“I couldn’t figure out why I couldn’t stop.”
What was the problem? Kayla had gotten sober before. What was different this time? She needed help understanding her condition, and Cedar House provided not only that clarity but also much more.
Considering Kayla’s ups and downs with drug addiction, it’s understandable that there would be new variables present in her experience with drugs eight years later. In that time, she battled abusive relationships, financial struggles, and relapses. She went to treatment and found peace in recovery only to find herself suffering in her addiction again months later. It wasn’t until she began working with the counselors at Cedar House that she truly began to understand why she continued to return to old habits.
After her parents divorced, Kayla started experimenting with marijuana and alcohol her freshman year of high school. It was mostly on weekends, but it became a regular part of her life. She and her then boyfriend decided to head to Las Vegas after graduation and tried cocaine for the first time. It was a horrible experience for them as they began fighting and ended up stranded in Las Vegas. She said, “You would think I would never want to do that again.”
Unfortunately, just two weeks later, her boyfriend suggested that they try meth. She enjoyed that taste of the highly addictive drug so much that she began using it almost every weekend. They would go to parties where their friends were all drinking and using meth. Eventually, meth went from something she used at parties on weekends to a method for self-medicating when she felt down. She said, “I got to the point where I would do it any time I was upset.”
Desperate for drugs when she ran out of money, Kayla started shoplifting. She couldn’t afford both her alcohol and meth habits, so her sole focus became finding enough money to buy meth. When she wanted a quicker high, she resorted to injecting the drugs. And the dangerous cycle continued.
When she turned 20, she found out she was pregnant and managed to stop using until the baby was born. Thirty days later, she was using again. She had broken up with her son’s father and, six months later, began dating another man who provided her with drugs. One year into their relationship, she found out she was pregnant again. During that pregnancy, she tried to stay sober but relapsed a few times. The father continued using consistently.
They had a baby girl in 2017 and resolved to get sober. The baby’s father wanted to regain custody of his children and worked to get clean for them. Both Kayla and her boyfriend stayed sober for 18 months. Despite his episodes of psychosis, she tried to be supportive, but they eventually turned back to drugs. One night, he physically abused her to the degree that she needed hospital care. CFS removed her children from her custody over concerns about drugs and violence.
This was the lowest point for Kayla. She was devastated over losing her children and made the decision to call for help. She interviewed with SARC (San Bernardino County’s Screening, Assessment and Referral Center). She told them that she would wait for a bed at Cedar House to come available because she had heard that the program was the most effective.
Since she had a current CFS case, Kayla was placed in Maple House after five days of quarantine and detox. Beyond her treatment, the counselors there helped her identify red flags in her relationships, advocated for her, and transported her to court dates.
At Maple House Kayla was finally able to answer the question: “Why can’t I stay sober?” She learned that the trauma she went through with her boyfriend and other challenges made her mind dependent on drugs. She needed to uncover the trauma and learn to manage her feelings. She said, “If it wasn’t for Maple House, I wouldn’t still be sober.”
In addition to the trauma-informed care Kayla received at Maple House, she learned valuable parenting and life skills. She found value in structure and an orderly living environment. The staff at Maple House requires clients to wake up by 7 a.m. and get dressed for the day. They encourage the women to set goals that they can work toward each day. Kayla said, “Even when you don’t want to go, they make you get up and handle your situation and whatever the day has for you. They taught me that if you have a problem, you need to think about your motive. Think about what you want to accomplish and how your actions that day will affect that.”
Kayla found herself growing as a mother every day. As her mindset improved, so did her sleep schedule and living space. She said, “I never understood the idea of cleaning as you go.” But now, she has learned to manage everyday tasks much better after sharing in the chores at Maple House.
Now, Kayla works as a waitress and lives with her father while continuing to save and work to be granted custody of her children again. She looks forward to the unsupervised visits she is able to have with her 4-year-old daughter and 6-year-old son each week. She also remembers fondly the times her children visited at Maple House and didn’t want to leave the nurturing environment there. At the time, Kayla thought her situation was unfair, but in hindsight she realizes that the time away from her kids gave her room to grow and become the mother they deserve.
She said that she will always recommend the Maple House program: “A lot of times when you’re getting clean you want it to work right away, but Maple House taught me that patience is a virtue.”