“I deserve to be happy and I’m worth something”

 

For seven years, Laura was a slave to crack cocaine. She was driven to the streets to support her habit, and ended up losing everything. Here’s how CEASE helped Laura get her life back.

 

Laura was 25 when she first tried crack cocaine. A friend introduced her to the drug, and it wasn’t long before Laura’s life was consumed by the desperation of addiction. She needed her next fix, and in order to get it, she needed money. Fast.

She was told she could earn extra cash by turning tricks over the phone and on Internet chat lines. Laura did this for a while, but her habit eventually drove her to the streets. She was involved in the sex trade for seven years. During that time, she lost everything: her life, her freedom, and — worst of all — her three children.

One night, a worker from the Crossroads Street Outreach Van talked with Laura about the supports available if she ever wanted out. One of those supports was CEASE.

So when she was ready, Laura sought out CEASE. After spending time with the staff, she experienced a dramatic shift in her perspective. “I just started thinking that my life is better, and I can learn so much more, and I deserve to be happy, and I’m worth something.”

Through CEASE, Laura was able to receive counseling, attend to a peer support group, and volunteer with the organization.

After just one month of sobriety, Laura decided to go back to school, and CEASE provided her with a bursary to make it happen. For the past year and a half, she has been a support worker for formerly-homeless individuals. It’s her dream job. And for the past six years, Laura has stayed clean and sober.

But the biggest change, the highlight of Laura’s life, was getting her kids back. Three years ago, she was able to obtain temporary custody of her children, and last January the courts awarded her permanent guardianship.

“Whether I’m clean or not, I find that I still have to have supports,” says Laura. “I still have to have somebody … I can go to. And CEASE is that person.”