car, kissed her goodbye, not knowing when or if I’d see her again, and watched them drive away.
My heart sank and I felt ill. The judge had no choice but to place Nova in foster care due to us not having family living within the state and therefore ruling out kinship as an option – where a family member or relative takes temporary custody. I was scheduled to appear back in court 3 days later in hopes that by then, I would have somewhere to stay in NC. During our time in the hospital together I had inquired and gotten accepted into the Tides program. Due to the organization being so brand new, their residential housing wasn’t quite ready yet. But they still found me somewhere to stay, which was LINC, so I didn’t have to go back to Maryland and leave my daughter behind. They also would allow Nova to stay with me there if the judge agreed to it.
A few days later I went to court, and with the help of the woman whom I call my guardian angel, the judge did, in-fact, allow my baby girl to join me on the conditions that we would be under 24/7 supervision. We were not to be alone together or to go anywhere without a staff member or DSS case worker present. I didn’t care in the least bit. I was just over-the-moon to have her back in my arms again after the longest 4 days of my life without her – but with all the hard work laid out for me, it was just the beginning.
Over the course of a year and a half I went through the phases of my residential programs. I worked my DSS case plan and managed to stay clean & sober. I met my very best friend, Andrew, who changed mine and Nova’s lives for the better in countless ways. He became our biggest supporter. I never would have guessed before getting clean that he’d one day become my loving fiancé and the greatest father to BOTH of our little girls. To say he is loved would be an understatement.
I had court every few months for the judge to check in and see how we were both doing. I was eventually given 4 hours of unsupervised time each week with Nova which meant I could go off-site with her. I remember the day I finally got to take my own daughter out for a walk in her stroller for the very first time. Andrew came along with us and it was such a great feeling. Even if only for a short period of time, someone actually trusted me! And I hadn’t been able to say that in years! Gradually, my unsupervised 4 hours a week increased to 8, then 12 and so on and so forth…
This memory I’m sharing was a huge turning point in recovery for me. It was one of the greatest moments of my life and that feeling still stands today whenever I think about it. I went into court just like I had so many times before, prepared to ask for a whole, unsupervised weekend every few months. I wanted permission to take Nova with me to Maryland for a visit with our family since at the time, I wasn’t allowed to cross state lines with her and most of my extended family hadn’t even met her yet – So as you can imagine it was a hugely pleasant surprise when the judge says, “I’ll do you one better. I’m going to grant you full legal & physical custody and close your case. You’ve done a great job and it’s been a pleasure to see the broken person who first entered this court room a year ago, evolve into the great, loving mother I see here in front of me today. Congratulations.”
Wow, Finally! The words I had waited SO long to hear had just been said and to be honest, I couldn’t even process or believe it. I turned around to pick up Nova who was sitting on my guardian angel’s lap behind me and I put my arms around her, laid my head on hers, let out a huge sigh of relief and then I just cried. There were so many people whispering to me, “Congrats!” “Congratulations!” “Good for you!” one after the next as I walked down the middle aisle of strangers to the exit at the back of the courtroom. But all I could do was hold my baby close and hysterically cry tears of joy. For at last, she was finally mine, once again.
I had heard so many horror stories since falling into the grips of addiction. Stories about women’s DSS cases taking years and years to be closed, if at all, mothers being stripped of their parental rights, and babies being adopted out to other families when a mother took too long to complete her case plan. Even though I felt healthy and free, having gotten sober, and I had worked my entire case plan as well as never missing or failing a single drug screen, I always kept it in the back of my mind that at any moment my sweet baby girl could be snatched away from me again and placed in foster care for even the tiniest mistake. I never took for granted even a single day that I spent with Nova due to the overwhelming fear that my time with her could have come abruptly to an end at any moment. I’m glad it didn’t.
