The beginnings of homelessness are many and as varied as the people who live through the experience. Tabatha’s story begins with a broken home. The stresses and pressures of that experience led to experimentation followed by the regular use of drugs. She called it “recreational” and it was her way to cope with tough times.
Her experimentation turned into a daily ritual….a habit. Life spiraled out of control as she lost her job, her home and her daughter moved in with grandma. It was time to make some changes and she made the courageous decision to move away from the temptations, distractions and people who filled her life. It was not easy but it led to a move to Skagit County.
When she got here she detoxed for a week and then was referred to Friendship House after a stay in the hospital. That was the beginning of her journey back to self-reliance and sobriety. At Friendship House she found structure and support. Every week there was an action plan to complete, a house meeting to attend, house chores plus work to do in the kitchen.
After working a while in the Café Tabatha decided to apply to the Hunger to Hope (H2H) job training apprenticeship program. That meant on top of everything else she now added at least 20 hours a week in the kitchen on top of her other activities.
But she didn’t stop there. She joined a faith community and became an active member of a recovery support group. Each of these activities contributed to awakening the life skills that were repressed through her dependency. Time management, team work, sense of urgency, personal responsibility and dependability began to become part of her daily routine.
She made connections in the professional community as well participating in a local cooking competition at the local farmer’s market and exploring job possibilities through the Washington Hospitality Association. Each step forward contributed to growing her self-esteem and bolstering her determination to stay clean and sober.
At the end of 12 weeks of kitchen training, her H2H completion party was a joy to behold as her mother and daughter had the opportunity to attend and celebrate her accomplishments.
At this point our typical apprentice begins the job search process but Tabatha made what we feel was a courageous decision. With a goal in mind of regaining custody of her daughter, she opted for inpatient treatment for her dependency. She chose the path less traveled toward long-term stability and sobriety.
In the months since she completed her rehabilitation and treatment, Tabatha has continued to impress all of us. She has a permanent job at a local office supply store. She is living independently in transitional housing in the local area. She has traded up from her bicycle by getting both her driver’s license back and a car. She’s on her way to a sustainable, self-sufficient life. We are all proud to know her.
Friendship House is a place where lives can change and people’s spirit can be renewed. Tabatha’s journey is a story of renewal and it’s that renewal that gives us hope for all the others who struggle with homelessness.