You can read the full version of our January Newsletter here.
This month we are spotlighting one of our senior residents, Taylor! She wrote a beautiful piece about her journey toward healing and recovery! Thank you Taylor for sharing your story. We are grateful to have you at MSH!
I am Taylor. I am 27 years old and I have spent 15 of those years in addiction. My drug use started out with what I considered as nothing such as drinking with friends on the weekends. Little did I know that my late night blackouts would only be the start to the addiction that has held me hostage for so long. At the young age of 13, I found out that pills could help me slip away into a world of fantasy and block my emotions. When I was 18, I jumped into a rabbit hole I would soon get stuck in for the next 7 years of my life. This rabbit hole was called meth. Even though this dark hole took so much away from me it also led me to the greatest joy of my life. That joy is a little sweet someone I call Ruth.
In 2015, I found out I was going to be a mama. On September 12th, 2016 my daughter Hailynn Ruth Calvert entered the world. I had never been so terrified in my life. I felt every ounce of pressure on me. I could hear these little whispers of worry nonstop. Little words would drift into my mind like “don’t mess up, you have to be the perfect mom, etc.”. As the months of being a new mother were the sweetest times of my life and the happiest, I never felt like I was doing it right. I felt as if I was just going to mess my sweet little girls’ life up. So when she was about 8 months old, I did what I thought I needed to, what I thought everyone wanted of me, I threw myself back into my toxic love affair with meth and pills. I thought my little girl would be better off in the care of my mother who had already raised three littles of her own.
I spent the next two years deep in my addiction. I did whatever I could to not feel the pain of not being with my daughter. I believed I was not good enough for her. I didn’t believe that I could be the mother she deserved. I was in and out of jail and hospitals and in 2018 I had finally made the choice to get better. I turned myself in on a warrant so I could start fresh and be with my daughter and family. I made it to six months but sadly got lead astray once more. It felt like I had been fighting so hard and going nowhere in the situation. I was lost and I was scared that I was never going to change. One night I made another misguided mistake of relapse. Thankfully I got pulled over and for some reason I didn’t toss my drugs, nor did I pass them off to whom I was with. I held on to them and owned my choice for the first time ever. I got taken to jail and was sentenced to one year at Arkansas Community Corrections (ACC). When I was told that was where I would be going my mind went right to the show Locked Up or Orange is the New Black. Thankfully ACC was nothing like either; it was a place I could be myself. At ACC I was taught how to take responsibility for my actions rather than to avoid them. I saw that I am not the only one in the world that is the way I am. I was taught so many life changing things there. I never thought in my life that I would be where I am today both emotionally and mentally. I am no longer living in fear or doubt.
While I was at ACC I kept hearing these great things about Magdalene Serenity House. At first I was dead set on going home and being with my family. But the more I was taught “you have to change your people, place, and things” the more I found out that it is probably true. So one night I was reading my book and had a weird feeling I wasn’t doing something I should be doing, then it hit me “I should write a letter to MSH, the worst thing they can say is no”. They did not have a bed available but encouraged me to keep checking in. I did not give up for 8 months. I kept writing. I kept writing because I wanted so badly to be a changed person. I knew I still needed help with life. I was like a little fawn walking around without a clue as to what to do in order to survive in such a new world to me. I knew in my gut from the second I heard about Magdalene Serenity House that I needed to be there. It was like GOD himself was telling me to keep trying and to not give up for myself and for my family. So, I didn’t.
While I have been here at Magdalene Serenity House there are a million things I have learned. The biggest thing I have learned while here is finding a balance in myself, something I have never really known how to do. I’m either all head and zero heart or the other way around. Since being here I’ve been able to really see the way that impacts my life and my choices. Finding this balance is an ongoing process for me and something I have to think about in my day to day life. I am now able to see beautiful changes in myself and I know I would never have been able to make these changes without the help from everyone at MSH.
One of my biggest accomplishments while being at MSH would definitely be the fact that I made a huge choice to not give up. When I first got to the house I was faced with a difficult situation. My mama and her husband wanted to adopt my daughter. The part of me that was scared of conflict and thought this was what my daughter needed, wanted to sign the papers. However, being at MSH I was able to walk through this situation and see that if I were to do this it wouldn’t be any different than my choices four years ago. I would have felt like I gave up and I never wanted her to think I took the easy road out. So I made the choice not to give up, to not do what those sneaky little voices of doubt whispered in my ear. I chose to be her mama.
My future’s so much different than what I would have ever thought it to be. I plan to go back to school and finish what I need to in order to move past my past. I want to go back to work in the medical world. Even in today’s pandemic world I still miss taking care of people. I am looking to start my own farm and work with cattle and goats all while getting to be a mother to my sweet little one and be a part of my family again.
To all of you in recovery and looking to make changes to your life I will tell you “don’t ever give up no matter how hard it get, nor how your feelings make you feel, don’t stop moving forward because it gets pretty incredible conquering all of what you never thought you could and I have faith that you can and will do it.”
-Taylor, Senior Resident
We are excited to welcome back Ashley Wardlaw, LMSW, to our team as our full-time Program Director. After thoughtful consideration, we decided to dedicate a full-time position to resident care and program management. April Bachrodt, our Executive Director, will shift out of resident care and move into managing fundraising and development. April will continue oversight of the organization and its staff. We are all thrilled to have Ashley back on the team and look forward to the new year!
- We have a full house and our residents continue to achieve their goals and move forward in their recovery. Check out the infographic below to see how hard our staff and residents worked in 2020!
- We have raised a little over $65,000 for renovations at our new Aftercare House. A big thank you to everyone who has contributed to this program addition. Want to contribute to this project? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Callie, our most recent graduate, got a new job as a Peer Recovery Support Specialist through Arisa Health. We are extremely proud of her!
- One of our senior residents started a new job working at Lifestyles caring for adults with disabilities. Lifestyles emailed us to say thank you for sending over such a great employee!
- One of our Phase One residents is preparing her portfolio to move into Phase Two and looking for employment. Any leads on potential employment opportunities can be sent to email@example.com.
- Did you know that interested folks can download our application online? Folks can also apply for admission over the phone by calling 479-301-2326.
Want to support our residents? We keep an up-to-date list of current needs on our Amazon Wish List. Check it out today!
Are you following us on Instagram and Facebook? We post daily pictures and updates on what we are up to at Magdalene Serenity House. Give us a follow and share widely with your friends. We appreciate your support!
New Intern Spotlight
My name is Melanie Massey and I graduated from the University of Arkansas in 2018 with a degree in Communications and a minor in Social Work. I am currently in my first year pursuing my Masters in Social Work and I am so excited that I get to spend a semester at Magdalene Serenity House. I heard about Magdalene Serenity House a few years ago and ever since then I have always wanted to be involved in some capacity. I have always had a passion to help others and to provide support and care. I am very excited and feel honored to be on the team and to get to know everyone!
How to Help
- We miss our volunteers and look forward to the day we can have them safely involved in our day-to-day program. In the mean time, there are several ways to make a difference in the lives of our residents. Check out the options below!
- Become a monthly donor. Every dollar helps us continue to rebuild lives and reunify families. Sign up for a monthly gift today!
- Purchase an item off our Amazon Wish List. We keep our list up-to-date with current resident needs. Every item goes directly to supporting our residents on their healing journey.
- Follow us on social media. Sharing and liking our posts helps us gain more visibility in the larger community. Please spread the word so folks can learn more about our free, long-term comprehensive program.