Client Success Story: Tammara S.
Before: Tammara allowed crack and alcohol to affect her life for 30 years. Jail was a revolving door for her with roughly 25 different jail stays. In 2014, she became homeless after fleeing from an abusive relationship. Her body became skin and bones.
Today: Tammara has a roof over her head, a positive outlook on life, and is not using drugs or alcohol. She graduated from Houston Recovery Center’s 18-month Partners in Recovery program in May 2019. She volunteers at an adult day care center and is making a difference for others. She joined a church where she attends regular services and bible study.
Tammara lived on the streets of Houston for three years and felt isolated. She was outside in the rain and cold wearing the same clothes for weeks. She was high every day and night, chasing the high for several days without eating or sleeping until her body shut down from exhaustion.
“I ended up on the streets of the Third Ward where I grew up, feeling hopeless,” says Tammara. “I just existed. I wouldn’t even consider myself living. It got to where I just wanted to end my life.”
Tammara ultimately got tired and didn’t care if the police picked her up. In her mind, if she went to jail, at least she would have a place to lay her head and food to eat. This last time, Tammara was living on the porch of an abandoned house, which was a “no trespassing” property. Police arrested her.
“I went in asking for help this time,” Tammara relates. “I made a decision I didn’t want to go back. I couldn’t handle another stay being homeless.”
Tammara’s attorney allowed her to go before the DA and judge in the Responsive Interventions for Change (RIC) court and ask for help. She said she was blessed to get 90-day probation and a treatment program at Santa Maria. Tammara says Santa Maria helped her stay focused, since she didn’t have to worry about having a roof over her head.
“If it wasn’t for programs like this and meeting Kearn (Recovery Support Specialist—Field Coach at Houston Recovery Center), I wouldn’t be here. I thank God for the treatment center and my home,” she says. “I just keep doing what I’m doing to stay out of trouble.”
“You must be ready in your heart. You will find a way to stay focused if you want it.”
While she was stable at Santa Maria, Tammara applied for disability, medical and dental benefits, and social security. She also received access to housing through the Aids Foundation Houston.
Tammara recently graduated from Houston Recovery Center’s 18-month program, Partners in Recovery. This program comprises six months of intensive case management and 18-months of peer recovery support. Shaw met with Kearn Ardoin for counseling throughout the program, and Michael Kelly supported her as case manager.
“Kearn lifts me up that it’s going to get better because I was at the bottom,” says Tammara. “She gives me encouraging words to stay focused, and that little push goes a long way. I’m so grateful for Kearn.”
Tammara says she prays for the next person needing help to realize that life is more than drugs.
“I was mistreating myself,” says Tammara. “Now when I put the key in my door and shut the door of my apartment, it was worth it all.”