Through our reentry services, Teresa found the motivation to push through
“Being back with Wyatt was the biggest thing on my mind. I knew I had to get sober because otherwise I would have to go back to prison and then I would never see Wyatt again.” Teresa spoke in earnest as she reflected on her decision ten months ago to get sober when her prison sentence was at risk of being lengthened because of her drug usage. As a resident of Theodora House, Volunteers of America of Indiana’s work-release facility for women, Teresa is finishing her prison sentence with opportunities to seek employment, substance abuse treatment, and help from staff members to re-connect with her family members. Wyatt is her grandson who obviously means the world to her – his presence in her life helped her gain the hope and self-confidence she needed to get off drugs and live with purpose and achieve success.
For Teresa’s first 2 ½ years at Theodora house she thought that she could beat the system; she would go to work and come back high thinking that she could get away with it. But when she had yet another dirty drop the staff told her that they could call the police right then and she would go back to prison for twelve years. In Teresa’s own words, “And, a light bulb just flipped on in my head; no, I can’t do that because I would never see Wyatt again.”
After that realization, she decided to get sober and the staff consented to give her another chance. During this difficult process the counseling clinic staff provided a lot of support. She stated, “If it weren’t for them I would probably have gone nuts. I could come and talk to them anytime I wanted and they’d listen. They listened to me they didn’t criticize me or downgrade me like some people would do.” Then once her mind was clear, she did a complete 180 and sought out help from the staff members to reunite with Wyatt. They contacted Wyatt’s caregiver to see if she was comfortable with letting Teresa see Wyatt, and once Teresa starting becoming more and more stable in her sobriety, trust was gained and Teresa started seeing Wyatt once every other week. When he visited he would stay in the family suite that Theodora House provides for residents and their children over the weekend.
Throughout her last year at Theodora House her family has seen Teresa completely change and they are proud of her and her sobriety – she’s been clean now for one year. With full time employment with benefits and a good wage at Goodwill and her drug free health, she is feeling really good about life and leaving in five months when she will go on house arrest, especially since she hasn’t been sober for twenty years and never thought she could achieve what she has achieved.
Wyatt started 4th grade this year, is a straight-A student, and is already almost taller than Teresa. She says that he looks a lot like his mother who died a year after he was born, and so she loves being able to see Wyatt as often as she does, “Every time I used to see him I would cry, but I don’t cry like I used to, but I still get teary-eyed.”