Today I don’t have to live in fear anymore, but I still remember so well those days that I did and because of that, I am always and forever grateful for my many blessings on even my most difficult days. Today, Nova is almost 3 years old, which means I’m almost 3 years free of active drug addiction and we are both thriving. Nova became my glimpse of light in total darkness, and my reason to go on when I couldn’t find the love, strength, or courage to live for myself.
Today, because of Nova as well as Andrew, Tides, LINC, Beth, Ashley, my family & all the individuals who make up my entire support system that never gave up on me, (you know who you are ), and of course, God, I have rebuilt myself and my life from the ground-up. I am incredibly close to having at least partial custody back of my son which I thought would never happen and I get to be present every day as a better [sober] mother to BOTH of my little girls. I get to work a job I love, for a nonprofit that not only allows me to give back to the recovery community but also lets me assist & speak to women who are oftentimes in the same scary place I was, just 3 short years ago.
Oh! And remember that guardian angel I mentioned earlier? – We’re still very close. Debbie is still looking out for me, helping me in any way she can, constantly teaching me new things about the world, about myself, and about life. The only thing that’s changed is that today, I’m lucky enough to be able to refer to her as my boss now, too! How many people get the chance to say they work for an organization that truly saved their life?! – I’m positive it’s not many!
Recovery is not a destination. It is a choice of uncertainty and a lifelong process that is not only possible, but BEAUTIFUL and worth every difficult step along the way. Although I’m not, (and never will be) perfect, my life is perfect for me. It’s more than I ever dreamed it could be so I can’t wait to see what the rest of life, and God has in store for my family & I.
If you’re someone still struggling in active addiction, don’t let the fear of the unknown hold you back from opening new doors – because you may just find everything you’ve ever wanted on the other side.
I would like to share with you how the Tides program in Wilmington changed my life, and the lives of my husband and my children. I am a 32 year old mother of four that has dealt with addiction, postpartum depression, and depression for all of my adult life.
In 2019, I found myself pregnant and addicted to opiates. Because of the stigma surrounding opiate abuse and pregnancy, I was too afraid to even go to the doctor. I found out about the Tides program after going to the ER for pregnancy related issues. Within a week, I met with Debbie Kinsey and was admitted to the program. She helped me set up an appointment with their OBGYN that specialized in women who were pregnant and on maintenance medication. She also helped me get connected with a mental health therapist and start their Substance Abuse Intensive Outpatient Program (SAIOP). The Tides program gave me hope and helped me to know that I was not alone. It gave me the courage to be the mother I dreamed that I could be.
After my daughter Khloe was born, I moved into the Tides apartments with my newborn and six year old son. During my time there they helped me enroll my son in kindergarten while I cared for my newborn daughter. I also completed SAIOP, job skills training, and attended three weekly recovery meetings and church. After five months, I was able to move into a new apartment with my husband and our eight year old daughter.
The staff of the Tides program helped me rebuild my marriage and relationships with my children, while teaching me that I was capable of being a good mother and wife. The person I am today, I truly owe to Tides. They were there for me during a time when I had no one else. Tides helped build the foundation of the person I am today. Although I have graduated from the program, they are going to be a part of my life forever.
“Looking back, I realize now that being pregnant and broken was exactly where I needed to be for Tides to help me change my life.”
My name is Ashley Brownson, and I am 33 years old. My first encounter with drugs was smoking marijuana and drinking alcohol at age 16. At 18, I started abusing pain pills, Adderall and sleeping pills. When I was 21, I was introduced to cocaine, bath salts, and heroin, which I used all day… every day. Soon after, I began using needles to inject the drugs. I was no longer in control of my life …. the drugs were in control.
My drug use continued for the next 12 years. During that time, I overdosed 4 times, was homeless multiple times, lost all meaningful connections with my family and was repeatedly beaten by my drug addict boyfriend (sometimes to near death).
I attempted to get help multiple times and went 3 times to an inpatient rehab facility and numerous times at different outpatient facilities. The money for my addiction came from shoplifting and stealing from anyone I could…. including my family.
