Now I Know How to Live, on Life’s Terms
Jeanette’s addiction to crack cocaine almost destroyed Jeanette and her family. Child welfare services threatened to remove her children unless she entered into a drug treatment program. But child welfare services referred Jeanette to a drug treatment for single adults—not for parents and their children. Jeanette was forced to leave her children under the care of their grandmother.
Jeanette attended the program, but she couldn’t stay clean. She quickly relapsed to using again and child welfare again sought to remove her children. This time, Jeanette asked to be placed in a treatment program for families, where she could be with other women who were parenting, and where she could be with her children. After weeks of waiting, Jeanette entered an outpatient, 18-month-long family treatment program.
Jeanette relapsed after she started the family program. But she quickly returned. “I had to go back to the family treatment program because I met these sisters who had real recovery time—a year or more—and they inspired me. I went back because of them, of what they showed me could be possible.”
Once she returned to the family treatment program Jeanette never used again.
“I kept coming back. I kept coming back and talking about what was going on with me. I learned to admit that I didn’t have control over my disease and I needed help. I couldn’t control my addiction, it controlled me. So when everything hit the fan, I used. I used to my feelings. But now I know how to live, on life’s terms.”
Jeanette was successful in family treatment because she had the chance to heal as a parent and to give her children a chance to heal with her.
For 18 months Jeanette did the hard work of excavating the feelings that she had suppressed for so long. “I never reconciled those feelings of loss, sexual abuse, death. Treatment taught me how to work through feelings, to talk about it, resolve it.”
As part of her treatment process, Jeanette attended a 6-month course in phlebotomy at Georgetown University Hospital. She became a certified phlebotomist and Georgetown hired her.
Jeanette now celebrates four years of living clean and sober. She has been a phlebotomist at Georgetown Hospital for the last two years where she also trains medical school students and clinical technicians. Her family is stable; she is active in the health and well-being of her children. “Life is blessed.”
Hello my name is Jeanette Williams.
I am 39. I am a mother of 6 children who survived my addiction to drugs for over 30 years. I have completed an 18-month family program that taught me how to have faith and live again.
I am now 4 years clean and sober and a certified phlebotomist. I train medical students and clinicians. I have all my children with me and we reside in a brand new 4 bedroom house.
I can now call myself a parent today because when I am in recovery my children are too. I participate in my children’s school. I take one day at a time.
I just thank God each and everyday for allowing me a second chance.