What would you do if you lost everything?
Your family, your home, your job, your car, your freedom.
What would you do if you hit rock bottom?
Would you continue to do the things that sunk you as low as a ship anchor in the ocean? Would you blame others for your circumstances? Would you ask the age-old question…why me? Or would you fight back? Would you do everything in your power to regain the life that you lost?
The answers to those questions, intellectually, seem to be easy. But they aren’t. Until you’ve been in that position, you don’t really know what you would do, or how you would do it.
Jenny Hopkins was in and out of jail 14 times in four years. Yes, you read that number correctly. Her husband divorced her, and he prevented her from seeing her three children. She lost her house, her car, her job and her freedom.
“I was doing heroine and constantly getting arrested,” Hopkins said. “The majority were possession charges, and a couple of violations of probation. I got more charges on top of the charges I had, and things snowballed.
“I knew who I was before I started using,” Hopkins continued. “I was a good person, and I wanted to be her, again.”
Like many in today’s society who suffer from drug addiction, Hopkins never had any intention of being in this place. She suffered from post-partem depression after her third child was born. She was prescribed Xanax. She also had a lot of back pain, and the doctor prescribed Percocet. She got hooked on them, and she said the pills were difficult to find. She was draining the bank account and stealing money from her ex-husband. Then someone whispered in her ear, “why waste your money on pills? Just get a bag of heroine…it’s cheaper and it will give you the same thing.”
Hopkins finally got a break, when she appeared before the judge for, what would be, the last time. The judge gave her the option of jail (again) or Drug Court. Hopkins chose Drug Court.
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Drug Court is to 1. Help participants recover from use disorder with the aim of reducing future criminal activity 2. As an alternative to incarceration, drug courts reduce the burden and costs of repeatedly processing low-level, non-violent offenders while providing an opportunity to receive treatment and education.
“I knew how to jail,” Hopkins said. “If they would’ve sent me back to prison…I would’ve gone in and come out and went back to what I was doing…using again.”
Instead, she spent three months in the John Brooks Recovery Center in Atlantic City, NJ. which provides a residential treatment program. She progressed to the Anderson House, a halfway house specifically for females in recovery. Anderson House provides an intense, six-month program that helps the patients “develop necessary goals and life skills to return to the community as responsible, sober and productive individuals.”
Anderson House states that approximately 400,000 women in New Jersey are addicted to drugs or alcohol.
“You just have to WANT to stay clean,” Hopkins said. “You can’t do it for anybody but yourself.”
Anderson House has strict accountability, and when a person leaves that facility, they have to stay sober, they have to get a job, they must get a sponsor and they have to integrate back into society.
[Come back next Wednesday to see how Jenny’s story turns out]