Marie, 34, will graduate May 13th, from the year-long program at Adult & Teen Challenge Ohio Valley/Hope Counseling. She plans to enter a sober living house in Cleveland, her hometown, and that facility will help her find a job and a place to live. She dreams of being a chef.
Marie came to ATCOV/Hope Counseling after attempts on her own to stop using drugs failed. “I was just tired of using drugs and not taking care of myself so I decided to finally get help,” she said. Marie called a couple of places and found that ATCOV had space available.
She started using drugs at 16, starting with marijuana, moving on to pills and eventually crack cocaine. “I met a guy and I fell madly in love with him and I wanted to feel everything he felt and from that day forward, I was off and running,” Marie said.
Before getting help, Marie was in a dark place. “I was in a downward spiral,” she said. “I was about to kill myself. I just didn’t want to live any more, but I knew I had four kids. That’s the only reason I’m still standing on this earth, because I have four kids.” Her children are 19, 13, 9 and 8.
On May 7, 2022 while sleeping at a crack house, Marie had a dream about her mother who died in 2017. The two were very close. “In the dream, she told me to go home,” she said. “That morning, I woke up and called my sister to come get me.”
A year later, Marie’s life is nearly unrecognizable from what it was that day. “It’s great,” she said. “I restored my family. I’m getting my kids back. I’m being the mother that they never had.”
Her sisters had taken Marie’s children when they were younger because of Marie’s drug use so she didn’t really have a relationship with the children before entering ATCOV.
“It’s basically a whole new life,” she said. “My kids want me in their life. My son he said even though I wasn’t there for him, I’m still his mother and he’s always going to love me. And that was when I first got here and now me and my son’s bond is so strong.” And her sister is her best friend.
Marie believes the program worked for her is because before she didn’t know God. “At one point I hated God,” she said. “I’m not going to lie, I hated him. He took my mother and he took my niece at the same time and I didn’t want anything to do with him,” she said. Through counseling, she’s been able to work on her problems and release them.
Now Marie has a strong relationship with God. “I talk to that man every day,” she said. “We have whole conversations. At first, I couldn’t even talk to him. Now I talk to him about everything.”