A mother’s journey to recovery

Government Works

Sheboygan County celebrated “Healthy Communities/Healthy Families” last week as part of the National Association of Counties’ recognition of the work being done by county governments across the country. The following is from a series of guest articles submitted by the Sheboygan County Health and Human Services Department. While the names and persons are not real, the stories reflect the work of the department. Anyone wishing more information about services may contact the Health and Human Services Department at 459-3207.

Substance abuse affects an estimated 25 million Americans. Symptoms and warning signs include using substances on a regular basis, tolerance for substances, failed attempts to stop using, physical or psychological dependence, withdrawal symptoms, and in some cases dementia. Treatment of substance abuse is geared toward abstinence and includes a variety of therapies.

The Sheboygan County Health and Human Services Department operates a Mental Health and Substance Abuse Center located in the department’s main building located at 1011 N. Eighth St. in Sheboygan. The center provides individual, group, and couples psychotherapy for individuals with mental health and/or substance abuse concerns. Pat is a single mother of three who found success through her recovery journey.

Pat was involved in an abusive relationship for eight years before her partner was eventually incarcerated leaving her alone and feeling lost – her confidence, strength and control shattered. After a year of juggling things and getting nowhere, she started using drugs to escape. At the time, the children were all under 3 years old and had their own developmental needs.

A referral to the Health and Human Services Department on behalf of the children a short time later resulted in Pat’s temporary loss of custody of them – causing her to sink further into her depression and disappearing for three months before seeking treatment.

Once connected with the department and treatment services, Pat worked with a counselor to gain the support, accountability, and tools she required to stay clean and sober, which she has now for five years. She also worked with the department’s Social Services Division to regain her confidence, control and consistency in parenting leading to her regaining custody of the children.

Today, Pat continues to work with a therapist and has also received additional support to learn how to help other families facing similar challenges – now running meetings at her children’s school. Pat is a very resilient and accomplished person though believes that without the help, support, and direction offered her during her times of need, neither the children nor she would be where they are today.

For more information about mental health or substance abuse treatment services available through the Health and Human Services Department, phone the department’s Mental Health and Substance Abuse Center referral line at 920-459-3155.

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