Amanda Bennett has big plans ahead.
She wants to take classes next year at Kalamazoo Valley Community College. She’s looking forward to forming and strengthening bonds with her family and children. And she’s determined to continue down her road to recovery.
Six months ago, she couldn’t envision any of that.
Having struggled with an addiction to methamphetamine much of her adult life – an addiction that led to a 6 ½ year prison sentence – Amanda relapsed a month after her release from prison. She had been clean for seven years.
“I felt like nothing was going to be okay, like life was just over,” she said.
Amanda, 37, was first introduced to methamphetamine as a teenager, having already used marijuana and alcohol. She stopped using when she discovered she was pregnant at age 19, but started again after the birth. She went to jail three times for drug-related crimes when she was 20.
Recognizing that her life was spiraling out of control, she relinquished her children to family for their safety, and eventually landed in prison.
After her relapse in November, Amanda heard about GFM The Synergy Center. A nonprofit organization that provides culturally sensitive mental health, substance abuse and support services, GFM is funded in part by United Way of the Battle Creek and Kalamazoo Region.
Walking through the door wasn’t easy. Amanda said she was scared on the day of her first appointment, disappointed in herself, and worried about what people would think. What she discovered, however, was a supportive environment, one that helped her to get clean and stay clean from the beginning.
“It felt good to know that I wasn’t judged here,” Amanda said. “My therapist didn’t judge me, my recovery coach didn’t judge me. They walked me through the relapse and it made me feel like I was going to be okay. And I’ve made it.”
Amanda continues to attend four meetings a week, working on relapse prevention and early recovery in groups and individual therapy sessions.
GFM offers an Intensive Outpatient Program, Relapse Prevention Group, Family & Friends Support Group and substance abuse counseling, as well as behavioral health services for children and adults.
“I’ve never had a group like that,” Amanda said. “I’ve never had a recovery coach or an individual who cared. You don’t leave feeling helpless or hopeless. This is the best place I’ve ever been.”
She’s been clean for more than 175 days, and sees a future for herself now.
“I see a relationship with my children, I see somebody who has a chance in sobriety and recovery,” Amanda said. “I feel like I have a chance.
“I have never felt so hopeful in my entire life.”
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