This blog comes to you from the pen of one of our client advocates
Ms. Forrest is slowly dragged into the shelter doors by her daughter, Becky. Becky walks in purposefully, knowing exactly what she wishes to accomplish while Ms. Forrest drags her feet and stares at the floor. Both are impatient after several days of attempting to connect with resources with no success. I greet them and invite them to sit down and discuss their situation. Becky produces a notepad with pages of diligent notes. She dives into the details of her mother’s current situation while Ms. Forrest attempts to make herself as small and unnoticeable as possible. Becky retells the saga of her mother’s recent broken relationship, dive into alcohol abuse, and resulting legal and familial issues. The overarching message is that Ms. Forrest is no longer allowed to stay at Becky’s home and is in need of shelter while she attempts to repair the shattered foundation of her life.
The interaction concludes with Ms. Forrest slowly plodding towards the women’s room while Becky watched. Concern is written across Becky’s face with only the slightest glimmer of hope remaining.
Ms. Forrest emerges from the women’s room and trudges towards the table I am working at. Her eyes sparkle but her demeanor is solemn. She sits and after some small talk divulges that her court appearance is fast approaching. She states that this is her first experience with the legal system and is nervous because she cannot afford the expensive lawyer she had hoped to represent her. I ask her what issue was at the heart of her legal troubles. “Alcohol”, she replies.
However, that faint sparkle in her eyes ignites into a full blaze. She states that she is approaching three months without a drink and recounts the various efforts she has made to reach that point. She states that she has connected with a like-minded community of people, is attending therapy, is making weekly medical appointments to prove her continued sobriety, and is actively repairing relationships that broke down throughout her drinking.
As she recounts all her efforts her shoulders begin to rise, her chin lifts, and the shroud of worry begins to lift. She is ready for her day in court and begins to discuss her plans moving forward. Pending a favorable decision, she intends to relocate closer to family and assist in fixing up one of the family homes. In that moment, she is no longer sitting in a loud chaotic shelter. She is in her soon to be front yard, pointing out the repairs she would like to make both with the house and her family. She smiles.
In concluding our interaction, Ms. Forrest expressed her thanks to me. I quickly point out that any credit is due to her and her alone. She walks back towards her bed with a weightlessness and ease that did not exist a few short months prior.