I’m so blessed to have such great people in my life who truly care about my happiness and well-being. I was very fortunate to have them not “give up” on me after all I’ve done to deserve much worse. I don’t know how, but I managed to start the new year out right, for once. Each day seems to get better and better this year already. I even ran into a physical therapist that I’d had when I was in Temple Hospital just after my accident last year. It was so nice to hear her say that I made her week (not day, but week). They get very few “stories” like my own, coming into the hospital that are able to be somewhat successful over a year later. That made me feel as though it shows that it CAN be done. Nobody is perfect. I’m just super lucky to have had the opportunity to do better than I was at the start of this journey. If it wasn’t for all those who kept telling me that I can do it, I’d still be where I was at the start (or worse). I can never thank them enough for believing in me when I couldn’t believe in myself.
I was pleasantly surprised by my lifelong friend on Christmas Day this year. I struggle with not having my children and granddaughter under my roof for the holidays, but she was sweet enough to get me outta the house and enjoy Christmas this year. We went down to Kelly Drive, Boathouse Row, water works, and the art museum to walk around and enjoy some of the things that others travel here to see and enjoy. After, we went to Palmyra Nature Cove in Jersey. We saw deer, turkey vultures, and walked one of the trails. It was so nice to not sit home depressed. I’m so thankful to have such a great friend who’s been there throughout my best and worst years of my life. Thanks, Jen! Love ya!
Pathways to Housing had an “outing” to the Christmas village downtown here in Philly. My boyfriend and myself were the only ones that showed up to go on the trip. One of the Pathways “Team” escorted us on the outing and we had such a wonderful time. It’s difficult for me to get out to do positive things such as this, but I am so beyond grateful for these opportunities. They had the ice skating rink, ferris wheel, carousel, huge Christmas tree, shops, etc. We also went to the Reading Terminal Market to eat lunch, which was an amazing experience, since I basically grew up there, because my grandparents owned a deli in there since I was six or seven years old. The layout of the Terminal has changed quite a bit over the years, but had the same “feel” or “experience” it always had. It’s been over a decade since I’d been there. I’m so glad we went there. I got a roast pork sandwich with provolone from DINIC’S that was absolutely amazing. After, we even went to the Gallery which recently reopened after renovations that they call the Fashion District now. We also went to see the Christmas Light Show at Macy’s, as well. It’s amazing how a few hours out with positive people can make such a difference in your life. Whether you’re in recovery or not, it’s such a wonderful part of taking time to enjoy the “little things”in life. I can’t thank them enough for that. It’s an opportunity in life that I’d thought I’d lost forever. It’s truly a blessing just to have that opportunity at all. It’s ultimately what I chose to do with the opportunity that I’ve been given, and I’m just glad that I’ve been able to make better choices than I have in the past.
I never stop in Kensington anymore to avoid temptation, since I was so bad, for so long when I was living there. The only time I’m alright with going is when I have a sober escort to minimize temptation. I get stronger and stronger every day that I’m clean, but is just not worth the risk to go there by myself or too often. I was so excited to see everyone at Prevention Point and to hear how proud they all are of me. My boyfriend was my sober escort, which was nice. Especially, since we share the same doctor and nurses. They all were genuinely happy for the both of us. I was able to see my daughter for a lil while, as well, which was the BEST part! We live almost 8 miles apart and it takes 2 buses and the train to travel to each other’s house. Many times, unfortunately, it’s not financially doable to travel that far for us. So, it was very much a “treat” to see and talk with. She’s been my best friend since before she was even born. I’m always a mother to her first, but she knows me better than anyone and we have so much fun together. I saw a few people that I was homeless with that gave me huge hugs and told me how much better I look after a year+ clean. The staff at Prevention Point was also so happy to see how I’ve turned everything around in comparison to where I was a little over a year ago. That is the stuff that keeps me motivated and heading in the right direction. They’ve been with me through my worst and is such a great feeling to be able to let them see me getting to my best.
My therapist just came back from maternity leave and had a beautiful baby boy. So much has happened in the past 2 months that she was out. I feel like a little kid whenever I see her. It feels like when I spend time with my oldest daughter. Im so fortunate to have a therapist I get along with so well. I hugged her so tight because I really missed her so much & had so much to talk about. I almost cried I was so happy to see her. I also just began a relationship with someone I already had a great friendship with when I was homeless on the streets of Kensington. I’m trying my best to stay “in the moment” so that I’m able to enjoy all that is in front of me. Meditation helps a lot. Woosah! ☺💕💗💕💗💕
I had the best time at the Pathways to Housing program’s Holiday Party yesterday. It was great to see people that were homeless with me doing so much better. I ran into a couple friends that I hadn’t seen since I was homeless and I had no idea that they were even in the program. I really cannot express how much I needed to see and talk to those who went through it all with me and feel all the support and positivity from them as well as the program. To hear them all tell me how proud they are of me and all I’ve been working so hard on is such a reinforcement, for me, that I’m doing the right things. I stay to myself a lot, so the whole experience and interaction with others was extremely beneficial to my mental and emotional state. I feel so blessed to have them all in my life. They may not be blood related, but really are family to me.