I was arrested 5 times, with the last arrest on April 1, 2019. That time, I spent 42 days in jail and I was 3 months pregnant. I was desperate for help and didn’t know where to turn. Above all, I did not want to lose my baby. My mom was my advocate and she found the Tides program.
The first time I met Debbie was when I was in jail. I was truly broken and ready to change. Looking back, I realize now that being pregnant and broken was exactly where I needed to be for Tides to help me change my life.
When I started the program, I was overwhelmed. I didn’t know if I could follow all the rules, stay clean and learn to be a good person – not to mention a good mom. My biggest challenge at Tides was learning to trust the staff and let my guard down. I also struggled with being accountable for my actions and living in such a structured environment.
At Tides, I was required to attend outpatient treatment, recovery meetings, church functions, counseling, and job training classes. Not too long after I came into the program, I broke the rules…not one rule but quite a few. I had several meetings with Debbie and although she was tough on me, she showed me a huge amount of love and understanding and did not judge me. This was a turning point for me. From that point on, I really started opening up to the Tides staff and their support changed my life. I was becoming the person I was always meant to be.
When my daughter Avery was born, I was terrified to leave the hospital with a newborn baby but I knew I was going home to a community of women who were like family to Avery and I. For quite a while after we left the hospital, I was still scared that I would not be good enough. But with the support of everyone at Tides, I was learning to be a confident and capable mom.
After Avery was born, I figured out that part of being in Tides meant learning how to be a functioning adult. Tides helped me stay focused on finding a job and budgeting money. The staff at Tides helped prepare me for my role as a single, working mom.
Since graduating from Tides Avery and I moved back home with my parents. I am working 4 days a week and saving most of my money except for our expenses. I am close to getting my driver’s license and a car of my own. My daughter just turned one and is happy, healthy and thriving.
Because of the guidance I received at Tides and being given one more chance, I have become a well-rounded adult and a loving, capable mom. Without Tides I would still be lost in addiction and I would not have my daughter here with me today.
“I will never be able to repay this program for all its generosity and support, but I do know that I will forever be telling anyone who will listen about this wonderful place called “Tides”.”
This is written by Maleta, a current participant in the Tides program.
Maleta lived as a resident at Tides’ residential facility for 9 months and now lives on her own with her baby. She is set to graduate the Tides program next month.
Maleta came into the program very reserved, closed off and with walls built very high around her. She is such a different woman today and we could not be more proud of the woman she has become.
How do I even begin this letter of gratitude?
Being a part of this program has been such a beautiful experience. Humbling and educational. I don’t know how to express how thankful I am for this program and all the wonderful people who have helped me along my journey of motherhood.
Becoming a mother is my greatest accomplishment and without the help of the Tides program I would not be the confident and well-rounded mother I am now. With the help from this program, and the recovery support I’ve continued to build, I have been able to achieve eighteen months sober, the longest clean time I have ever had.
Knowing that if I was in active addiction none of this would be possible, I continue to work with my sponsor, stay active in meetings, and build my relationship with God. I attended all of my prenatal appointments and completed all recommended and required courses for the program. I’ve complied with staff directions and even built a relationship with staff, which I was not expecting to like but I actually do.
My communication skills and being able to open up about my feelings is slowly becoming easier. This month, I will start my second semester at Cape Fear Community College working towards my degree in Science.
It was such an eye-opening experience to be around like-minded women all suffering from the same disease but striving every day to have the upper hand. The women I was surrounded by are strong, beautiful, capable mothers who have been through things most people do not recover from.
They all chose to be in the Tides program, and each had a role in my time there. Tides helped me rebuild my life and relationships that I thought were unmendable. My support system has grown and the relationships I have with my parents has come so far! They showed me love and gave me resources to people who care so much about the women and children of Wilmington.
The doors of opportunity were opened all around me once I became part of this program. The idea of being a mother was overwhelming to me when I first found out I was pregnant but through the help of Tides and their huge community of friends, doctors, staff, and church, becoming a mother is the best thing I have ever done.
