Posts Tagged ‘hope’


Women in Jail and Rehab Share Hope and Warmth

March 27, 2009

crochetThis past winter, Crossroads for Women enjoyed a donation of beautifully crocheted blankets, hats and purses from an unusual donor – the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office. Turns out, the Cumberland County jail in Portland, Maine has a crocheting program. Incarcerated women learn the art of crocheting and donate the items they create to a nonprofit organization in the community. This year, a former client of Crossroads for Women, Jennifer, insisted that the items be donated to the agency. Clients from all of Crossroads for Women’s outpatient and residential programs enjoyed the warmth of the handmade crocheted gifts.

Here’s what Jennifer had to say to the women who received the donated items at Crossroads and her reason for wanting to donate:

“I wasn’t aware of how much the program did for me or was trying to do for me, until I relapsed. If I would have taken my counselor’s advice, I would most likely have stayed sober. With the help of the program, I was able to stay sober for 4 months. I appreciate everything they have given me, and hope you all get something special from the program like I did.”

Inspired by the gifts from the women in jail and wanting to share some hope back with the incarcerated donors, Crossroads for Women clients wrote letters. Many of the women had been in similar situations and knew exactly what the others were going through. Here are a few excerpts from those letters:

Remember who you wanted to be. When we are faced with difficult times, all we really can do is to take one day at a time and try to find some good out of a bad situation, learn from our mistakes and grow. We can’t dwell on the past or predict our future. Life will get better. I know. I’ve been there.  ~ Joanna

Hey girl. I know you don’t know me but I know what it’s like being in jail and how great it is to get mail…I guess I will tell you about me…I have been drinking and drugging for over 17 years. It has cost me everything. My 13 year old daughter went to live with her dad when she was 3 years old…Losing her made me plunge deeper into my addictions. I lost my apartments, my job, my car, my license, most of my belongings. I dropped out of nursing school and started going to jail – over and over again…I was powerless…I’ve lost everything that has ever mattered to me…This is the 10th time I’ve gone to rehab. At first I was pissed. Now I know it was a blessing…I am the happiest I’ve ever been in my life…I am focusing on myself. I go to AA meetings – I have true friends now…Every night I write 5 things I’m grateful for…I am free…I have fun – sober fun. I am learning to be comfortable in my own skin. I’m learning who I am, and working on becoming the woman I want to be…I know that as long as I don’t drink or drug today – I’m going to be ok. You are going to be okay. Things may seem hopeless, but I can tell you – there is HOPE…You are not alone – there are so many women like you; who feel just like you do…I don’t know your story, but I know there is a solution to all your problems…You will get through this difficult time…Hold onto HOPE.  ~ Stefanie

We hope this exchange is inspiring to you too.

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Hope for those in recovery, those that are looking for recovery

December 18, 2008

Recently, Crossroads for Women‘s chief operating officer, Polly Haight Frawley, sent out an email to staff regarding some interesting stats on women in substance abuse treatment in Maine. According to Maine’s Office of Substance Abuse, women between the ages of 18 and 25 who entered treatment with opiates as the drug of choice increased by 32.4% from fiscal year 2006 to fiscal year 2008.

Polly also noted the results of a screening tool Crossroads for Women used to measure the prevalence of co-occurring mental health disorders. Of the 135 clients that completed the screening tool, 98.5% screened positive for a mental health history, 81.5% screened positively for a history of trauma and 97.8% screened positively for mental health and/or trauma and substance abuse. While these stats don’t surprise the staff at Crossroads for Women, they are still staggering numbers and are pretty representative of most adult women with substance abuse and/or mental health issues.

At the end of the email, however, staff was reminded of the success stories of our clients. How hearing their stories and witnessing their courage throughout treatment is inspiring to all of us. It gives us all hope that anyone can recover from addiction and other mental health issues. To quote Polly, “Hope surfaces frequently in this season and at Crossroads.”

The last part of the email was an inspirational quote from Vaclav Havel about hope. It certainly rings true for those in the recovery community.

HOPE by Vaclav Havel

Either we have hope within us or we do not. It is a dimension of the soul and is not essentially dependent on some particular observation of the world.

HOPE is an orientation of the spirit, an orientation of the heart. It transcends the world that is immediately experienced and is anchored somewhere beyond its horizons. HOPE in this deep and powerful sense is not the same as joy that things are going well or willingness to invest in enterprises that are obviously headed for early success, but rather an ability to work for something because it is good, not because it has a chance to succeed.

HOPE is definitely not the same thing as optimism. It is not the conviction that something will turn out well, but certainty that something makes sense, regardless of how it turns out. It is HOPE, above all which gives strength to live and continually try new things.

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