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When UGM Spokane expanded to Coeur d’Alene in 2012, there were no other long-term recovery programs available for women and children in North Idaho. We saw a need to serve single women and women with children who were caught in cycles of homelessness, abuse, and addiction. We recognized that, for those engaged in self-destructive patterns, it takes more than food and shelter to find lifelong freedom; it takes healing from underlying wounds, new life skills, a safe community, and new friends who will not pull you back into old behaviors.

Over the last eleven years, Rose, Jo, Helen, and many others have chosen the path to lifelong recovery at the Center for Women and Children in Coeur d’Alene.


 


RoseRose – 3 years clean

June 2020. Rose’s youngest son purchased her a plane ticket to Spokane and encouraged her to go to the UGM Center for Women and Children. Up to this point, her life had been defined by loss, loneliness, and self-hatred. Having grown up with an absent father, when her husband became abusive to her and their three children, she stayed with him. “I wanted my kids to have their dad—even though he wasn’t good to them.” After the kids were grown, he passed away, followed by her mom, her brother, and then her only daughter. “It got worse after that. It was meth all day long. I didn’t want to feel the loss.” And then she lost her home. 

 

“I didn't want to feel the loss.”

 

In UGM LIFE Recovery, Rose was surrounded by people who loved her. Here, the Lord helped her identify the old wounds of loneliness and grief, and they began to heal. As she healed, she found she no longer wanted to numb her emotions. “I have a good life,” she told us. “Everybody here loves me. I don’t even think about drugs anymore.” In June 2022, she completed Recovery and moved into an apartment of her own. Since she’s retired, living on a fixed income, Rose keeps busy through volunteer service and helping a friend from program with her childcare needs. She also launched Rose’s Sewing Class, an elective class that she teaches every Monday night to incoming program participants. 

In March this year, she faced an enormous challenge on her journey to lifelong recovery: she allowed some guests to move into her apartment and they immediately started smoking fentanyl and meth. Desperate not to relapse, she called her friends at UGM. Following their advice, she exited her guests and moved back in at the Center for a few weeks of free counseling and community support. “It felt like coming home.” 

In May, she received her three-year sobriety coin surrounded by friends who she now considers family. 

 


Jo – 5 years clean

March 2018. Jo collapsed on a sidewalk along Sprague Ave., cold, tired, alone, and sick. She’d been living on the streets for two years and smoking heroin to hide from the memories of a hurtful past. Growing up, she’d been relentlessly bullied, and more recently, she’d endured a traumatizing assault. “I no longer felt worthy of anybody’s time or attention.” But that night in 2018, she came face to face with the reality that life on the streets was killing her. She’d heard of UGM but didn’t know much about our services. She just came for a meal and a bed. 

Jo

At the UGM Crisis Shelter, Jo received hope for a new life. In a chapel service, she sensed an overwhelming reassurance from the Lord that this was where she belonged. Soon, she entered UGM Women’s LIFE Recovery and transferred to the Center in Coeur d’Alene.

 

“God’s Word says

I am beautifully and

wonderfully made.”

 

Through counseling, trauma therapy, and lots of practice within a loving community, Jo proved to herself that her past experiences did not define her. Healing those wounds helped her gain freedom from addiction. “I was using drugs when I felt attacked or when I didn’t feel worthy, but now I’m learning to spot those moments, identify them, and grab the gospel. God’s Word says I am beautifully and wonderfully made.”

In 2021, Jo completed Recovery and moved into UGM’s supportive housing adjacent to the Center. She was offered a full-time job at the place that hosted her business practicum, and in March this year, she received her five-year sobriety coin surrounded by close friends. 

We asked her what made ongoing recovery possible for her, especially after finishing program: “The hardest part for me was filling my free time with healthy, godly activities. My support team has been essential in that. Now I work full time, attend Aftercare, and when I'm needed, I fill in as a Resident Assistant at the Center.”

 


Helen – 10 years sober

Summer 2013. Helen put on an oversized coat, walked through the entrance of a Coeur d’Alene area supermarket, and headed for the liquor department. For several months, she’d been living on the streets, stealing vodka, and drinking from the moment she woke up to the moment she blacked out. “During that time, I lost my dignity. I thought there was no hope for me.”

Helen2

Helen’s troubles started within her marriage. “I hadn’t realized the background of my ex-husband. He was an alcoholic, he was into drugs. I’d never seen that.” When her now ex became physically abusive, she discovered that vodka numbed the pain. Eventually, she went to jail for driving under the influence. When she got out, she chose not to return to her husband. For months, she wandered the streets. 

It was her friend Kathy who insisted she get help. Helen went to the Center for Women and Children. “It took me some time to get out of my addiction. You can’t snap out of it in 24 hours. But I was determined to get this negativity out of my system.” Her sobriety journey was largely a journey of healing from trauma. “It took me years to get over that. I still have memories… I had to overcome quite a bit with the support of my friends to guide me.” 

Helen finished program in 2015. She went back to college, and today, she’s a Certified Medical Assistant. This year, she reached a huge milestone: ten years of sobriety. 

 

“During that time,

I lost my dignity. I thought

there was no hope for me.”



We asked her what has made long-term recovery possible: “Keeping myself in God’s word, keeping myself in my journal, and if I had any issues, I would just call my mentor and she would guide me or she would come over and sit with me. Also, continuing to share my testimony… people would ask me to coffee. These people all became friends of mine. I don’t have any of my old friends. I surrounded myself.” 


People are hurt in relationships; therefore, people heal in relationships. At UGM, we don’t just treat the symptoms, we provide whole-person healing within a safe, loving community. Our prayer for every individual who comes through our programs is that they would continue to surround themselves with friends who care about their wellbeing. This healing community includes you, our partners who pave a pathway to recovery through ongoing support.

 

View the print version of the June Mission News.

 

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