Before Tiffanie arrived at REAL Life in November of 2019, she had been grappling with homelessness, alcoholism, and financial hardships. Following her divorce from her abusive ex-husband of ten years, Tiffanie turned to drugs and alcohol to cope with her past trauma as well other present stressors. Tiffanie’s regular alcohol consumption led her to driving while intoxicated. This occurrence made it difficult for Tiffanie to hold a steady job or disqualified her for other positions. She was terminated from a job because of a DUI she was charged with. Her inability to gain or maintain employment created a housing crisis for Tiffanie, where she had a hard time locating stable housing and frequently lost housing because of an inability to make rent. On top of her consistently moving from place to place, she was also coping with the fact that she rarely had the opportunity to spend time with her daughter, who lived with her father. It was at this point Tiffanie decided she wanted to ask for help getting a grip on her reality; she was then referred to REAL Life and admitted into one of the program’s Recovery Houses.
After her move to the Recovery House, Tiffanie began to diligently work her program. She was paired with her Pathway Navigator, Tauchanna, who gave her resources to help Tiffanie work on improving her financial status, including helping Tiffanie learn how to make a budget for herself. Tiffanie was able to build connections with people within the program, which offered her a new system of support and the opportunity to surround herself with people who would encourage her recovery. Overall, the environment that she is living in is healthier. In addition to putting effort into creating healthy friendships and interactions with the people around her, Tiffanie began to hold her personal mental health to a higher priority. Tiffanie was able to be connected to different outlets and medications to keep her mental health up. Tiffanie says the greatest favor she did for her mental health was learned how to let go.
Since her graduation from the program, Tiffanie still reflects on how her life has changed. She is appreciative of the opportunities REAL Life has given her, especially the new outlook on life she gained through her experience in the program. Tiffanie recalled where she was mentally in November of last year – depressed, had a “suicide plan” in place so her children would be taken care of. Now, Tiffanie says having the support and encouragement from her Pathway Navigator and other Lifers has really helped her change her life. Tiffanie collaborated with her Pathway Navigator, Tauchanna, to develop Motherhood Plans. Tiffanie is very grateful for the program and says she is in a “very happy place” and it all began when she decided to change her mindset; more specifically, Tiffanie said it happened with “the changing of the mind and the heart.” Tiffanie says that REAL Life has opened her up to so many opportunities and helped her open up to new mindsets and experiences.