My Name is Heidi, I am 43 years and a single mother to a 9-year-old boy named Rocco.
I arrived to Westminster House in April 2011 and have been clean ever since the day I arrived – April 22, 2011. When I arrived at their doors I was broken in so many forms. I had temporarily lost all rights to my son. I was addicted to prescription drugs, street drugs and alcohol. I had many concurrent disorders that did not allow me to function properly in society, work to my potential or to be a mom to Rocco. I would have to use something just to get out of bed and out the door and face the World and myself.
When I arrived to the doors of Westminster House I immediately felt like my stories and experiences were safe. I learned how to open up talk about my struggles without judgement. I liked that a few of the staff members shared their experiences with me as moms to their own kids while in addiction through their recovery. Westminster House allowed me to be a functioning abstinent addict and to tend to myself and my needs to grow. They were different than other houses because they also taught me how to be a mom, they allowed me to bring my son there for overnights and I knew it was a safe, clean and healthy place for Rocco to be with the clients and even other kids.
One of the greatest gifts of being a client of Westminster house was that I got to meet other moms and dads in the community and build a support group of support to help raise my child. I sourced out people who I could openly share my struggles as a mom and as an addict and not be shamed or judged. I still highly count on this same support group I built today. I could NOT do this alone. I was taught to ask for help and share responsibilities with others like me.
When I came into treatment I can still to this day say I got clean for my son. I knew he deserved a mom that was present in his life. I can still say today that I remain clean for us both. We are a team. He deserves much, but… it is the simple things I know he deserves the most. He learns from watching me, not but what I tell him. He has learned that it is ok to have good days and bad days. I have taught him to speak about his feelings and his struggles. There is a true gift in being an addict in that we are humble walkers in a life full of gratitude.
While I worked on myself during treatment, when I first came in I was horrified thinking ‘my son needs me’ ‘I can’t leave him’ what I learned was that my time in treatment was so short for the long term solution which is the rest of our lives living together clean and sober. He did in fact need me, but he was at high risk being in my care while I used drugs. I know for sure till this day I could never have gotten clean without a treatment center. They taught me how to work on all my defects of character and how to take care for myself first before my son and others. I have learned that I do not own my son, he is his own identity and I am there to help him mold into his own little being. I have learned that I have to be part of my son’s dad’s life as a team and not to pass judgement on his choices or our differences. This in turn teaches Rocco how to love know matter what.
Today almost 5 years clean I have a successful business as a freelance graphic designer, I own my own recovery clothing business called Addictive Designs, I sponsor women, I do service work and I support other moms in recovery. My most important job is showing up clean and as an active participant in Rocco’s life by being a healthy mom and roll model to him today. I would not change one moment of my treatment time at Westminster House at the start of my recovery. A true foundation was formed for the rest of our lives thanks to the staff and team and clients there.