I will never be able to repay this program for all its generosity and support, but I do know that I will forever be telling anyone who will listen about this wonderful place called “Tides”. To plant the seed in someone else’s ear who may know a young lady lost, broken, and carrying the gift of life who just needs what Tides has to offer. I hope she will have the same experience I did.
This program changes lives!
“I have plenty I still want to accomplish and one thing this program taught me, was to continue setting realistic goals for myself and reaching them.”
I got so mad at my dad for taking this picture. But now that I’m in recovery, being able to look back and see myself like that!?…I’m glad he took it. Every time any thought of doing drugs cross my mind… I look at this picture and remind myself to never go down that path again.
My name is Camie Smith, and I am 32 years old. I started smoking weed and drinking at the age of 12. By the time I was 14, I was doing several street drugs recreationally. I smoked weed daily, drank on the weekends, and did cocaine and ecstasy with friends. I continued that cycle until I was 19 and found out I was pregnant with my first daughter. I didn’t do any drug’s during that pregnancy.
I found out I was pregnant with my second daughter at 22. At that time, I was prescribed Xanax and took them my entire pregnancy. My labor and delivery were difficult, and I broke my tailbone. I was given Percocet and that started my addiction to pain medication.
I continued to take pain medication with Xanax for a year before the doctor stopped prescribing them, without warning or weaning me off. I started buying it on the streets. I bought any kind of pain medication I could find to prevent myself from getting sick and because I loved the feeling it gave me. I continued this for 4 years until my little sister, who was 25 years old at the time, died from a heroin overdose. That’s when I chose to change my life. For myself and for my 2 beautiful daughters.
But February 14th 2021, I relapsed again. It was my sister’s birthday; I had just gotten off work and it was raining. I just remember feeling truly alone and just wanting to talk to my little sister. I knew what I was about to do. I took my daughters to their father’s house, cut my phone off and went to meet my drug dealer. I got a hotel room for the night and used heroin and molly for the first time; I even used intravenously.
That was my downward spiral. I started using crack, cocaine, methamphetamines, molly, pain medication, Fentanyl, Xanax bars and basically everything but heroin, daily. I was arrested numerous times and got multiple charges. Including felony cocaine possession, possession of marijuana, marijuana paraphernalia and drug paraphernalia. I also lost custody of my children. The only time I could see them during the DSS investigation, was during supervised visitation. I knew my place was with my children, but I also didn’t want to feel the pain and mourn my sister’s death while sober.
In July 2021, I found out I was pregnant. I knew I was a mess, and I knew I needed help, but because I was on drugs, I completely avoided going to a doctor because I was scared of what they would say. Finally in August, I had my first OB appointment. I was seen by a doctor named Denise Neal. She told me about a program for women who are pregnant or just had a child, who have an addiction. She put me in contact with the Tides program.
I was scared, anxious and worried the first time I walked into Tides. I thought I would be looked down on and treated a certain way for being a pregnant addict. But that wasn’t the case at all. I met the women in the program, and they made me feel like I was a good woman, that just needed some help, structure, and guidance. Tides set me up with their partner, Coastal Horizons to start their IOP with Sarah, 3 hours a day, 3 days a week. At first, I was inconsistent, afraid and didn’t really open up. With Tides’ help, I finally built some structure. I started taking my IOP seriously. I really wanted recovery and I was finally ready to start working through my underlying issues that contributed to my addiction. With the help of Tides and Sarah, I started doing well.
Unfortunately, I relapsed on New Year’s 2021/2022. I failed my first drug screen while being in the Tides program. When I failed, I was completely honest with all of the women I had grown to consider my support system. It melted my heart to know these women understood and were willing to help me do whatever it took, to get me back on track. I was 100% dedicated and willing to do whatever it took to give my children the mother they needed, along with giving myself the things I needed to be happy with myself.
