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Accountable for Change


Accountable for Change: How Anabel Built a Better Life After Her Addiction Burned Bridges

Accountable for Change: How Anabel Built a Better Life After Her Addiction Burned Bridges

When 22-year-old Anabel sought shelter after completing rehab, she was shocked when her father turned her away—and her 6-year-old daughter.

“He was done with my stuff,” Anabel said. “He told me, ‘You’re not gonna put a foot in my house. I’m sorry if you and your daughter have to sleep on the street.’”

That’s when Anabel knew she had to stay clean. She had to enroll in Solutions Academy.

“I am nine and a half years clean,” she said, beaming.

Anabel, now 31, works for Solutions for Change as a Healing and Retreat Empowerment Coach. She oversees new resident intake and helps guide the students along their journey at Solutions. She lives a responsible, sober life, coaching others on how to do the same. But her journey to that level of servant leadership wasn’t easy. Like the students she now guides, she also needed someone to push her in the right direction.

If her dad hadn’t turned her away that first night, she explained, she wouldn’t have been pushed to stay at Solutions Academy at all. And she wouldn’t have been pushed to stay clean.

Being at Solutions gave Anabel her life back. She said it’s because of the program (and the people pushing her to be better) that she is over nine years clean.

“It’s one of the best decisions I ever made coming to Solutions for Change from rehab,” she said. “They constantly drug tested me, and if it wasn’t for that accountability, I probably wouldn’t have stayed sober. Knowing that testing clean determined my housing kept me accountable.”

Anabel confessed that she struggled to stay sober before Solutions because her drug use had in part been fueled by the codependency she had with her family, and because she’d used meth as a way to cope with depression and a teenage pregnancy.

“Thankfully, when I came through the program, the people who were helping me— my case managers—were people who understood what homelessness and addiction were,” Anabel said. “So they were very patient.” 

With a sober mind, she was finally able to process her addiction and her emotional trauma, as well as work through the feelings of codependency she had with her parents. Her mentors at Solutions rallied behind her, pushing her to be independent, to not rely on her family, to take initiative and to value herself.

“It takes a village to help carry someone, to push us through,” Anabel said. “I felt like I had a bunch of moms and dads here. Everyone took care of me. It was the community alone.”

Solutions, she said, gave her a second chance. The program believed in her, her mentors believed in her and it helped her believe in herself. She was determined to change for the better.

And she did.

Anabel graduated from Solutions Academy in March 2017, within three years of arriving. When asked why she came back to work for Solutions in 2019, she smiled.

“There’s no other job where employees get to serve the people and the community to help them get better. The servant leadership we have here is amazing,” she said.

“That’s why I loved it here,” Anabel continued, “because they don’t see our past, our drug addiction, our domestic violence and our mental health in a negative way; they see it as a way to empower others. And be able to empathize and have them overcome their obstacles because we share the same life experience.”

Not only has Anabel restored her relationship with her parents, but she’s also bloomed into a fierce defender of others, a triumphant Overcomer, a caring mother and a devoted wife.

“I’m happily married now. Me and my husband are trying to buy a home—our first home. My daughter’s thriving in school—she’s about to be 15—and we just like to give back to the community that helped us," she said.

Anabel wants anyone stuck in addiction to remember they’re not alone.

“The world can be very scary. And we live in our little bubble when we’re in addiction,” she said. “But there’s more out there.  We can get an education, and bad decisions in our past don't define who we really are.”

Solutions for Change offers an academy with classes and opportunities for anyone seeking to overcome their current situation. Strengthen our community by supporting the organization’s critical work.