For several years, Trista, a mother of four children ranging in age from 10 to 16, struggled with serious substance abuse problems that made it impossible to care for her children. She lost custody and had stints of homelessness as she lived the life of a drug addict.

She was surrounded by friends and family who fueled her addictions and made it more difficult for her to recognize that she needed help. When Trista did try to give up drugs, her own mother would use drugs in front of her, making any effort towards recovery impossible.

Her downward spiral lead to a heroin addiction and losing custody of her kids for the first time. Devastated by losing them, Trista vowed never to use it again. The promise was short-lived, and after getting her children back, she turned to using crack and lost custody of them again. Trista found herself homeless and living in abandoned houses in the middle of winter.

Pressley Ridge and the HOMEBUILDERS® Program

After hitting rock bottom, Trista moved in with her aunt and entered an intensive outpatient drug rehabilitation program that met for three hours three times per week for three months.  Determined to get and stay clean, Trista went through the program three times totaling nine months of treatment. She knew she had to stick with it to be able to restart her life sober.

Early in her recovery, Trista regained custody of her youngest child and enrolled in the HOMEBUILDERS® program through Pressley Ridge where she met Amy Cowley.

“Amy changed my life. The HOMEBUILDERS® Program taught me how to take small steps that would help me get my life back on track.”

From setting personal goals to helping with rides to the food pantry and connecting Trista with resources, the HOMEBUILDERS® program helped her get back on track and stay focused on what it would take to turn her life around.

She credits Amy with acts of personal kindness that she will never forget, including holiday gifts for her family. She learned through Amy that someone believing in you makes all the difference.

After she was just beginning to straighten out her life, she experienced a devastating house fire in which she lost everything. Pressley Ridge rallied to help Trista and get her back on track.

Despite the many times she was knocked down, Trista remained steadfast in her conviction that she had to get back up and keep going. Amy’s confidence in her and her willingness to go above and beyond her call of duty was a big motivating factor for Trista.

“I feel like I don’t deserve the recognition as much as Amy does for making a difference in my life and helping me see what I was able to do.”

One Day a Time

One of Trista’s goals was to drive again, but she had to pay off her car expenses and past fines – which totaled nearly $7,000 – and obtain registration, insurance, and a new driver’s license. She took the written and driving test, purchased a car and even paid to have the car repaired—all on her own.

Now, Trista has custody of her two youngest children and has been sober for over two years. Her two older children live nearby with their father, and she spends time with them every week. She avoids the social settings and people who used to trigger her addictions. Instead, she enjoys spending time with her kids, working out, and doing crafts like crocheting and painting, and she continues to work on her goals.

“I’m only half-way there. I missed a lot of time with my kids, and I will never get that time back”

Trista knows how far she has come, and that people die from their addictions every day. Her goals have changed and now she would love to go back to college.

“Now I can be a good example to my kids, and I have so much more to strive for. I had to reprogram my life and it’s not easy. You have to really want it, and I do.”

For Trista, the goals she accomplished were an inspiration and the help and guidance from Amy, Pressley Ridge is precious to her.

“Amy is a beautiful person. Everybody needs an angel, and she is mine.”