Shawna’s Story

I’m the single mother of four children. You’ve heard of the heroin epidemic? I was part of it. I’m a recovering heroin addict. Only one of my children lives with me – one died of SIDS, and I lost custody of two when I was on drugs. I’ve been in and out of schools, relationships, jobs and custody hearings over the past eight years.

I was a child of divorce and the child of an abusive, alcoholic mother. I was drinking before I was in high school and doing party drugs in high school. My father kicked me out when I got pregnant the first time. I moved in with an aunt who helped me finish high school on-line, but she couldn’t keep me from self-destructing.

Through the years there was more drinking, more drugs, more boyfriends, more lost jobs and more pregnancies — and finally a painful surgery that led to heroin addiction when my boyfriend convinced me heroin was the same as the narcotics in painkillers a doctor would give me. I’ve been homeless and I’ve been suicidal.

Finally, at rock bottom, I checked myself into residential rehab program and then into the First Step Home maternal addiction program. The final miracle was First Step’s referring me to Dress for Success Cincinnati.

Dress for Success surrounded me with support and encouragement and the company of women who didn’t judge me. I got confidence not just from the clothes, but also from the programs, that I could go back to school, get a job and, finally, be a good mother.

I have been sober for more than three years. First, I got a job at a nursing home with the help from Dress for Success. And now, have my youngest son with me at home. I am blessed to have the support I do now and I am working toward my nursing degree. I am going for the future – for my children and me.

Thank you, Dress for Success Cincinnati.