At age 12, “K” took her first sip of whisky at the babysitter’s house. And she liked it.
It helped ease her awkward ache of adolescent loneliness. By age 15, K was packing vodka in her school water bottle and trying to coax others to drink along with her. By the end of junior year, she noticed her hands shook by the last period of the day. K knew she had a problem.
The years passed with police charges, a drunk driving arrest, frequent job changes, seeking help, relapsing, broken relationships and withdrawal attempts.
At age 24, K gave birth to a son after a complicated 32-week pregnancy and found she was unable to care for him. She took an important next step and called the Fairfax-Falls Church Community Services Board (CSB). She was referred to the Fairfax Detoxification Center in Chantilly, where she vowed to surrender alcohol for good.
After her time at the detox facility, K moved into New Generations, a CSB residential treatment program for expectant and new mothers with substance use and co-occurring mental health disorders. Over the next 20 months, K learned how to build a foundation for her life.
“The staff was eager to help me; they knew how to help a young, scared mom in recovery. They were reassuring and simply phenomenal,” K recalls. “I shared that I drank during my pregnancy, which had resulted in speech and growth and developmental delays for my son. They helped me face my situation and helped me turn negatives into positives.”
The next step was to reach out to CSB’s Infant & Toddler Connection (ITC) where staff members provided intervention and therapy for K’s son.
Today, K is employed full time, managing a team of over 50 people. She has a stable housing situation and has been sober for three full years. Her sobriety is her first priority; all else follows. K encourages others, helping lead Alcoholics Anonymous meetings twice a week and visiting women who find themselves in similar circumstances as she was. Her son is a busy three-year-old, loving basketball, baseball, football, macaroni and cheese, and all varieties of construction vehicles.