A Fresh Start

Three months may not seem like a long time, but for Morgan G., the past three months have been the difference between a life of drugs and homelessness and a life of safety, community and responsibility.

Morgan came from an alcoholic and abusive family, and she began abusing drugs, primarily methamphetamines, at 17. Suicidal at one point, she moved from place to place, “enabled by those who didn’t really want to deal with me, so they just gave me money or a place to stay.” She has never held a job, has been in and out of jail, lived for two years in her car, and associated with “thieves and rough folks” while continuing her meth addiction. The final impetus to make a change came when her mother, who had taken Morgan in from jail, filed a restraining order against her. The relationship had become potentially violent, resulting in Morgan suffering from a mental breakdown with nowhere to turn. It was then that she checked into a mental health facility and began the road to recovery.

Living at Saint John’s for the past three months has given Morgan the opportunity to see herself in a new light. No longer using drugs, she now loves being in a safe and protected environment away from addicts. She is with a community that is on the same path and is supported by people who “want to see you succeed.” Morgan says the counseling classes and group sessions have been very helpful, and she now feels comfortable being around lots of people. The lockdown for the Coronavirus has helped the women bond closely and help each other daily. She even enjoys watching the other women’s children, something no one ever trusted her to do before, nor did she trust herself to do while abusing drugs.

Morgan is enjoying her work at Plates, now that it is back open for the ladies. It’s the first time she has ever had a job, and she says with pride, “I never knew I could work like this before!” Morgan is enjoying their current project with Great Plates Delivered, making three meals a day, three times a week for Sacramento area senior citizens in need. “It is so rewarding to be helping these people!”

“Morgan is focused on finding balance in her life, between self-care and being a support person to other clients,” comments Saint John’s SUD Counselor and Case Manager Christina Cecil. “She has worked hard to become one of our newest Dream Builders! She is setting goals for herself and is taking all of the necessary steps toward getting her license back and eliminating her debt in preparation for securing housing.”

Morgan is seeing herself in a new light, one that shines bright for a future of independence and responsibility. She looks forward to completing the program at Saint John’s, and to having her own place and a good job. She says the past does not have to determine her future and she looks forward to living the life that she now knows she can control. We wish her continued success as she moves determinedly toward her new life!

By Ellen Gemma, Guest Blogger and Volunteer, Former Asst. Principal, Jesuit High School, Former Principal, St. John the Evangelist School

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