At the Mother’s Day Awards Breakfast, Norell was one of two residents from our family center who spoke about their experiences in treatment. Norell, 38, is in treatment with her 5-month-old son Jordan.
I started drinking when I was 15 years old and using marijuana when I was 17. My friends were doing it and it seemed like fun. But eventually, it became a coping mechanism for my depression and anxiety. It wasn’t long before I had damaged my relationships with people, including my parents, because of my drug use. But I continued on anyway.
After losing my job, I moved to Texas. I got married and had a daughter, who is now 2. I stopped using marijuana, though I continued drinking. After I had my daughter, I went to treatment in San Antonio and for a while, I did well – until I separated from my husband. Pregnant with my son, I moved back to New York, in need of my family’s support.
Struggling with the shelter system and my anxiety, I relapsed – after years of not using marijuana. Soon after I had Jordan and I had marijuana in my system. I felt terrible. I realized that after being so good for so long, I had risked hurting him and separating us for a single moment of weakness.
Now, with my daughter living with my father in Long Island, I am here working on my recovery. I love this process. I feel clean, like a new person. I thought I needed it, but I don’t. I’m so happy I got help, and I’m so happy I’m here. I would encourage anyone who needs help and gets the opportunity to come here, to take advantage of it.
I’ll soon complete treatment, and my children and I will move on to the next chapter of our lives. Thanks to what I learned at Odyssey House, I’m confident that our future is a bright one.