On the Road to Recovery
Former COTS resident reflects on her time at COTS
My life before COTS was chaotic and dangerous. Living in Milwaukee, I had fallen further into my addiction, and for the first time that I can remember, I became ready to surrender and change my life around. I ended up in jail, and it wasn’t the first time. I was released and expected to be in Oshkosh the following day to attend 28 days of inpatient treatment for my substance abuse. I completed the 28 days and realized that I needed something more. From there I went to living in a halfway house for 3 months which furthered the treatment that I desperately needed and wanted. After 2 months of living in the halfway house, I was informed that my insurance would no longer pay for my stay. The thought of moving back to Milwaukee scared me more than anything at that time because I knew what I would be going back to. I knew I had to figure something else out in order to continue on this road to recovery.
I talked with many recovering friends and my counselors about what I could do and where I could go to stay in the area. Once again, I didn’t feel ready, and I definitely wasn’t responsible enough yet to be on my own. I heard about COTS from many people in the recovering community, and I filled out the application immediately, hoping and praying that this would be the answer to my prayers. Well, let me just say that my prayers were answered.
I moved into COTS mid October of 2012, and it was exactly what I needed. I had structure and rules to follow, which kept me safe while entering the “real world” again. I believe that COTS had a big part in helping me become the responsible, productive member of society that I am today. I learned how to budget my money, save money, and take care of myself. Living in a building with 10+ other women also taught me the importance of teamwork and helped me see that I’m not the only one struggling through life and trying to persevere. It was a very humbling experience on my journey.
While living at COTS, I held the same job that I was working at when living in the halfway house. I have been able to grow with my employer and learn much more than I ever expected. I remember going into Dawn’s office, the Women’s Case Manager, and sharing my excitement with her every time I was able to move up in a position or take on more responsibility. I am still employed at that job and have also taken on a 2nd job part time at night for the time being. After 9 months of living at COTS, my parents gave me the push and help that I needed to get on my own feet. With the help of my parents, Dawn, and other recovering friends, I found an apartment that became my very own home!
I now live with my boyfriend, who is also in recovery, and we are working on building our lives together. I am enrolled to start school at Fox Valley Tech next semester, and I couldn’t be more excited and optimistic about what the future has in store for me. I just celebrated 29 months clean from active addiction and try my best to start every day with an attitude of gratitude for all the beautiful gifts I have been given. More than anything, I try to help other women, just like COTS and the women I lived with there have helped me.