A Journey to Independence: Betty Finds Hope

“It was a bad situation, and I knew I needed to get out.” Betty was desperate to make a change. Her husband had begun using drugs. He had also become abusive.  After successfully grappling with her own substance addiction issues in the past, Betty was sober. She was proud of her sobriety, a sobriety she had fought hard to earn. But as her husband got more and more physically abusive, Betty needed a way to cope. Her sobriety began to slip.    

First and foremost, she decided she had to get away from her husband. She gathered her courage, and her belongings, and moved in with some family members. Betty knew she couldn’t stay long, and she didn’t want to be a burden. For the next few months she bounced around the homes of various family members and friends.

The instability and chaotic nature of her life – not knowing how long she could stay in one place, not sure where the next place would be – began to take a heavy toll. She was finding it difficult to keep up with her full-time job, and difficult to resist the temptation to let her sobriety slide. Luckily, Betty found Calvary Women’s Services. 

Friends and family had suggested shelters. Betty had heard enough stories about the conditions at the shelters around town to know that a shelter was not the kind of place she wanted to end up. Finally, one of her friends referred her to Calvary. “That place is different,” the friend had said. Betty wasn’t sure how Calvary could be any different from a shelter. Within the first week, she quickly learned the many ways that set Calvary’s housing program apart. 

At Calvary Betty found a refuge from the chaos, and the means to start fresh. She frequently met with her case manager, and together they developed a personalized treatment plan. Betty began to see Calvary’s licensed therapist to help her effectively cope with the abuse from her husband.

She also attended daily relapse prevention group meetings to reinforce her sobriety. After attending a weekly class on financial literacy, she began putting away savings for the first time in her life 

One of Betty’s biggest goals during her time at Calvary was to find another, more high paying job. At the advice of her case manager, she enrolled in Step Up DC, Calvary’s job placement program. With the help of Calvary’s workforce development specialist, Betty made improvements to her resume, sharpened her interviewing skills, and attended several career fairs around the DC area. Betty had always been passionate about cooking, so when she was hired as a line cook at local DC restaurant, she was thrilled. 

Thanks to the increase in pay from her new job, and the savings she has accrued in her savings account, Betty was able to move into a place of her own. One of her last activities at Calvary was participating in an art project in which women write letters to future women. Betty wrote a letter addressed to her granddaughters full of hope and inspiration. “You can be whatever you dream to be, all you have to do is reach and pray and give everything you have inside of you.” At Calvary, Betty gave all that she had inside of her.  She is now completely independent. 

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