Twenty-seven year old Alyson* credits her recovery from co-occurring mental health and drug use disorders to several factors: a young son who she can now spend time with, a parent who helped her with housing, a great support network she developed from working her program, plus the medication and therapy she receives at Bridges, from a professional she describes as "always caring and concerned".
Alyson experienced trauma throughout childhood, as her mother struggled with drug addiction. She started using at age 15 and felt comfortable living a drug-focused lifestyle, supported by her boyfriend's drug money. Eventually, she became pregnant and had a son, but lost custody of him to his father, who was not involved in drugs. Then, during a withdrawal period she experienced drug-induced psychosis and was hospitalized. She had hallucinations and was in very bad shape. Her boyfriend tried to convince her that she had schizophrenia, that she should come home with him and continue using drugs. Alyson was able to see through his attempt to keep her dependent on him and the drugs. She knew she no longer wanted to live this way, so she left him.
Without a place to live and unable to work or care for her son, Alyson was in a very vulnerable state. Her mother, who had begun her own recovery, let her live with her for a time while Alyson started treatment and therapy at Bridges. Within a few months she became stronger and took on more responsibilities. She regularly attended mutual help meetings and met people who became a reliable source of support.
"I was starting my life from scratch.Once I understood my diagnoses, found the right combination of medications and had a baseline, I was able to build from there," said Alyson. She says the correct medications are a huge component of her recovery, along with assistance from her provider, Anthony, an APRN at Bridges. "Anthony has been a big part of my success."
Alyson returned to school, learned a trade and now holds a good job. She has regained partial custody of her son. She and his father are engaged in counseling with him in Bridges' Child and Family Services. "It has been a long journey, but I am motivated to be the best mom I can be."