Program Participant

A Model Among Her Peers in Recovery

Jada can’t pinpoint any particular incident that made her decide to stop drinking for good. “I was just tired,” she said.

She had lost her driver’s license because of unpaid fines, but that wasn’t enough for her to reevaluate her relationship with alcohol. There was also an intervention held by family and friends. However, it was unsuccessful. “I looked at them and did just the opposite,” recalled the 25-year-old. “I wasn’t ready. And then one day I got a ride from someone and went into treatment, and I never looked back.”

Jada and her two-year-old daughter, Love, live at CHD’s Grace House, one of the few residential treatment programs designed for mothers in western Massachusetts. In a therapeutic setting, Grace House provides up to 14 families with a safe, nurturing environment where mothers and their children can experience success.

Jada credits Grace House with helping her not only get her driver’s license back, fix her credit problems, and open a bank account—but also helping her gain self-reliance. “I had never been independent,” she said. “My whole life, I’ve always depended on somebody, and I’ve depended on liquor since the age of 16.” She began getting intoxicated as an adolescent by drinking Four Loco, a malt liquor that contains 12 percent alcohol by volume. The maker of the beverage has come under fire because its sweet fruit flavors appeal to younger drinkers and contribute to underage binge drinking. As she got older, she graduated to Hennessey cognac and Captain Morgan rum.

Now Jada has a therapist and a sponsor, and she takes advantage of group therapy—her favorite groups are the 12-Step Group and Healthy Relationships. “When we discuss trauma, I talk about the domestic violence I went through,” she said. “I’ve learned coping skills at Grace House.” Instead of using alcohol for a coping mechanism, she uses physical activity, such as walking and working out at the YMCA.

She says her attitude has made a complete 180-degree turn, and she would tell anyone in a similar situation who is considering recovery to seek help. “I would ask them if they believe in a higher power, and if they do, to ask for guidance,” she said. “That’s what gets me through every single day. I came here on my own, but I feel like God pulled me out of the chaos and he chose me to have a better life. I would tell them it’s definitely worth it—the greater the obstacle, the greater the reward.”

Jada, now more than five months into her recovery, was honored when she was asked to be a member of the Grace House Leadership Committee, a group that was recently formed to involve the program participants in the development and implementation of policies/protocols, and the organization of groups and activities, as well assisting with resolving any unresolved house concerns on behalf of their peers. The topics are initially discussed in the weekly Grace House meeting with the entire house, and are then brought to the Leadership Committee to discuss in further detail.

Grace House Program Director Jennifer Kent pointed out that Jada has also enrolled in college courses for the fall semester, and is working on her associate’s degree. She was named Resident of the Month last June. “Jada continues to bring motivation and positivity into the day-to-day milieu at Grace House,” she said. “She has been a model among her peers.”