Carmen started finishing off her mother’s beer when she was just 5 years old. “Mom was a party-girl” who worked hard Monday-Friday and then played hard all weekend. By the time Carmen was a teen she was drinking heavily and taking drugs. She would continue this downward cycle for almost 25 more years. By the time she hit bottom, she had been living on the streets for 8 years and was freebasing crack cocaine and drinking daily.
Things slowly started to change for Carmen in the most remarkable of places - jail. Someone had slipped a bible into her cell and as she read it she realized she wanted to be different.
Soon she found her way Casa and began her recovery. At Casa she learned the 12 steps and the 12 traditions, life skills, and attended group sessions with rest of the sisters. One of these sessions ended up being the worst day of her life and the turning point in her recovery. It was there that she told the secret that she had kept for more than two decades —she had been molested at the age of nine and lost her virginity to a family member by the time she was 14. After the session a Casa staff member told her, “Carmen, you have a choice. You can hold onto that pain or you can let it go.” It made all the difference. “I didn’t know how to release that pain, but it was the first time I ever realized I had a choice.”
Her struggle for sobriety wasn’t easy. One day when she had a breaking pointing and was ready to walk out of treatment, a staff member hugged her and held her saying, “I don’t think you really want to leave.” Carmen didn’t want to leave. She completed her 90 day Residential Treatment and then spent another year at Casa in Sober Living.
Carmen has been sober for 20 years. Today she has a wonderful life and family and is about to begin a credentialing program to become an alcohol and drug counselor. Her story of survival and redemption is truly inspirational.Carmen, Alumna
Heather arrived at the doors of Casa almost a year ago to the day. She was ready for change and tired of living the lies she had been telling herself. “I had been struggling with addiction since I was twelve years old,” remembers Heather. “I had tried going to meetings only, but relapsed each time lacking the support I really needed”.
Casa gave Heather the structure and a community of support that she needed to build the foundation of her recovery process. “Step work has transformed me,” Heather says. “Learning to remain willing, accepting and teachable is challenging, but it was necessary in order for me to love myself. I realize now that recovery is a slow process, but I’m learning to take it one day at a time.”
Heather is a kind and giving spirit who is wonderful to be around. She continues to grow and support the other women who are beginning their own process. Heather plans to take her life experience back into counseling to help others on their road to recovery.
Heather is just one of the many women who have begun their life-changing experience here at Casa. We are grateful that she is part of our family here. We wish her all the best and tremendous happiness in new life of recovery.Heather, Alumna
Leslie, 50, came to Casa in 2010, homeless and suffering after 25 years of alcohol and drug abuse. She entered treatment after spending 90 days in jail. She was forced to give up her five children, was estranged from her family, and facing three years in state prison.
“I was completely defeated and broken and did not know where I would turn. My public defender had several years of sobriety and was a supporter of Casa. He told me that this program could work for me, if I was willing. Considering the alternative, which was prison, I decided to give it my best shot.”
“After about 30 days in treatment, finding a way to love myself and love others through the other women in the program, that willingness began to come naturally. I started working the steps and dove into this program of recovery as if my life depended on it, which it did.”
“Today, I am happy to say I am back at Casa, but this time, not as a resident, but as a program assistant and house manager. I also oversee one of our sober living units. Through my work in recovery I not only get to help other women to feel safe, loved and hopeful, I also get to keep my sobriety. I’m enrolled in the Drug and Alcohol Counseling program at Glendale Community College. I’ve made the dean’s list, was nominated for a scholarship and will graduate in June 2013. I am so grateful for my life and the love and support I get here at Casa. My roots are here. I owe Casa my life.Leslie K., Alumna
Morgan arrived at Casa in October 2012. She’d just turned 20 years old and alcohol had become her coping tool for dealing with the death of her father. She’d totaled her car while drinking and suffered from crippling depression. When she finally hit bottom, she asked for help and found her way to Casa. “At 19 I was severely depressed. I started drinking after school every day and it wasn’t long before I just couldn’t stop. I would hide bottles in my room, pour alcohol in my juice and drink it in front of my mother. I was so sick. I would drink alone every night and I drank to pass out. I knew I had a problem and I finally got the courage to ask for help. “When I came to Casa I was terrified. I thought I was going to come in and fix this little problem and then go back to drinking. I stayed 30 days in residential and then reluctantly moved into sober living. In sober living I realized I didn’t want to leave. The community of women were like a little family to me. I was making friends that were all trying to stay sober and I was very happy here. I offered to stay another month and then another one and now it’s going on two years. “I turned 21 in sobriety. I went to Spain last year to visit family and I stayed sober on that trip. I have a good job working as a dental assistant. My mother attends family group here and our relationship, as well as my relationship with other family members, has changed dramatically. When I was drinking, I couldn’t look in the mirror. Coming to Casa has helped me deal with my addiction, but I’ve also regained my self-esteem and confidence.”Morgan A., Alumna