This past week, I visited the Sangre de Cristo House in Pena Blanca, NM, a rehab center for women with substance abuse. There are very few resources for women’s drug addiction in New Mexico. This is the only facility that accomodates young children and infants. This helps recovering Moms stay connected to their children and maintain the parent/child bond. I was impressed with the emphasis on building life skills, assistance for finding employment such as resume writing, and the holistic approach towards long-term recovery. Representatives from other communities, as well as the NM Department of Corrections, were also there, to learn from this unique model and replicate it in their communities. The issue of education was discussed. One advocate asked, “If our children can’t read, how can they do anything? They can’t pursue vocational education without that. Teachers demand a raise, but their students can’t read.”
There are stories of success and failure. Women are freed from the cycle of drug addiction and pursue degrees in higher education. Others return to their life of dependency, and leave Sangre de Cristo House in handcuffs. I was deeply moved by the first hand stories of women trying to rebuild their lives. There are no simple answers to the problem that impacts the entire family.