“I have a whole new outlook on life. I have hope.”
Jennifer and Chloe share the transformative power of a second chance at our Naples shelter.
My name is Jennifer Wellman, I am 46 years old, and I’ve been at the St. Matthew’s House shelter for six weeks.
I came to St. Matthews House with my daughter, Chloe. She’s 10 years old. I desperately needed help and came to get back on my feet and get recovery.
I started using when I was 30 years old. I was a nurse, so I had a great deal of access to narcotics. I also had a doctor who was very opioid-friendly. After a back injury, my addiction to pain medication began to take over. I quit nursing but I no longer had access to what I wanted. Opiates.
I then started smoking crack and everything fell apart. My husband is also an alcoholic and an addict, so our bills didn’t get paid, we lost our house, we lost our car, and we had to leave our daughter with our son. I thought it would just be a few weeks until we could get back on our feet.
Two weeks turned into three years.
Finally, I just couldn’t take it anymore. I missed my daughter terribly and I knew I couldn’t keep living this way. I just woke up and had a thought. I am responsible for my daughter. The only way I can be responsible is to be clean.
As a resident the Naples shelter at St. Matthew’s House, I am able to work and save money for an apartment. They provide everything we need. Being with my daughter is the second most important thing to me. The most important thing is that I stay clean. I can’t take care of my daughter if I don’t stay clean.
My hope is that I would be able to stay at St. Matthew’s House until I become financially stable. And I know Chloe wants a better birthday this year. My husband and I relapsed on her last birthday. We had no money, no food in the house, and we couldn’t take care of her. I don’t want to ever have that happen again.
I want the rest of her birthdays to be happy memories. So even though we may still be at St. Matthew’s House, we’re still going to have a happy birthday because I’m going to be clean.
I am very grateful. Very grateful, for this opportunity and a second chance.
St. Matthew’s House gave me that chance and I don’t want to let myself down, my daughter down, or St. Matthew’s House down, because they put their faith in me.
They gave their time and their resources to help me.
It’s just changed by my outward look on life. Today I have hope.