Daria’s Story: Taking time to appreciate the present

Daria, Saint John’s Program for Real Change graduate

Daria’s struggle with homelessness began when she was 16. She spent years couch-surfing or living in her car with hit or miss jobs that helped her survive. Her real ongoing struggle though, was with substance abuse and domestic violence. She even made a geographic move to Oregon, hoping the change might make things better. When a friend invited her back to Sacramento, she thought things were turning around until she was in a car accident, losing everything and sending her into a spiral that repeated her old patterns.

After spending 90 days in a treatment center, and with no real place to call home, Daria walked through the Red Doors in February of 2022. In Saint John’s she found a safe place to heal from the years of trauma she had experienced, as well as, tools that have been helpful to her as she works to maintain her sobriety.

Being a part of the Saint John’s community has helped Daria learn to be patient and tolerant of others.  It’s very important to her to be supportive of other women in their journey and to be there for them. This has been very evident as Daria is a real cheerleader for others and a big encourager along the way. But she has also learned to take care of herself. She would describe her transformation at Saint John’s as both physical and emotional. She’s made necessary changes including being kind to herself as she’s watched her confidence level rise.

Daria graduated from Saint John’s in December of 2022, is currently working at Sacramento Natural Foods Co-op, and has transitioned into live more independently at Saint John’s Square. Reflecting on her current circumstances, she said, “I would love to be a substance abuse counselor one day, but I want to give my current job a chance and not jump around. I want to take my time with the current opportunities that I have.” She’d also like to go back to school one day, and maybe study psychology or behavioral science.

When asked where she’d seen the biggest growth in her life, Daria shared, “I recently lost my dog that had been part of my life for the past 15 years. It was a very hard time, but I was able to grieve in a healthy way. For the first time in my life, I feel like a powerful woman with a voice. I can handle what life throws me. I’m excited for the future!” She sees in Saint John’s, a place that equipped her to know who she is and how to make healthy decisions going forward. We wish you the best, Daria. You’re off to a good start!

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