There’s nothing quite as strong as a mother’s love. The moment her baby was born, Sereeta knew she would fight with everything she had to keep her son. She never wanted to feel the pain of giving up her child again.
Since she was 19 years old, Sereeta struggled with addiction. She went to rehab and stayed sober for six years. But then, she became a victim of domestic violence and lost custody of her five children. Losing her children led to a relapse, and she found herself battling not only her partner, but also the addiction again.
“I could not get away from him. He would try to control me.”
Desperate to escape the violence, she left and began living on the streets. She slept at a shopping center and tried to find resources for help. At a charity donations center, she was approached by a woman who wanted to help. She got her in touch with Cedar House to overcome her meth and marijuana addictions, and that’s when Sereeta’s life began to change.
“I knew I wanted a change but didn’t know how.”
After years of struggle and hardship, Sereeta developed problems with anger management. She didn’t know how to channel the anger and disappointment she was feeling. It surprised her to find that the staff at Cedar House were willing to work with her and had faith that she could turn things around.
“I saw that different people had hope in me.”
Just a week after moving to Cedar House, she was hospitalized due to complications with her pregnancy. During her three weeks in the hospital, she regularly called Cedar House for reassurance that everything would be okay.
“I didn’t want to lose my son. I didn’t want to feel that pain again.”
Sereeta endured an 8-hour surgery and a blood transfusion, but her baby was born healthy! The next day, she was broken hearted when a police officer and a social worker arrived in her hospital room to deliver papers telling her that she wouldn’t be taking her baby home.
Four days after her son was born, Sereeta left the hospital and returned to Cedar House determined to make a change.
“That’s when I believe my journey started. I was fighting for that little boy. I never fought so hard for anything in my life.”
With 34 staples from surgery and a fierce resentment of many of the people in her life, Sereeta had a hard time adjusting. She continued to struggle with anger management and the trauma of her life before treatment.
“The first month was hard. It was a battle for me.”
During her six months at Cedar House, Sereeta overcame her addiction; she learned to manage her anger; and she grew in her faith.
“I didn’t realize God had something else in store for me. I just had to trust in the process.”
From Cedar House, Sereeta moved on to other transitional housing and eventually got to have overnights with her son. On August 22, that led to extended stays with her son, and finally on September 5 she earned full custody of her baby boy.
Today, Sereeta is a Full time Civic Engagement Specialist for a charitable foundation. She lives in an apartment with her son and spends every other weekend with all of her children. She’s been clean for 20 months!
“I have established leadership skills, budgeting skills, and learned how to be a productive member of society as a mother.”
Looking back at her experience at Cedar House, Sereeta recalls the “true, honest support” she found there. She can’t begin to express the love she feels for the staff. The Acceptance Prayer she was given during her time at Cedar House took her a long way through her journey, and she knows that gifts like that are steps the staff takes that are well beyond their job description. The caring staff at Cedar House goes above and beyond for clients like Sereeta every day.
“If it wasn’t for Cedar House, I would still be traumatized by the domestic violence. The staff members showed me love like I’ve never been shown before.”
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