September is the month for homecomings and returning to routines. Sometimes the homecoming is a return to a healthier, happier, more hopeful version of ourselves, which necessitates establishing new rhythms and patterns. For many of our women, a homecoming is really more of a becoming – becoming the woman God created her to be.
Q came to Hope three years ago, right after a long stint in prison. She’d grown up with untreated mental illness, in a home where her caregivers used substances to ‘treat’ their own mental illnesses. “Substance use seemed to be a remedy. Until it wasn’t,” says Q.
During her time in prison, Q wrestled with guilt, the recovery process, and who she wanted to become after her time was served. She was committed to staying clean and her parole officer said Hope could help her stay on track. Q remembered numerous experiences where groups of women caused even more discouragement and wounding. Could she risk feeling out of place or misunderstood, especially at the risk of her sobriety? Says Q, “I decided to give Hope a chance. If I didn’t feel welcome, I didn’t have to go back.” Her worries were unrealized, of course, and Hope quickly became a place where Q felt a sense of belonging, a place where she could contribute (Q loves to lend a hand) and be supported in return.
After years of staying clean, Q completed her legal requirements and got her driver’s license reinstated. It was time for the next phase of Q’s becoming – finding a job. Q was offered a position at a center for substance abuse treatment where she is using her personal understanding and unique compassion to help others overcome addiction. “If God hadn’t shown me what restoration looks like, I wouldn’t be able to do this work.” Q smiles, “This life I’m living now is even better than I’d hoped.”
Homecoming stories, overcoming stories, becoming stories – they’re happening at Hope Women’s Center. These stories are being written deep in the lives of women willing to hope, willing to imagine there is something more for them. We applaud these courageous women, each and every one of them.