Last December, Cheryl was homeless and struggling with opioid addiction. And most painfully, she had lost custody of her 7-year-old daughter Lilly, forbidden even from calling her to wish her Merry Christmas and to say, “I love you.”
A lot can happen in a year. Today, Cheryl is in recovery, has stable housing, and is working hard to regain full custody of Lilly. And she’s counting the days until the pair take a Christmas eve train ride to New Hampshire’s “North Pole” on the Polar Express, bake cookies for Santa, have a sleepover, then open presents and eat brunch with Lilly’s grandparents.
Cheryl has been successful in recovery from opioid use disorder since January 2016, thanks in part to the care and support of our staff at BHCHP. And it’s because of you, our generous supporters, that we are able to treat this devastating disease— for Cheryl and thousands of vulnerable patients like her.
When Cheryl first came to us for help with her substance use disorder in September 2015, our staff worked tirelessly to find her a bed in a detoxification program. Once she completed that program, she became a patient in our Office-Based Addiction Treatment Program, where she receives Suboxone, a medication assisted therapy, coupled with intensive counseling to address her trauma and prevent relapse.
“I’ve been able to maintain my recovery thanks to my wonderful team at BHCHP,” says Cheryl, who plans to begin a training program in 2017 to become an addiction counselor. She’s grateful that BHCHP staff never gave up on her, even in the early days, when she struggled to maintain sobriety. And BHCHP’s support went beyond medication and counseling. She often talks about the time a clinic staff member accompanied her to a custody hearing to lend support, when she had no one else.
Like many of our patients who struggle with opioid use disorder, Cheryl’s life has been filled with violence, loss and sadness. She grew up in the suburbs, and her father physically and emotionally abused her and her mother. With the help of a domestic violence organization, her mother finally left him when Cheryl was 13. But the trauma left enduring scars. She lost a sister to a drug overdose and continues to worry constantly about her youngest sister who is homeless and also suffering from substance use disorder.
But for now, Cheryl is deeply grateful for the help she received from BHCHP. She is focused on the holidays and making the day special for her daughter, the apple of her eye. “Lilly still believes in Santa and I’m so grateful my BHCHP team believed in me,” she says.
Opioid use disorder and overdose deaths in Massachusetts continue to climb and your gift allows us to offer more life-saving treatment to our most vulnerable neighbors. Thank you, from the bottom of our hearts, for your support.