On February 10th 2022, I gave birth to my son. Seeing him through sober eyes… That feeling, melted my heart and made me whole again. I was extremely happy to know that I was in the right state of mind and in the proper position to be the mother he and my daughters needed and deserved. I was ready to be their mother.
September 2022 marked my one year in the Tides program!! On November 23rd 2022, I graduated the Tides program and received a laptop! I’m actually writing this testimony on my laptop. Graduating the Tides program was truly an accomplishment. I had never been in a program before, so to stay in this program for over one year and actually graduate!? That is huge for me! I feel truly blessed and fortunate enough to have made it through this program and actually graduate. It was extremely hard, and it pushed me outside of my comfort zone, but in the end, it paid off. I will forever be grateful for this program!
January 3rd 2023, marks my one year of sobriety. I continue my mom’s group through Coastal Horizons along with other classes. I intend on staying involved and setting myself up for success. I am super excited for everything to come, and I have so many plans for my future.
Thanks to the Tides program, along with Coastal Horizons. I have done so many things in the past year and I am just getting started. I have plenty I still want to accomplish and one thing this program taught me, was to continue setting realistic goals for myself and reaching them. I am humble and truly grateful for the Tides program and Coastal Horizons for my success and continued efforts in my recovery. Thank you, Debbie, and thank you Tides for EVERYTHING. I would not be the strong, resilient, passionate, graceful woman I am today if it weren’t for this program. I will forever be grateful. – Camie Smith
“I was given everything I needed to care for my daughter; a safe place to stay, diapers and clothes if needed, and emotional support.”
My name is Meagan Roy, and I am 29 years old. The first time I used drugs I was 14. It started as fun with my friends but quickly became very serious for me. It started with pills and cocaine, but it didn’t take long before I was using a needle and doing heroin. At 15, I got into a bad car accident and failed a drug screen for every drug. While all of my friends continued to graduate and go on to college, I was battling with my addiction. I ended up dropping out of school at 16.
At 17, I was arrested which would be the first of many. I was put on probation and ended up at my first treatment center. I could not stay clean and eventually had more charges for heroin possession which led me to prison. During this stay in prison, I got my GED. Throughout my 20’s I attempted to stay clean numerous times. I changed locations and lived in halfway houses and always found myself using again after just a few months. I did manage to keep jobs and attend college while continuing to get high. I would find myself hopeless and defeated and end up back in rehab multiple times. I have also had multiple health problems from using drugs including 3 seizures from withdrawals, multiple overdoses, and blood infections.
At 27, I was introduced to meth on top of my heroin and benzodiazepine addiction. I was arrested for manufacturing and delivery of meth and spent 10 months in prison. I was released on post release and after 3 months I was back in jail for a positive drug screen, and I was 7 weeks pregnant! This was the lowest point in my life. Not only was I going back to prison, but I had no idea how I was going to care for a baby when I couldn’t even care for myself. I was terrified not knowing what the future held.
During my hearing in county jail, a police officer heard that I was pregnant and mentioned the Tides program. I had never heard of the program but held onto the hope that maybe I could get the help that I desperately needed. I had a phone interview with Debbie. She informed me of the structure and guidelines I would have to complete while attending. I was very grateful they had agreed to help me despite having concerns with my legal situation and not even being able to meet me face-to-face. I knew I had a lot to prove, not only to Tides, but my family and probation officer. I was given an amazing opportunity to have a stable, structured environment for myself and my daughter. I had a chance to build a foundation with the help of the Tides.
When I first got to Tides, I was welcomed by the women in the program and the staff. I got to hold a baby for the first time in my life and I knew it was exactly where I needed to be. The environment was very structured. We participated in weekly meetings, an intensive outpatient program, church, assignments, and we had a curfew. This gave me the opportunity to build new habits and reflect on the poor decisions I had made in the past. I learned how to be a mother and a better woman. Also, I learned how to care about myself and forgive myself in the process. The hardest part of my recovery was forgiving myself for everything that comes along with being an addict and accepting where I was in my life. I built healthy relationships with the people in the program as well as reconciled my relationships with my family.
