‘It Was My Wake-up Call’

‘It Was My Wake-up Call’

As Sabrina sat in a dingy hotel room, overwhelmed by depression and anger, she worried about what would happen to her and her children.

She had a job, but her wages fueled her drug habit. A single mother of five, Sabrina often relied on help from her father to pay rent and other bills. However, in 2017, tired of her substance abuse, her father decided to stop enabling her. He cut Sabrina off.

"At the time … I didn’t understand because I was in denial and because I was using, so I was pretty angry."


Unable to pay rent, Sabrina and her family were evicted. Social Services placed her in a hotel in Auburn, but the hotel allowed only four people per room. Three of her children went with Sabrina, but her 15-year-old son was forced to sleep on a friend’s couch.

“I lost a piece of my heart,” Sabrina says, her voice cracking as she recalls being separated from her children. A local agency referred Sabrina to the Auburn Rescue Mission, in order to reunite the family. Sabrina was relieved to bring her children together under one roof again. Her new apartment was clean and the case manager she met was warm and welcoming.

“I couldn’t believe it. It was the best first step of my life,” she says.

Despite the improved living arrangements, Sabrina continued to experience mental and emotional distress. Her depression was debilitating – she struggled to get out of bed each morning. She worried if she got up she would use drugs to cover her emotions. Because drugs were always getting the best of Sabrina.

One night, Sabrina’s case manager found her unconscious in her car in the parking lot. She was almost dead. Sabrina says she had used drugs after her shift at work, and passed out. She had finally hit rock bottom.

"My [case manager] finding me there was, I think, my wake-up call. I needed to do something different for my children because I wasted 41 years of my life on drugs. Here I am homeless with my kids. How fair is it to drag my kids into the situation we are in?"


Things slowly improved.

Sabrina entered a drug and alcohol program. The Rescue Mission connected her to mental health counseling. She and her children began weekly family counseling sessions, recently completing the six-month program. She says support from staff and other families helped her move forward with recovery while caring for her family.

“It really took a lot of pressure off of me to try to get out of my depression and get clean and sober,” she says.

Sabrina says her children regularly participate in Rescue Mission activities such as youth group meetings, day trips and summer camp. Her son also receives tutoring through the Rescue Mission.

If she still needs help or someone to talk things through with, Sabrina turns to her case manager. She says her case manager has become her go-to person. “The Rescue Mission staff care deeply about the residents they work with,” Sabrina says, even if that sometimes means dishing out some tough love.

"And they’re not going to start sugar-coating things. They’re going to tell you how it is."


Sabrina’s goal for the future is simple, “I want each day to be better than the day before,” she says.

She’s achieving that goal one step at a time. Sabrina has reconnected and made amends with her father. He is proud of her and the progress she’s made. Moreover, she’s proud of her strengthened relationship with her children. Her voice beaming, she states, “I’m the best mom that I’ve ever been in my whole life right now.”

She is grateful for all the help and support she has received. “Being at the Rescue Mission, it changed my life.”

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