Complex trauma. Assault. Homelessness. Addiction. Recovery. Relapse.
These aren’t just frightening words. They are the experiences that affected Kimberly beginning in childhood. The only girl among five children, and the oldest, Kimberly began caring for her brothers starting in their infancy. “My mom and dad weren’t around,” she recalls. Caring for younger siblings meant a permanent state of survival. It meant no time to care for herself, learn skills, or get an education. A high school dropout, like her parents before, Kimberly’s life has been marked with uncertainty, disorganization, and vulnerability, common strands that easily tangle into the chaos of addiction.
Yet, Kimberly has pressed on. Fighting her way back from a relapse and learning she was too old for the shelter where she was living, a referral to Maud’s House helped save her from the unknown.
“This is a safe space. I feel safe here.” Her daughters, born 12 months apart, are not living with her while she learns to live sober, but her phone calls to arrange a meeting with ECEAP preschool are a symbol of a mother’s love and desire to see her children succeed where she did not.
They are living with Kimberly’s mom, who is on her own path of growth, while she presses on. She has sights set on a GED, and then an ID, both necessary to get a job. In the two months at Maud’s House, words that now define Kimberly are safety, confidence, boundaries, responsibility. She has found purpose, along with support in her recovery. “Without Maud’s House, I’m not sure if I would be alive,” she states plainly. “Here is a safe refuge. And they will help you… if you help yourself.”
Looking ahead, Kimberly wants to use what she’s lived through and learned to help others who are fighting similar battles. Instead of being described as an “addict” or “survivor,” one day, she will be an “advocate” or “volunteer.” Until that day, she presses on.