In June of last year, I found myself homeless, strung out on drugs, and in an extremely abusive relationship.
I soon became a victim of sex trafficking, in order to fulfill my drug needs and to fulfill the love that I was missing. The abuse I was experiencing got worse very quick. I was not only getting hit for no reason at all but if orders were disobeyed he would burn me with cigarettes, lighters and meth pipes. I wanted so badly to be loved and accepted, and at this point I was looking for it in all the wrong places and all the wrong people.
After months of horrific abuse, I finally got away!! I began living in a tent next to the freeway by a creek. It was then that I found out I was pregnant! I had not idea what I was going to do or where I was going to go. All I knew was that I could not bring this baby to live on the side of the freeway with me.
So, on September 2, 2016 I begged my sister to let me stay with her. She agreed, as long as I stayed clean and found a place as soon as possible. My Mom told me about a maternity home called Villa Majella. The last thing I wanted was a house with a bunch of rules! But I had no choice.
So I called Villa Majella and spoke to Kelly, the Executive Director, and soon had an interview. In November 2016 I moved into the Villa Majella program.
I began going to project recovery, where I started my drug treatment. I also began individual counseling at Villa Majella, where for the first time in my life I was able to talk about my feelings and start the process of working on myself and healing. I became involved with the whole 12 step program, attending meetings, and working closely with a sponsor on the 12 steps to recovery. Church on Sunday was also a very important part of my recovery process.
On March 27th, 2017 I gave birth to a healthy baby boy, Owen. Shortly after having Owen I graduated my 6-month Peri-natal drug treatment program at Project Recovery. I got my driver's license back along with a car.
I just recently celebrated my 1 year of sobriety!!!
I started and completed a college bridge program called SPARC, which stands for SINGLE PARENTS ARRIVING READY FOR COLLEGE.
I have gotten 2 of my court cases dismissed and just graduated my clean and sober drug court program.
I am enrolled in college taking classes to become certified in early childhood education. Where I plan to use my certification to work in a childcare of pre-school.
I plan on continuing my education and majoring in Psychology to become a marriage family therapist. I hope to transfer to UCSB or UC Berkley.
I also have a partime job working in the cafeteria at SBCC. (Santa Barbara City College)
I have done all of this with the support of Villa Majella and the loving staff. I have goals and dreams now. I have a purpose and a plan.
I LOVE MY LIFE TODAY!! I have accomplishments and most importantly, I believe in myself.
So Thank you to Kelly, Eileen, Elia and Villa Majella! Your guys believed in me when I didn't believe in myself!
~ Amber, Villa Majella Resident & Alumnae