Campus of Change

Ending Homelessness in the Fox Valley

On the Road to Recovery

Posted on Nov 7, 2014 by

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.