Last week, I met with an app developer for a focus group about an app that may be very beneficial to help reduce the number of overdoses and overdose fatalities. Everyone brought up a bunch of ideas and concerns about the app. I’m hoping that it helps, since need is so great because of the opioid epidemic being so bad, especially here in Philadelphia. I was a little disappointed last Thursday on Thanksgiving Day, though. I did all I could to ensure that I’d be able to have a holiday meal at my apartment for the first time. I was hoping that my oldest daughter would be over to enjoy it with me, but, unfortunately, she wasn’t able to make it over to my place. I spent all day cooking & was pretty impressed with how it all came out, especially since I wasn’t able to get/ have all that I’d have liked to. It was just a shame that so much went to waste, since it was only me. I can’t be upset at my daughter, though. Especially considering where she is in her life at the present moment. I know that if I were still in her position, I probably wouldn’t have gone either. But, she did make a pretty good effort, which counts more to me than the outcome. I just really miss her. She’s the only family that I still have a decent relationship with and speak to regularly these days.
I had quite a productive day yesterday, for the most part. I went into the Pathways office for a focus group on a new app to help reduce the quantity and possibly prevent overdoses. I was also fortunate enough to have help faxing some paperwork to my lawyer’s office about my SSI application. After, I was unexpectedly surprised by an unfortunate situation that needed to be addressed immediately. A year ago, I definitely would’ve just ignored the issue. Thankfully, I am trying to do things differently today and have a great support team to be there to back me up. I’m pretty proud that I’m able to make better choices than I once did. They aren’t any easier, but it helps when you’re able to make better choices. I was also blessed with some holiday season gifts of food this holiday. Without that help, I wouldn’t be able to have a holiday meal at my home this year. I was so super glad that a Pathways to Housing team member accompanied me to the various places that I was so nervous about going to (and probably would not have went myself). I hope everyone has a great holiday!
I am so glad that I was invited to church again. Especially, since it has been the only church I’ve ever attended where I didn’t feel unfairly judged and where I am completely comfortable. Urban Hope Church Ministries used to come under the bridges in Kensington …to pray with (and for) those who were out there homeless and suffering from various things. I used to run in the opposite direction whenever I saw them coming, mostly, due to the shame, guilt, and embarrassment I felt at that time. I would never have guessed in a million years that I’d be at an Urban Hope Church Service at Urban Hope Church in Kensington, Philadelphia. I never felt comfortable enough, plus didn’t think I’d be living my life free from the drugs that destroyed and almost took my life. But, here I am free from drugs one year after that fateful day that completely changed my life. I could never come close to showing my gratitude for what’s been changed in my life. Now, today I was faced with a decision to make about possibly accompanying somebody who was going to pick a homeless girl up from the hospital where she had been unconscious for the last 3 to 4 days, she said (to the person that was going to possibly pick her up) take her to rehab or not. I was going to go until I thought about how the person wanted to go “get well” before going to rehab, though. I have done my best to avoid that area all together whenever possible to help secure my own sobriety. The hospital was not discharging her yet, so I feared her signing of against medical advice. After thinking about it, I decided that it would be best if I avoided the situation all together. This way, there’s no risk of my finding myself in Kensington. So, I did leave my cell number for the girl to call if she needs to talk, but won’t risk myself trying to “save” someone else. I must say that line only gets blurry when I consider my daughter, though. I am praying for and hoping she gets the treatment she needs, plus, help in any way I am able.
I was able to have one of my Pathways “team” accompany me to Community College of Philadelphia to take my placement test & begin registration for their Center on Disability. As a result of my Traumatic Brain Injury last year, I was urged by my doctors to register with the disability office at school. The neuro psych test that they did also told me some of my new limitations. For someone who school was always “easy” for, I was quite nervous about the testing I had to do. I always excelled in English, but was even worried about that part of the test. It turned out much better than I feared, though. I have to take one intermediate algebra class, but did much better than I had feared on the English portion of the test. So, no “extra” English courses for me. I am so glad that one of my Pathways “team” members went with me. It helped me feel more comfortable while going and while being at the school, and also, helped keep me on task. Especially, since I have a habit of forgetting what I am doing in the middle of doing it if I don’t have somebody or something to redirect or remind me. We also sat & attempted to situate my student loans, which we were able to make some progress on. This Monday coming up, I’ve been asked to discuss the topic of drug overdose & how it can be reduced with an app developer. I’m super excited to help possibly create a way to reduce the amount of drug overdoses. After, I am going to pick up a Thanksgiving meal that’s been donated to myself & my family by one of my doctor’s offices. I am so grateful and fortunate to have such help. It’ll be the first time in years that I’m able to prepare a holiday meal. My oldest daughter & her (boy)friend are coming to spend the holiday with me. I am so super excited! In the past, I always had the holiday gatherings at my house & it was my favorite time of the year. Hopefully, I can begin to enjoy this season again. So far, it is a lot less depressing of a season already. After I pick up the meal from my doctor’s office, I have plans to go to PENNDOT to try and get some type of proof of address at the time of my accident last year to complete my application for Pennsylvania’s Head Injury Program or HIP. I’m hoping that all goes well with that, since I’ve had very little luck with that thus far. Fingers crossed. Thank you for reading about my crazy, up & down, busy world.