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Amelia, age 29, is sitting in the living room at Hallie House in Middletown, one of The Connection’s three programs for pregnant or parenting women in recovery from addictions. Her son Skyler was born in October 2015.

Amelia grew up in Meriden and New Britain and has struggled with addictions since she was a teenager. The path that led to her addiction is a common one. “I had back surgery when I was 14, and was given pain medications. Over time, I became dependent and then started misusing.” Amelia’s substance use continued until she was in her early twenties. But soon after her six-year-old son was born, she went a program to address her addictions. “I’d lost custody of my kids and wanted to get them back,” she says.

Amelia was in the rehabilitation program for eight and one-half months, did well, and regained custody of her children. She stayed clean for four years and worked to support her family. But everything changed when Amelia was diagnosed with cervical cancer.

She began chemotherapy, and then opted for surgery. The chemotherapy, surgery and recovery had devastating effects. “I lost my job, and then slowly lost my apartment and had to send my kids to live with their dads.” And she spiraled further downward. “Since I’d lost everything, there was nothing left to lose except my sobriety — and that went as well.”

Horrified by her relapse, she began looking for a recovery program within a month after she had started using again — and found Hallie House. “They never babied me. Staff and I decided what I needed to work on. They were very supportive — I’m really grateful.” One of the best decisions Amelia made was to engage fully in therapy.

“Therapy has helped me see things from different points of view, and to grow as a person, moving forward rather than being stuck in the past. Before I used to shut myself off, and procrastinate, but now I’m much more forward thinking and acting. Therapy is tough — I don’t really like going, but it’s helping me.”

Amelia graduated from the Hallie House program on November 24, and moved into her own apartment on November 30. Skyler is thriving and his father “one of the best things that’s happened to me,” will be an integral part of their lives. She is currently cancer-free and hopes for the best.

Amelia’s plans for the future include receiving her high school diploma, regaining custody of all her children, and enrolling in a program to be trained as a substance abuse counselor. “I want to try to use my relapse as a lesson. I want to take my struggle and turn it into my triumph to help other people.”

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