After being in the Tides program for a week, I went to an OBGYN appointment. I was only 24 weeks and found out I was 5cm dilated. I was rushed to the hospital by the Tides staff. I had to stay in the hospital so that I wouldn’t go into labor, but a few weeks later I had an emergency c-section and Myla was born 3 months early! We had a long 3 month stay in the NICU but all of the hospital staff were so helpful and supportive. It was exhausting but the support I had was overwhelming. Tides was able to accommodate me and Myla when she was stable enough to go home but still at a critical state of needing to be on a heart monitor. I was given everything I needed to care for my daughter; a safe place to stay, diapers and clothes if needed, and emotional support.
Since being out of the residential part of the program I have gotten my driver’s license back and a car. I was recently offered a job as a general contractor’s personal assistant. This is not just any job, but a real chance to build a career for me and my daughter. A business owner actually called me because he trusted me with his money.
I have positive people in my life today who enjoy being around me and people who call me for advice. I live with my boyfriend who helps me raise my daughter and we are planning to get married. I have been able to take control of my health. I still attend therapy and NA meetings to continue my recovery. If you would have told me this would be my life while I was sitting in that jail cell pregnant, I would not have believed you. I truly believe it would not have been possible if it wasn’t for the tools I learned and the foundation that was built being a part of Tides. It changed every aspect of my life and helped shaped the woman and mother I am today.
“I am proud to call myself a mother again and my children are proud to call me Mom.”
My name is Beth Lambert and I am 40 years old. I was introduced to alcohol and marijuana at the age of 14. At 16, I started using crack cocaine and amphetamines/diet pills. I was an active user for over 25 years and although it started as recreational, it quickly became a habit and took over my life. In my late 20s, I was introduced to opioid pain medication and heroin. I stayed so high I do not remember a lot during that time.
I started stealing, prostituting, panhandling, and dealing drugs. I was arrested and in jail three times. During my addiction, both of my parents passed away, my only sibling refused to ever speak to me again, and my husband of 13 years divorced me. I have two older children; a son who is now 18 years old and a daughter who is eight. The last time they were in my custody was when he was 11 and she was a baby. Needless to say, I lost both of my children and lost all possessions. I could no longer keep a job and ruined every relationship I had. I lost my driver’s license for multiple violations and eventually for failing to appear in court for stealing from a hospital.
I made multiple attempts at sobriety and treatment, some forced, some on my own, but none lasted. In July 2019, I was in the hospital, yet again, with an ongoing health condition that had gone untreated for many years. I was 11 weeks pregnant with my third child. I was homeless, broken, lost, and very scared. I had no friends left to tell this to or share this with. I had not laid eyes on my two children in five years and none of my family would speak to me.
At the hospital, I was visited by Dr Johnstone, and he told me about the Tides program. I had never heard of a program like this and was very confused, but his non-judgmental demeanor inspired me, and I thought, “What do I have to lose?” I called Debbie, the Executive Director, and met with her straight out of the hospital. I literally had nowhere else to go and she accepted me into Tides and their residential program. I came straight from being homeless to having my new home at Tides.
At this point I was very afraid, hopeless, and thought I would be judged. I struggled to get out of the bed and function at all. I was afraid my roommate and the other women would see right through me and judge me. I was also much older than the others and thought I was the only one who had lost their children and done such horrible things in my addiction. But I learned that we all had so much in common and not only was I not judged, I was accepted, not only as a friend but as family. These women had now taken the place of the friends and family I had lost during my addiction. They became real, lasting friendships. My roommate became my best friend, and we are still best friends today. She was even in the delivery room with me and helped me so much. My baby boy, Connor was born in January 2020, and this is where everything changed for me and where it got real. Because of Tides, I not only enjoyed my pregnancy, but I was able to enjoy the birth of my third child without being messed up in addiction. This feeling was indescribable!
