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Olivia Recovers from Addiction and Reunites with her Children

It was the beginning of 2016, and Olivia Parker was ready for something better. She was finishing her incarceration sentence in Central Indiana, and really missed her three children: her 10 year-old son, 9 year-old daughter, and 2 year-old son. She wanted to overcome her past and be reunited them. As she sought for help and consulted with other inmates she trusted, one woman told her about the Fresh Start Recovery Center at Volunteers of America Indiana. Once Olivia learned more about this addiction treatment center and how it is specifically designed for mothers who are involved with the Indiana Department of Child Services, she decided it was a good fit for her. The next day she called her case manager, got a referral to the program, and moved in on April 22, 2016.

With only a few items to her name, and a facility full of new faces, Olivia felt discouraged at first. But she knew that after a month of treatment she could start seeing her kids again in supervised visitation. That played a huge role in her path to sobriety. "When the time came, it was wonderful to see my kids again, and seeing them kept me motivated to push through drug addiction recovery." After the first month, she easily saw her kids twice a week thanks to on-site supervised visitation provided for her.

Initially, Olivia decided to leave after the required acute phase of treatment. But after going to group sessions with the other mothers in the program, she recognized the need to stay longer in order to change the way she thought. "The groups were the best thing for me. There we all shared our remorse and guilty feelings, so it was relieving and therapeutic. Everything came from the heart and it was so helpful to open up to each other; I was able to find the best solution for myself through those group sessions. And the staff members who ran them helped me and the other women discover the real person inside of ourselves. We learned to acknowledge our feelings instead of hiding them by using drugs. We felt like real, normal people because of them." She decided to stay in the program for longer so she could make the changes she needed to make.

I was able to find the best solution for myself through those group sessions. And the staff members who ran them helped me and the other women discover the real person inside of ourselves. We learned to acknowledge our feelings instead of hiding them by using drugs. We felt like real, normal people because of them.

Then things really started taking off. Olivia's fellow resident helped her get a job at Au Bon Pain; she got her driver's license again; she was able to get a special bank account from Old National Bank to help her become more financially stable; and staff members went to court with her to help her navigate through the DCS system. While she was living in the safety of the Fresh Start Recovery Center, Olivia was also able to tell people in her old life that she was a different person now, and could make proper boundaries before she was discharged.

Olivia successfully completed the program on September 7, 2016 – she lived at the Fresh Start Recovery Center for a total of 141 days. Once she gets her own car and place to live, she will be able to have her children again; currently she sees them at a minimum of eight hours a week. She is very excited for the future. "In a year I see myself in my own home with my driver's license, my bank account, and my kids with a higher position at work. I see myself attending games and practices that my kids participate in. Eventually, I want to go back to school to become an addictions counselor to help people who used to be in her situation. I feel like I can succeed in anything now, and feel confident that I can achieve greater things."

Learn more about the Fresh Start Recovery Center.