“We’re here because I needed to get my life back on track.”

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.

Mother treatmentI 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.