Fighting with insurance companies is a very frustrating process. When the treatment center couldn’t keep her longer than 3 days, I was absolutely panic stricken. I was on the phone with insurance for HOURS, begging them to approve her for a longer stay. Since she didn’t have a history on file of substance abuse, they felt outpatient therapy was what she needed. How can they make that decision on someone’s life?! Brittany was petrified to leave. “Mom, please do something. I’m so scared.”.
The rehab suggested she go to a halfway house. Halfway? Isn’t that where felons go after prison?! Ummm, NO WAY. This was all so new to me, this world of addiction. I had no idea that halfways, or sober living homes, were actually a very good thing. These are structured homes, where the clients living there pay rent, must remain drug free, get a job, have curfews, chores and must attend 12 Step meetings. An inspirational environment with support, morning meditation, yoga and women who have the same goals. OK! This sounds much better! A safe place for her to get her life back on track, while my own home can remain chaos free.
She moved into this home, which was about an hour away from my house. Since it was so far, there was no way that I could drive her places, meetings, a job, etc. I worked full time and traveled quite a bit. One of my best friends, who is this amazing, incredible woman, had given Brittany a car a few months prior, with the promise that Brittany must stay on track and go to college. Once she got deep into her active addiction, we took the car away. But now, she needed some wheels.
Within a week, Brittany found a job and was ecstatic. She didn’t like living in the halfway, she shared a room with 2 other women who were both in their 60’s. She had a hard time connecting, after all she was only 19 years old. So working and being out of the house as much as possible, was a relief to her. When she got her first paycheck, we invited her over for dinner to celebrate. Thinking back, its incredulous to me how we once were so excited to see what college she would attend, to now celebrating victories like her first paycheck after rehab. We felt so hopeful for the first time, in a long time.
On her drive over to our house for dinner, she called me. “On my way mom! Can’t wait to see you guys!!”. I had the table set, her favorite meal of beef stroganoff simmering, and a present of some new jammies. Her sister Brooke, who is 12 years younger, had made her a card and we were anxiously excited for some long overdue, quality family time.
Then I received the call.
“Mom!!! Please help me, I just got jumped!!”. What?! How? What the hell is going on?! “Brittany honey, where are you?!!”. “I’m at I-75 and McNichols mom, please help me”. My heart stopped. I gripped the phone in fear, my body trembling. I knew exactly where she was…it was her dealer’s house.
She told me years later that as she was driving over, she was so happy, singing to music in the car, feeling so positive. But that feeling stopped almost at once, and a force greater than her came upon her. She was going to be passing by her dealer’s area in just a few minutes. She had just gotten paid. She said it felt like the car just drove itself there…she doesn’t even really remember it clearly. She parked, went to the house (the same house she had previously overdosed in), bought the drugs, shot up in her car and drove down the side street. She nodded out at the wheel and crashed into a pole. Now her car was not drivable, so she started walking…in a VERY bad area of Detroit.
Two men came up behind her and attacked her. They dragged her into a field and beat her. She fought hard, kicked, screamed, cried out, but no one came to help. She was then raped.
The men took off running. And as she curled into a ball, crying, bloody and bruised, the first thought that came into her head after was “I gotta get high”.
Heroin was back in control.