Program Participant

“I Wanted Something Better”

Danielle has been a resident of CHD’s Aster House in South Hadley for only two months, and she is already impressed with her progress in the treatment of her alcoholism and depression. She is also heartened by hearing others’ success stories there.

“I have seen two people graduate and move on in my short time here, and that’s encouraging to see,” she said. “It’s something to look forward to, but at the moment, I’m focused on being here right now.”

Indeed, she is taking it “one day at a time,” as they say in AA, one of her favorite groups at Aster House, a highly structured 16-bed recovery program dedicated to individuals with co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders. Because she has trauma in her background, she also benefits from Aster House’s Trauma Recovery and Empowerment Model (TREM) Group, which uses an evidence-based approach that combines elements of social skills training, psychoeducational techniques, and emphasizes peer support. “It’s a women-only smaller, safer space, and I am learning a lot from it,” she said. “I’m building back my self-esteem.”

She recalled how her drinking had spiraled out of control after she lost her job in the beginning of the pandemic, and she had been homeless for a year. “That was when I hit my rock bottom,” she said. “So far, Aster House has helped me get back on my feet. It’s helping with my self-worth, and of course, my sobriety.”

Although she had been estranged from her family when she was homeless, her family members have been very supportive of her recovery. “I’m grateful for getting my family back in my life,” she said.

What had prompted Danielle to finally seek help? She thought for a moment. “I just had enough,” she said. “I wanted something better. And I can say for myself that this is the best that I have been doing for years.”