Marcie’s Story


Summary: A participant in a Mentoring Parent Program describes her journey from suffering from abuse and addiction to becoming a role model and support to others in recovery.

I was 5 years old the first time I was placed in the children’s shelter. I moved between group homes and foster homes, but I was always returned to my mother. One afternoon she told me to get a stick. I knew what she was planning to do, so I brought back a twig. She went outside, sawed off a branch and beat six striped marks into my back. I never went home again.

My name is Marcie and I am an addict in recovery. I first started using meth at 15. I picked it up and didn’t put it down until I had hit rock bottom. My rock bottom was not when my boyfriend assaulted me and destroyed all of my possessions. It was not when he held me captive behind locked doors for months at a time in his home. It wasn’t even the physical removal of my children that I consider my rock bottom. That would come later.
My daughter was a baby when she and her brother were removed from me. The jJudge knew that I was using and ordered me to bring her to court, where she was physically taken out of my arms. I can still hear her screaming and crying as they lifted her away. I continued to use for the next 2–3 months. I lived on couches, in cars, sometimes at my dealer’s house, but I always made it to court.

I prayed for the first time in my life. I said, “If you can take this obsession I have with drugs away from me, I promise that I will do everything in my power to live a better life.” That day I completed my drug and alcohol assessment. I was 23 years old and I weighed 90 pounds. I was so fragile and malnourished that water touching my skin caused me pain. It was recommended that I go to a transitional housing unit, but I knew that I wasn’t ready to live in a home with people who were sober. So, I went back to my boyfriend and starting using again. The insanity of domestic violence kept me going back to him, but I called everyday to get into detox and finally there was a space for me in Mariposa, a residential drug treatment program.

While in Mariposa, I broke up with my boyfriend and my attorney secured a restraining order to keep me safe. After 30 days, the judge asked if I was ready to leave the program and I said, “No, I’m still learning!” It was the most supportive environment I had ever experienced. I learned how to be a mother from the other women in the program. I was blessed with a good team of social workers, attorneys, and a mentor parent. Before visits with my children, the foster mother would put pictures and letters for me in their diaper bag, so I knew when my children took a first step, saw a horse, or tried new food.

One night I took the bus across town to my Parenting Without Violence class. The facilitator asked me why I was there. I told him that I wasn’t sure, and then it hit me. My rock bottom was more of an epiphany than an event. I failed to protect my kids. Nothing I had ever experienced hurt me more than it did to hear those words and know that they were true.

Something in me changed. From that point forward, I didn’t miss any drug tests, I graduated drug court and I successfully completed my case plan. My daughter was returned to me before my case was dismissed. With my consent, her brother was adopted by his foster mother. When my son was removed from me he was less than 3 months old and he had formed a very strong attachment to his foster mother. It was a profoundly difficult decision to allow her to adopt him, but I believed that it was what was best for him. I see him weekly now and he has formed a relationship with his sister. I feel very fortunate to continue to be a part of his life.

I’ve come such a long way and received a lot of help to get here. I have mended my relationships with my family and I have stability, for the first time in my life. I love my routine. I go to work. I know how to parent. I’m consistent. My job helps me stay grounded and allows me to give back to others the valuable lessons that saved my life.

My name is Marcie and I am a mentor parent.

Every day I work with parents in crisis who are experiencing what I went through with my children and I represent hope.

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