I Found Hope and Security
Divine intervention. It's how a young woman named Elizabeth explains her arrival at The Hope House and the brighter days that followed.When Liz first arrived at The Hope House a year and a half ago she was a crystal meth addict with no home and nowhere to go. Liz's sister said she heard The Hope House was a good place to get help and took Liz to the Welland shelter. Ironically, that was the first time Liz and her sister had talked in more than three years. Since then, that sister has been one of Liz's strongest supporters and best friends. "I probably wouldn't have found it on my own," says Liz, noting if she hadn't arrived at The Hope House back then she would have "floated" with her backpack and remained addicted to crystal meth. "I hated it," said Liz of her first nights at the shelter.
Liz shares that she was so high she didn't sleep, and stuffed towels under the door of her room to keep the light out. The Hope House has rules about bringing drugs or drug paraphernalia into the shelter, but Liz broke those rules, and admits to exploiting other shelter residents to make money and get drugs. Before arriving at The Hope House Liz moved place to place, losing all of her possessions in the process. Throughout the moving, she says she "always cared" that she was basically homeless. "I wanted to be secure," she said. "I hadn't been secure in so long I forgot what it was like." The security offered by The Hope House was the first step in Liz's rehabilitation. While she had a room and a safe place to stay, what Liz didn't have was access to drugs or the resources to deal drugs to her friends. An interaction on Facebook, in which someone who was supposed to be a good friend ignored Liz because she didn't have any drugs to offer, highlighted how she lived and how she was treated by people she thought were her friends. "I didn't want to get treated like that anymore," she says, explaining the turning point that led her to stop taking crystal meth. "I went to rehab. I've been clean ever since."
Now clean for a year and a half, the 21-year-old says she was killing herself before getting sober, explaining she was taking more and more drugs just to feel normal. "I feel good," she says of her sobriety. "I still want to get high. That will never go away." Despite the desire to go back to her meth-infused life, Liz is proud of what she's achieved and looks forward to a bright future. In the year and a half since she got clean, Liz has finished high school, completed a college course and is currently finishing an apprenticeship in hairstyling. "The future is bright," she says. "The darkest night is always followed by the brightest day." Liz's sobriety didn't come easy. The first week, she said, she slept all the time - exhausted from withdrawals. The first month, says Liz, was worse. "It was brutal. I had emotions again. The Hope House staff were there for me, they talked me through it," says Liz, explaining she felt comfortable talking to them because they understood what she was going through. "I'm grateful to The Hope House staff," she says. Liz, now living on her own for the first time in her life and loving it, says she openly shares her story of addiction and recovery to help others struggling with their own addictions. "I was destined to be more than a junkie."
Liz's sobriety and her success finishing school and working toward a career is a result of support from The Hope Centre. That support extends to members of the community who volunteer or require the services the centre provides, whether it is a hot meal, a warm bed, or the skills needed for a better life.