Single mom and son struggle to make ends meet
Editor’s note: Light One Candle is an annual series sponsored by the Mail Tribune that focuses on an individual, group or organization that could use a helping hand during the holiday season. Once that need is filled, donations may be distributed to others in need.
Raised in a chaotic household of drug and alcohol addicts, this Medford woman learned to roll a joint before riding a bicycle.
Recently celebrating her first year of sobriety since age 11, this 44-year-old single mother works full time but is hard-pressed to provide for her teenage son. A comfortable pair of walking shoes would soothe her feet during 12-hour shifts, while gift cards for gas and groceries would leave a little left over for holiday gifts.
Her brother’s death last year devastated her, fueling her resolve to tackle addiction head-on. Two of her sisters had completed OnTrack Rogue Valley’s HOME Program and encouraged her to seek the same treatment. She successfully graduated in April and moved into one of OnTrack’s clean-and-sober apartment complexes with her 15-year-old boy.
Painfully aware that children can inherit their parents’ addictions, she said she never knew alcohol was a drug, even as she drank a fifth of gin a day, accompanied with 20 to 30 pills — a mix of whatever opioids she could get. Previously, she used methamphetamine after her parents — heavy marijuana users — divorced when she was 11. The woman said she’s been rewarded a “million-fold” for the “emotional roller-coaster ride” of her sobriety.
“At one point, I said, ‘If this is what sober feels like, I don’t want to do it!’”
Her determination paid off, however, with a surprise Thanksgiving weekend visit with her older children and her grandchildren to celebrate her success. The woman gave birth at age 15 to the first of her six children.
She enjoys and finds meaning in her work as a caregiver for elderly and disabled adults, but is challenged every month to make ends meet and pay her utilities. Her son would enjoy gift cards to Target or JCPenney, where his mother also could shop for work-appropriate shoes in women’s size 9 1/2.
To help, call Eddie Wallace at OnTrack Rogue Valley, 541-200-2402.
Follow this year’s Light One Candle stories at mailtribune.com/news/light-one-candle/. See Monday’s e-edition for the story of two Medford parents with an 11-month-old daughter whose cupboards are nearly bare, even after using nutrition assistance and local food pantries.