During my time at Tides, every basic need, that me or my baby had, was met. I was able to pick up the pieces of my life and Tides offered a safe, supportive refuge for me. I was ready for change, and this was exactly what was needed and meant to happen in my life. In the beginning, I wanted a job but had no way of getting there. Tides took care of my transportation. One of the requirements at Tides was to attend a job training program. I loved it and got a job shortly after…only 3 months before giving birth to my baby. I have now been with this job for 1.5 years and love the people I work with and the woman that I care for.
I struggled with finances, but the discipline and rules helped me pull myself together. With their help, I received Medicaid and Food & Nutrition benefits. I had multiple health issues that went untreated and Tides provided that safety net so I could take care of my health and become healthy again. I had legal issues and with time and saving my money, I paid for attorneys to settle my criminal fines and multiple traffic tickets. I am happy to say that I have my driver’s license back and bought a car. I was able to take care of them all because I was in Tides.
We were given the option to go to church and went to 828 Church on Sunday mornings. The most important thing I did was accepting Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. My life completely changed. I attended meetings, church and support groups that saved my life. I am not the same person anymore. I started caring more about myself, my health, and making real internal change.
I learned so much about myself and I love who I am now and my life. I have a strong relationship now with my 18 year old son and we talk daily. There is also a very strong possibility I will be able to see my daughter soon. My relationship with my brother has been restored and he and his family have come to visit me.
I graduated from Tides on June 1, 2021. I am proud to call myself a mother again and my children are proud to call me Mom. I am confident and I know that with God, I am strong enough. I still attend 828 and volunteer there on Sundays and a ministry called Embrace Grace. I also lead a support group once a week. Tides helped me rent an apartment and they continue to love and support me and Connor. I am taking classes to become a Certified Peer Support Specialist and give back to the program that changed my life.
“Thanks to the Tides program I have been a grateful addict in recovery for over 3 years now.“
My name is Krista Purdie. Thanks to the Tides program I have been a grateful addict in recovery for over 3 years now.
My active addiction consumed over a decade of my life. I started experimenting with drugs at an early age and in those drugs, I felt like I had found the answer to all my problems. It would instead turn out to be the ROOT of so many problems in my future. Not the cure, but the cause.
I found heroin right after my son was born when I was 21 years old. After that first use, I never stopped. It would end up taking me down a path where I would lose everything. I lost my son, my health, and my freedom.
I found myself in and out of prison and creating an extensive criminal history due to the activities I was engaging in to support my drug addiction. My IV drug use also took a toll on my health. I contracted Hepatitis C and a heart infection known as Endocarditis on four separate occasions. That would lead to me having open heart surgery to have my tricuspid valve replaced on June 8, 2021.
I was admitted into the hospital for my fourth diagnosis of Endocarditis on April 6, 2018. This is where I also found out I was 14 weeks pregnant with my daughter. I was scared, alone and I had no clue how I was going to make it through.
Shortly after my arrival, a miracle walked into my hospital room. Dr. William Johnstone Jr., the founder of the Tides program, sat at my bedside and told me about his program for pregnant women addicted to opiates and their mission. I felt like this was a program and support system made for me.
The program was in its infancy and the amazing tools and resources that they have for the women today weren’t yet available, but knowing I had the support of Dr. Johnstone and the staff, was more than I needed in the beginning of my recovery. I needed to know that someone believed in me.
I started my life in recovery as a single mom fighting to survive and trying to create a better life for my daughter and me. The Tides program helped me lay the foundation I needed to become a better mom and to become a functioning member of society.
I have since started an at-home business as an independent contractor and have created a life I never thought possible. I definitely used the resources and assistance that were made available to me in the beginning of my recovery, but I am proud to say that I am now fully supporting my daughter and myself on my own. I couldn’t be more grateful to the Tides program and all of the support they have given me over the last 3 years.
I am finally living and working towards the life I was always meant to have.