When she first referred herself for CHD’s FIRST Steps Together program in Pittsfield, MA, Ivy was only the second participant to join the new, evidence-based program for mothers in early recovery from substance use and opioid dependence.
For years, Ivy has been on a journey not only to recover from co-occurring substance use and mental illness, but to reunite with her family and regain custody of her children.
Through the program, Ivy has participated in an array of different types of groups focused on areas of her recovery as well as one-to-one counseling to discuss difficulties and her goals for the future.
Ivy has had the opportunity to work with various recovery coaches while in the program. Each coach she’s worked with, she said, has made their own individual impact on her journey. As recovery coaches, many of these staff members have lived experience in substance use and truly know what Ivy is going through each day.
“Anytime I needed help with anything, whether it was a mental health issue or a substance issue or even a domestic issue, there would always be someone I could sit down with—a recovery coach, the program director, or a clinician—to help me make a plan, and give me a voice in that plan,” Ivy said.
During her time in the program, Ivy has spent time at the Pittsfield office beyond her own groups and check-ins. She’s helped out around the office to organize donations for fellow participants while also feeling thankful to be able to make a difference in her community and have access to a safe space.
While there I was able to get myself organized; I checked in with recovery coaches daily, and so many times they came with me to appointments, court cases, or visits with my kids,” Ivy said. “They’ve done amazing things for me. Every single one of them.
Since embarking on her recovery journey, Ivy has faced her share of challenging obstacles—and detours—but she’s also had moments of great pride and progress, something she attributes to being backed by a community of support from her recovery coaches and her fellow moms in recovery, individuals she now calls her friends.
In recovery, a lot of people isolate. It’s not often something people like to get together or lean on each other for very much,” Ivy explained. “They were able to have us women come together to do things as a group and work with each other, or lean on each other, rather than working alone.
These same friends continue to walk with Ivy along her journey each day as she approaches her graduation from the program and continues her hard work and dedication to regain custody of her twins. Looking toward the future, Ivy adds, “Who knows, maybe I’ll even become a recovery coach one day.”
Ivy - Program Participant
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