Imagine waking up one day and deciding that you are going to rob a store to purchase enough dope to kill yourself, and if you don’t make it that far and get caught….at least you’ll get the help you need.
That is how Jennifer Clay woke up on Easter Sunday of 2015.
Clay had been in a car accident when she was 18 and was prescribed pain medication that she quickly developed an addiction to. Once her prescription ran out, she turned to illicit pills and then, heroin. She had been maintaining a job at a hospital, her house, bills, and her car.
However, Clay’s addiction continued and led to her ultimately robbing a Walgreens and a friend turning her in to the police.
While incarcerated, a state treatment facility inquired if Clay would be interested in beginning addiction treatment. Through group counseling sessions, she began to recover, and requested to be put into an inpatient program when she was released. Staying at a women’s recovery house following her stay in rehab, helped Clay become 100% sober. Today, she has a job, a home, and a 6-month old son.
Although it’s a sad statement, Jail truly saved Clay’s life. Many women in recovery face multiple barriers due to stigma, and an upstanding role that society plays in them being the prime caretaker of their children.
Barbara Rachelson, a Representative on the House Judiciary Committee, says that there is still a big stigma that people assume these women were out partying. The stigma can be so alarming that many women won’t openly speak out about their addiction, worsening their issues. Adding onto the fact that many of these women have experienced various kinds of trauma, and do not have access to affordable counseling or other mental health treatments.
“Its easier to stay sober when you have more resources at your disposal than if you’re homeless or struggling”, Rachelson added.
Katie Wedell (2018). Local Mom in Recovery: Jail ‘best thing that ever happened to me’. https://www.daytondailynews.com/news/local/local-mom-recovery-jail-best-thing-that-ever-happened/9l17VWsAqnYzbHdRhkBTGK/
Jess Aloe (2018). Opioid addiction: Mothers in recovery face a unique set of barriers. https://www.burlingtonfreepress.com/story/news/2018/12/31/opioid-addiction-recovery-mothers-face-unique-challenges/2312346002/