Amy is an energetic, wise, and compassionate mother. She loves her son Joshua dearly, and once spoke sadly of a daughter not in her custody. She was addicted to meth and narcotics and was living in a halfway house when she gave birth to Joshua. Her cousin took him home from the hospital, and Amy visited regularly to see her son and bring him breastmilk. Four months later, Amy and Joshua moved into the Steve O’Neil Apartments, ready to start a new life.
Surrounded by support staff, Amy built relationships with people she lived with and worked on healing relationships with family and friends. For two days a week, Amy and Joshua joined a group who meets in the infant room of the Steve O’Neil Apartment complex. Amy quickly took on the role of preparing coffee and smoothies for mothers and their babies, visiting and smiling with coaches and staff all the while. Amy was welcoming and encouraging during group meetings; she shared advice and talked through parenting issues. During one particular meeting, Amy retrieved baby ointment for a distressed mother. On another occasion, she spent hours with a mother who was battered by her partner.
Amy never judged and always offered help and support with genuine kindness. She also spoke openly about her own struggles with sobriety, mental health, family relationships, domestic violence, and personal fears, along with how those issues might impact her stability, and in turn, her parenting. She also talked about issues as if they were important but not an immediate threat.
Roughly seven months after moving into the Steve O’Neil Apartments, Amy’s eyes grew dim, and her interest in Joshua’ development waned. She hardly spoke with her mother, and her attendance to meetings became sporadic. She no longer possessed the positive energy she once brought to meetings. One day, Amy did not show up for a weekly meeting. Her Social Worker shared the news that Amy was in the hospital receiving critical care for an overdose – she relapsed and had been “using” for the past few months. After speaking with Amy, she admitted to feeling overwhelmed and turned to synthetic drugs to “cope.”
After release from intensive care, Amy returned with a willingness to start again. Joshua was sent to temporarily live with his grandmother. Amy’s Social Worker joined with family, social services, public health, Steve O’Neil Apartments staff, and Amy to develop safety, parenting, and sobriety plans that would best support Amy’s recovery and Joshua’ safety. Amy complied and began outpatient CD therapy, joined a mother’s group, and developed a Narcotics Anonymous group. She had Joshua back and resumed her role as mentor for other mothers.
Soon after, Amy reunited with her little girl (who is now 15) who came to visit for the holidays – and ended up staying. The stability of her living arrangements provided an opportunity for Amy to offer a home to the daughter she was once unable to keep. If Amy had not been living at the Steve O’Neil Apartments, she and Joshua (and her daughter) would not be thriving as much as they are now.