June 7, 2018. That was the day that Danielle Moye entered SMA Healthcare’s Women Assisting Recovering Mothers (WARM) program. It is also her sobriety date. In other words, that was the day that her life was changed. Forever.
Where it All Began
Danielle grew up in North Carolina. For most of her life, from age 14 on, she suffered from addiction and alcoholism. In between that, and her sobriety date, she tried different things to get sober. She used Subutex when she was 18 or 19, but not even that worked.
“I am the type of addict that abuses everything, and could never do anything right,” said Moye. “If I was prescribed medication, I would take the whole bottle. I could never do what was dosed to me to help me recover.”
Danielle felt that she needed some sort of awakening or “rock bottom” to get the help she needed. Unfortunately, while still living in North Carolina, her son was removed from her custody. She was not “in the right state of mind physically or mentally to try and get him back,” and she lost custody. She had no support system. And, to make matters worse, North Carolina did not have the program or services like those that SMA offers — it was hard for to get the guidance she needed for a sober life.
Danielle was in a tough spot, with nowhere to turn. So, she made a decision that would ultimately change her life.
Not Going to Give Up
Danielle moved to Palm Coast, but things got worse before they got better. She quickly became homeless, and was living in a tent while eight months pregnant. Not long after giving birth to her daughter – 60 days to be exact – she was removed from Danielle’s custody.
“I couldn’t figure out what to do and I didn’t know about SMA,” Danielle said. “I didn’t know about the different programs that SMA had.”
That is when things began to change. After her daughter was removed, Dee (Krogh) – who she would later refer to as her angel – showed up at her mom’s house to help her. And, she came back to tell her all about SMA, the detox unit and WARM. But, Danielle was not ready to make the necessary changes in her life.
“I was not able to take the help. I wasn’t ready I guess; things had to get worse for me,” Danielle said. “[However] she kept trying to reach out to me even though I was a lost cause to so many people. Nobody wanted to help because I was not willing and I was a complete mess.”
Not long after that, Danielle reached a breaking point. She was on the verge of giving up and ending her life. But, in that moment everything changed. She went to SMA Detox and, upon walking in, she found out that a bed had just opened up. Just like that, she was in detox for the first time in Florida.
Guess who showed up after that? Her angel, Dee. Her goal was to get Danielle into WARM. She said “let me help you. Don’t try to go yourself. Let me work this out; I can work this out for you.” She tried so hard to make things easier for Danielle, because she did not know what she was going to do after detox.
“If I got out of detox, [I knew] I was going to go use again,” Danielle said. “I have never been sober. And I don’t know how to live sober, I don’t know how to solve a problem sober.”
The good news: Dee was able to get Danielle a spot in WARM. The bad news: it was a two-week waiting period, and she was about to be released from detox.
Unfortunately, Danielle was released from detox and got high again. But, it was not the same as before. She knew hope was waiting for her and, for the first time in her life, she fought so hard against using drugs. She cried. She stared at it and tried so hard not to do it.
“That’s where I understand now, like the people who have that internal battle,” Danielle stated. “I have used for so long, but that battle of wanting to stop, knowing I can stop, but still not being able to stop putting it in my body; I finally got it. And, that was rock bottom for me.
“Losing my kids and being homeless was bad. But, staring at drugs and not wanting to do them, and doing them anyways, was the rock bottom for me.”
Change is Coming
All of that brought us to the date mentioned at the beginning of this story. WARM saved her life. And now, she cannot stay away. For her, it’s the place where she found herself, where she found out how to fight for something and how not to give up. And, she learned firsthand how compassionate and caring the staff at SMA Healthcare truly are. It started with her “angel” Dee and continued with every staff member who interacted with her.
“I struggled for a long time while I was [at WARM], and I had people that still work there tell me that I can do it,” Danielle said. “When I wanted to pack up and leave, because it’s a hard program, they talked me down. They did not let me give up.
“The women at WARM taught me about 12-step meetings, sponsorship, and about having a relationship with a higher power. I knew there was something bigger than me helping to guide me all of a sudden. I had never been willing before, but now that I was, things were happening.”
Another change that WARM made in Danielle’s life was that they helped her get her daughter back. She now has full custody, and her case has been closed. She was unfortunately not able to re-gain custody of her son, but still maintains a relationship with him today – he is now seven years old and lives in North Carolina. He comes to visit twice-a-year, and she considers it a miracle that she can still be his mom.
“Everything that I had lost, that I never had – never able to keep a job, never able to keep a house that the cops were not constantly in – was different,” she said. “I have a nice house today, I have a fiancé and am getting married soon. I have women come to my house and we do step work together. That’s amazing. My life has really changed because of SMA helping me and the people that work for SMA.”
For the first time in her adult life, Danielle was sober and searching for her purpose. However, it didn’t take long – she knew she wanted to help people. She was so moved and appreciative by the people she met within SMA and wanted to be part of changing lives like they had done for her. When she did get sober, she had new women coming up to her, asking her for help or advice.
Now, she’s an open book. She wants to be there for others in recovery like others were there for her. She has a drive to want to help. In her spare time, that is what she is thinking about – “how can I help somebody?”
Danielle now has the opportunity to help people full-time. She serves as the Peer Recovery Support Specialist for SMA’s Pathways program. Her job is to be a supportive person in the lives of the clients. She is there for them to talk to, because a lot of them do not have a trustworthy person to talk to, or they are so isolated where they are, they do not have a supportive person to guide them.
If somebody needs help with a resume, she will make a resume with them. If someone wants to go to a 12-step meeting or has been thinking about getting sober, she will go to a meeting with them. Or, if somebody needs to vent, she is there. She also lets them know that, even though their situations may not be exactly the same, she has also felt lost, grief, and pain; she has felt that fight, like hitting rock bottom.
“A lot of the [clients] are like what I explained earlier; they don’t have that hope,” she said. “My life was like that, and if they can see that my life is not like that anymore, and some of them do, they have this little bit of hope that maybe they can change their situation?”
That is what it took for Danielle, “seeing somebody in recovery that was where I was.” And, that’s what she considers the best part of her job, when she sees change happen in somebody’s life. It is hard to change what is so normal, but when she is able to see somebody willing to change, that is the best part for her.
“I can’t tell somebody they need this, that things are not going to get better if they keep this up; they have to come to that on their own,” Danielle said. “I can help them see that, but simply telling them those things does not work.”
So, what piece of advice does Danielle want to leave with others who are struggling? Don’t give up.
“All of these obstacles have happened in my journey and recovery, but I stuck with it and stayed sober,” she said. “Just because I wasn’t able to see the miracle happening, I didn’t give up. Even though I can’t see anything good happening in the future, I am going to stay focused, stay sober and see what happens. And everything has worked out.
“Don’t quit before the miracle happens!”