Thursday, May 2, 2019

Your generosity gave Ericka hope

Ericka plays with her daughter Gracie at Jessie's Place.
Ericka was overcome with remorse and guilt after losing her dream job as a nurse’s aide at a well-respected hospital when she was sentenced to 15 years in prison for attempting to distribute a controlled substance. Despite only having to serve satisfactory probation to offset time behind bars, Ericka felt lost.
She’d experimented with pain killers and marijuana in the past, but this abrupt life shift not only helped thrust her back into chemical dependency, but did so with brutal intensity. Ericka and her boyfriend began using cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamines.
When she found out she was pregnant, however, Ericka refused to get high. She asked her boyfriend to do the same, but the battle between family and drugs soon came to a head and he chose the latter.
“He kicked me out when I was eight months pregnant,” she said.
Another relationship began to take shape soon after her daughter was born and was more or less a positive experience until her new boyfriend began using drugs a year later. Ericka again faced the difficulty of presenting her partner with the same ultimatum, but this time her entire life was consumed by a wildfire that conversation set in motion.

He hit me in the face,” she said with cutting focus. “He told me if I ever left him, he would kill me and my daughter.”
Ericka and her case manager Antoinette have a conversation in the library at Jessie's Place.
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