Silver Belle

Silver

Silver had it all – marriage, family, a career, a home. An avid learner with a passion to explore, school and classes have always been a part of her life. After earning her high school diploma, she went right to work, but always fit a class or two into her life.

“I like to keep things fresh,” observes Silver. “There’s always more to learn.”

Over the course of her career, Silver has served as assistant director of a limousine service company, manager of a Starbuck’s and general manager of a Brookfield’s Restaurant, but all the while a growing problem bubbled under the surface: she was a functioning alcoholic. Until her marriage collapsed, and the “functioning” part slipped away. It was then that she fell in with her abuser, with whom she had three more children. Throughout the course of the past five years, she lost everything – her home, her career, all of her life’s savings, her ID, her dignity, her self-worth — and found herself “squatting” illegally at a motel, suffering mightily at the hands of her physically and mentally abusive boyfriend, and hopelessly deep into her addiction. She was lost, out of options, and her children were spiraling down with her. Her unlikely savior became her ex-husband Zach and his new wife Mary, who showed up at the motel one day, physically separated her from her abuser, offered to take the children in before CPS became involved, and convinced Silver to enter rehab.

“They saved me, and my children,” reflects Silver. “I had nowhere to turn. They pointed me in the right direction, and took my children to safety. I now have a restraining order against my ex-boyfriend that is in effect until 2023. I will be forever grateful to them.

“I entered rehab, found AA and embraced the help I so desperately needed,” continues Silver. “But I knew I needed something long-term, and that’s when I heard about Saint John’s. I called every day for three months until I finally got in. I didn’t know what to expect, but what I found was my salvation. Saint John’s brought me back to life and made me whole again.”

Now in her 12th month at Saint John’s, Silver is set to graduate from the Employment Training Program on April 4, and started her new job this week as operations manager for Environmental Services at UC Davis. Her youngest child, Dominic, lives with her at Saint John’s, while the older three, Zariahn, Nirvana and Daymien, continue to thrive under the loving care of Zach and Mary.

“Nirvana has taken up the violin, and Daymien is involved in wrestling, volleyball and track,” marvels Silver. “He is an honors student, and just won an art competition. And my oldest, Zariahn, is 19 now. He’s in school studying to be a police officer, and is also working full time and helping with the younger kids. I am so proud of how my children have moved on, especially after all they have seen and endured.

“I work a solid program, and I’m committed to succeeding,” reflects Silver. “Believe it or not, I actually pray for my abuser now – carrying around all of that anger and fear is not healthy. I’ve put a lot of time and work into becoming a better person and a good mother, and I expect nothing less from him if he ever wants to be part of their lives again.”

By Sue Cawdrey
Grants & Communications Manager
Saint John’s Program for Real Change

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