When a person wakes up addicted, the plan for the day is always the same: get money, buy drugs. They don’t hope for an alternative— substances seem to be the only alternative. They feel stuck in the lifestyle.
Cindy Gomez Dandridge was born into the lifestyle. Her mother kept a drug-infested home, and Cindy and her brother were subject to abuse and neglect. Somehow, she got good grades in elementary school, but she was struggling. By her middle school years, Cindy started running away from home and staying with friends or a boyfriend. She started drug use at 14 and had her first baby when she was 18.
It wasn’t until Cindy helped an 80-year old man inject heroin that she made the decision to do something different. “Life was beginning to stand still and I asked, ‘Who am I?’ I came to the Restoration Center for detox— the four scariest days of my life. The substances had been removed and I had to face life with all the stuff that I had piled on over the years,” said Cindy.
Detox staff introduced her to The Center’s In-House Recovery Program (IHRP), which requires a commitment to stay sober. “I was really scared, because my comfort zone had become the way I had lived for so long, but I was willing to make that leap of faith to transition to IHRP,” she said. “The wonderful thing about The Center is that it touches every aspect of a person’s broken life. You have enough time away from the chaos to sit still and think about the changes that need to be made in your life. They give you hope.”
Cindy stayed at the Haven for Hope campus for four months. She found a job, enrolled in college to become a Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor (LCDC) and began working with Judge Ernie Glenn and the Ministry of the Third Cross.
Today, Cindy is happily married, interning with The Center and raising her two grandchildren. Cindy tells the women she works with that there is a way out— there is life after drugs. “Recovery taught me how to love again. Without love, you have nothing.”