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“My entire mindset finally changed”

At the Mother’s Day Celebration, Alexis was one of two residents from our family center who spoke about their experiences in treatment. Alexis is in treatment with her four-year-old daughter.

Good morning, my name is Alexis. I’m 32 years old and mother to 4-year-old Penelope. This is my second attempt at finding recovery at Odyssey House. When I arrived in 2020, I was here to appease my family. So I left early, and struggled with my demons for the next 3 years.

When I left, I was abusing pain medication. By the time I made it back in January 2023, my addiction had escalated to fentanyl. I initially came in this time without my daughter and with the intention of leaving prematurely again.

Mom and daughter

However, the pain of being away from each other brought on the realization of how painful it would really be if she was permanently removed from my life. Having a clearer mind and hearing the pain in her voice over the phone had me questioning how I could ever have run the risk of leaving her to grow up without me. My entire mindset finally changed and I chose not only to stay but to bring her over to GRCR and rebuild our relationship and the trust between us.

Before my addiction began, I earned my bachelor’s in psychology from Hunter College with the hopes of helping people one day, specifically children. I had plans to get my RN to work in pediatric psych nursing. After finding out I was pregnant, I put that plan on hold and became an EMT, working primarily in the South Bronx. As I began fading into the grips of addiction, I threw away my plans completely and became less than half of the mother my daughter deserved.

I was always running around in circles trying to save other people but could never figure out how to save myself. Making the decision to come back to Odyssey House ended up being my first step in salvation. The staff, clinical team, and peer support here has been everything I’ve needed to rediscover the path I deviated from all those years ago.

This program has started to slowly chisel away at the wall I built around myself that kept me isolated from the world I belong in. I am finally coming face to face with my trauma. Instead of numbing my pain and pretending parts of my past did not happen, I am learning acceptance and how to forgive myself. I’m learning how to cut ties with the generational chains of addiction and trauma so that my daughter never has to feel those shackles weighing down on her soul.

I have learned coping skills here that not only benefit me, but are benefitting my daughter after the trauma we’ve been through together. Penelope is the epitome of unconditional love and loyalty in my life. She has never given up on me or stopped loving me no matter what. Odyssey House has given me the strength to be the mother this little girl has always deserved and needed.

Coming back to Odyssey House taught me that I was never alone. My addiction made me believe I was and that I deserved to be. Allowing myself to open up to all the support I’ve received these past four months has helped me understand that if I am anything, I am worthy. I am worthy of this second chance. I am worthy of love. I am worthy of motherhood. I am worthy of recovery. I am worthy of this life. And I will never allow addiction to take this from me again.

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