Part Two: Mother and Daughter Revive Relationship, Lives at Recovery HomePosted: Updated:
A Charlottesville area nonprofit is helping women get clean, while helping to rebuild families at the same time.
Recovery requires focus and dedication, which is something you may not always have when another family member is also in recovery.
In the second part of this series, we'll introduce you to a mother and daughter who are both recovering from addiction with the help of the supportive community at the house. But though they share a strong bond now, that wasn’t always the case.
“We're able to have this really cool relationship now that we haven't had before,” says Amber Stoneberger, a resident of Georgia’s Healing House.
However, the road to get to this point wasn’t an easy one.
"I was a bad mother," says Kimberly Wilson, Amber’s mother and a resident of the house. "Sometimes it was like she was the parent.”
Wilson was an alcoholic.
"I got so bad that I was homeless,” says Wilson. “I was homeless on the streets of Charlottesville."
Wilson struggled with alcoholism for decades, but she says the issue spiraled out of control when she got a divorce.
"I mean, Mom was in active addiction at that point and I was growing up,” says Stoneberger. “I moved with my dad when I was about 9 because she had come to a really bad point in her addiction, and so she did lose custody."
"I gave up hope,” says Wilson. “I gave up all hope. You could look in my eyes and there was no one there. The only thing I cared about was my next drink.”
Within a few years, her daughter faced a similar battle.
"I actively started using when I was 11," says Stoneberger.
It began with alcohol and marijuana, and, at age 13, Stoneberger experimented with crack cocaine. But the real trouble hit when she was in her late 20s, married, and with kids.
"I had become this awful person,” says Stoneberger. “So I was stealing from him [her husband] and I had my own medications that I was prescribed and I was getting it from other people and buying it. I was a mess."
Her addiction landed her in a jail cell when she was 32, but even that didn't offer her enough motivation to quit. When she got out of prison, she started using again.
“I was like, 'I'm gonna die this way,'” says Stoneberger.
Her mother was in the same kind of rut.
"I tried to kill myself,” says Wilson. “I tried to commit suicide because I couldn't take the pain. I didn't know how to deal with it."
But she eventually did deal with it with the help of Georgia’s Healing House. Now, she's 58 and has lived in the house for two years.
"Georgia's Healing House has saved me, coupled with the community,” says Wilson. “You know, it's taken a village."
While Wilson worked to kick her addiction here in Charlottesville, Stoneberger was trying to turn her life around at a recovery house in Richmond. It was during that time that the two reconnected.
“It was time for us to come back together,” says Stoneberger. "And there were some things between us that needed to be mended and still healed up, and we’re able to do that before we kinda go off on to our own separate paths.”
Wilson asked Stoneberger to come to Georgia's Healing House to work on her recovery process as well as their relationship.
“There was a little worry about being mother and daughter,” says Stoneberger. “Like, ‘oh how’s this gonna work?’ There's two addicts, and it could either blow up and be crazy or it could be really good."
So far it's been the latter, and Stoneberger and Wilson work to empower each other.
“I'm really proud of her,” says Stoneberger. “It's a lot. It takes a lot to change and to want that - to want to be different and take those steps in doing it. And it hurts sometimes. It's painful. It's uncomfortable recovering. It's not easy."
Although the journey to recovery is an ongoing one, both believe they will eventually leave the past in the past.
"I have the scars on my wrist to remind me of where I've been and where I can go again,” says Wilson.
Wilson and Stoneberger continue to live in Georgia’s Healing House and work daily to continue their work in curbing their addictions.
However, some past addicts who’ve spent time in the house have since moved out and continued on with their lives without a relapse. On Thursday, June 21, the final installment will introduce you to a nurse who lost everything to drugs but has since been able to pick up the pieces.