Before: Life was chaotic for Tameka before recovery. She lived in darkness. She was using crack/cocaine and lost her children to CPS. Tameka was homeless half her life.
After: Tameka has been sober since 12/28/18. She works her recovery daily, secured a job as a waitress, and lives in a women’s center with two roommates. She has a new perspective on life.
“I’m grateful now,” says Tameka. “I don’t have to look over my shoulder anymore. I don’t have to worry about where my next drug will come from.”
Tameka grew up in a tumultuous household, with a dad addicted to drugs and a mom who abandoned her. She never had anyone to guide her and always considered herself a victim of her circumstances.
As a result, Tameka skipped school and started drinking when she was 12. She became a young mom at 16, started smoking weed, smoked crack, and later turned to prostitution to pay for it all.
“My kids were taken from me by CPS, and I chose to live on the streets or the couch of a friend,” Tameka remarks.
While Tameka was on probation, she was arrested and sent to jail and to Judge Brock Thomas’ specialty court, Responsive Interventions for Change Docket, and given a second chance — but she continued to use drugs. Tameka expected to go back to jail after she didn’t show up for probation. When she came back to see her probation officer, she was introduced to Lisa Rizo, who partners full time with Probation Court as a peer recovery support specialist at Houston Recovery Center.
“She had compassion and wanted to help me,” Tameka says. “That made me want to go to rehab, because she trusted me.”
Tameka went to Cenikor treatment center for 30 days, then to sober living for several weeks, inpatient treatment, residence treatment and continues to work her recovery daily. Rizo provided recovery coaching and called and visited Tameka every week.
“It was good to have people push me through,” Tameka relates. “The most important thing is to stay in the middle of the program, because you don’t want to get too comfortable.”
A path of change
What three things have changed in Tameka’s life since working with Rizo and Houston Recovery Center? She says she has peace, sanity, and her character has changed.
“I’ve never held a job before, but now I have the drive to do better and am working,” Tameka relates. “I’m persistent and not giving up.”
Tameka is most proud of her sobriety, which is approaching a one-year anniversary.
“You must stay involved with the 12 Steps of Recovery. In AA, we learn to come together not separate,” she relates. “This helped me get connected with my Higher Power.”
Tameka recently accomplished one of her goals and purchased a vehicle as well as handled all the aspects of getting a valid driver’s license. Her advice to others: anyone can overcome an alcohol or drug problem.
“You must stand still long enough to accept help,” Tameka says. “People want to help you, even the authority. People are looking at me now as an inspiration.”