Determined to Live
Terissa’s history of trauma began when she was just an infant. Her mother, who also suffered from drug addiction, couldn’t care for her, and she was raised by her grandparents. This early trauma was never resolved and, by adolescence, Terissa had turned to drugs. Drugs took their toll. Terissa spent much of her young life either homeless or in and out of jail. She got pregnant and endured the trauma of an abusive relationship. Suffering hallucinations, she became suicidal and was diagnosed with schizophrenia. Her baby daughter was placed in foster care.
Lonely for her daughter and determined to end her drug dependence, Terissa admitted herself to Prototypes’ Oxnard Women’s Center where she would be able to address both her addiction and mental illness. Terissa spent six months as a full-time resident learning coping skills, then spent seven more months in Prototypes’ Bridges transitional living program.
“Prototypes’ staff really care,” Terissa says, “and the other women in the program help hold each other accountable.” Terissa’s hard work paid off. In an unprecedented move, the court awarded her shared custody of her little girl. Now four years old, her daughter lives with her full-time and is a happy, healthy preschooler.
Terissa recently married. She is currently in college studying to be a drug and alcohol counselor.
Juandrita Ford, MA, MFTI – Terissa’s Prototypes counselor – believes that patience and unwavering support are essential to recovery. “Prototypes gave Terissa a safe place to live, which in turn gave her time so she could work through her issues,” she says. “And we provided guidance along the way. Our patience and positive attitude are unconditional.”