An Opportunity for Change

Elizabeth H. home life seemed rather normal.  One of six siblings born in a middle-class family to a stay-at-home mom and her father who was a self-employed CPA. .

Things changed after high school, when she told her stern disciplinarian father that she was not going into the  Air Force. That decision forced her to leave her family home at 18. Soon after, she married her high school sweetheart and she had their first son, Randy.  The couple bought their first home and soon welcomed their daughter, Jill.

Full-time Mom, Employee and Student.

In addition to being a full time mom, Elizabeth worked full time at her father’s business doing bookkeeping, tax returns, and accounting. “I enjoyed the work. It was challenging.” This self-admitted numbers person also was going to school to earn an associates degree in business administration.

As the years grew, her marriage was in trouble. Physical and mental abuse was commonplace. With the birth of her third son, Aric, she vowed to never let the children see or hear the abuse that was going on at home. She had also begun drinking.

By 2001, Elizabeth knew it was time to leave her marriage. She withdrew her retirement, and rented a house that was next door to a neighborhood bar.  “The drinking worsened, and I lost custody of my children,” she said.

A Successful Career Cut Short

In spite of her drinking, she  continued to have a successful career as a bookkeeper working for a travel agency in Washington, DC for a time, but eventually lost that too. Drinking was a major part of her life. She and her new boyfriend continued with the drinking scene.  After they married their drinking slowed down and eventually stopped when she was pregnant with their child, Christian, born in 2003.

But addiction became a part of their lives again. Her husband was using painkillers for chronic back problems, and she began using them for menstrual pain. By 2005, their addictions led to legal trouble. They were able to get treatment and get their lives back on track.

Raising Christian was a challenge for Elizabeth and her husband. A school psychologist diagnosed him with anxiety, depression, and a mood disorder.  He struggled to fit into school. Frustrated with the school system, Elizabeth and her husband decided to try online school as an option that better suited his needs. Soon Christian stopped attending online school and Elizabeth and her husband were both sentenced to jail for his truancy.

The challenges continued with Christian and her husband’s work became sporadic. They were evicted from their home and lived at a hotel. Through the many difficulties, she remained sober and repaired fractured relationships with her children and experienced the joys of being a grandmother to her grandchildren, Bo, Jack, and Roslyn. 

Tragedy and Living on the Brink.

Tragedy struck in 2018, when her husband David and his coworker were killed in a car accident on their way home from work.  While she and Christian were grieving their loss, she withdrew, and was not there physically or mentally for him. In his grief and anger, he became abusive with her. Soon, Elizabeth’s addiction had returned with a vengeance. Insurance proceeds that were meant to help her rebuild their lives was gone in less than a year. She had hit rock bottom, again. Her sister convinced her to go to rehab. That meant moving to PA, leaving Christian in her care and commitment to a clean and sober lifestyle. While she was in sober living, she met her current boyfriend and fell in love. They left sober living, and stayed sober for a time. But eventually, trouble caused by a brief relapse, landed him in jail, and Elizabeth was forced to live in her car at a local Walmart. Although her relationship with her sister was in ruins, her sister and brother in law intervened after finding her living in her car. That’s when Elizabeth contacted Opportunity House. She knew she needed to change her life forever.

Success through Safety, Stability and Support.

Today, Elizabeth is enjoying the stability and support of the Opportunity House team. With their help, she can focus on rebuilding important family relationships, obtaining necessary documents for employment, and she remains committed to being clean and sober. She has a plan for the next chapter of her life that includes securing employment, finding stable housing, and having safe and healthy relationships with her family and loved ones.



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