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My Story


As for so many, the couple of years have been incredibly hard to navigate through life. So many people are struggling. I'm hoping by sharing my family's story to be able to help others throughout the Community. Our youngest daughter Ariah (8) who has had services since she was 19 months old unfortunately, lost them when schools were shut down. We had spent 3 years making sure we stayed on top of her services so she would be prepared for Kindergarten. Some of those services weekly included seeing a Childhood Apraxia Specialist, Speech therapist Private and in the School system, Occupational Therapy Private and in school system, Behavioral Therapy, and gymnastics to help with fine motor skills. We moved from Abingdon after 14 years and had a house built in Fallston for our daughters to go to Youth Benefit Elementary. To find out 6 month later that we would be home schooling both of my daughters. One in Kindergartener and one in 2nd grade.


The alcoholism has always been there, but came completely to the surface 2020. The downward spiral happened so incredibly fast. I wanted to share my story in hopes to help others. I have been a local photographer in Harford County for 13 years. It was my dream to have a studio on Main Street. In January 2020 my husband and I signed a lease and renovated a store front on Main St. We put quite a bit of money into renovating the space. On March 6th they had a ribbon cutting for me. The Downtown Bel Air Alliance came along with my family, friends and clients. I received certificates and was blown away by all the support in the Community for my small business. Unfortunately, March 18th I had to temporarily close my brand new renovated photography studio because of Covid. I worked so hard for that studio, it crushed me to have to close it.


In the meantime, my parents who moved to FL. to retire separated after 40 years of marriage. My Mom is an alcoholic and my Father had finally reached his limit. She also suffers from Bipolar and doesn't take her medication. When I was growing up as a child into my teenage years everyone called my Dad Saint Cliff. I wasn't mad at my Dad at all for leaving my Mom. After all, we were all tired for trying so many years. She refused to get the help she needed. I was always very close with my Dad. My Mom and I had a terrible relationship when I was growing up. I always wanted to have that Mother Daughter bond. It just wasn't in the cards for me. My brother hasn't spoken to her in 10 years and she's never met his son. It's so terribly sad that she allowed everything to get to that point. All I can do is pray for her. I would be here for her if she ever decided to make changes in her lifestyle. The year 2020 ended with having to put our first dog Kedo (Shiba-Inu) down in the beginning of December. He was 15 and my husband and I first dog. We had two vets come to the home to put him down. It was one of the hardest things we've ever had to do. I have been with my husband for 19 years and I've never seen him cry like that. We were so tired of such depressing news/events we went and ended that crappy year by buying our daughters a Wheaton Puppy. Yes, we were one of those families that got a Covid Puppy :) We had another Wheaton Kenzie who was 8 at the time and she was lost without her buddy Kedo. We just couldn't end 2020 like that.The girls were so surprised and happy when we got Koko! It really helped to make Christmas special for our family.


Starting off 2021... I have always been a very positive person and have always loved to help people. I believe God gives his toughest battles to his strongest soldiers. Our youngest daughter Ariah (8) who has had services since she was 19 months old unfortunately, lost them when schools were shut down. We had spent 3 years making sure we stayed on top of her services so she would be prepared for Kindergarten. Some of those services weekly included seeing a Childhood Apraxia Specialist, Speech therapist Private and in the School system, Occupational Therapy Private and in school system, Behavioral Therapy, and gymnastics to help with fine motor skills. We moved from Abindgon after 14 years and had a house built in Fallston for our daughters to go to Youth Benefit Elementary. To find out 6 month later that we would be home schooling both of my daughters. One in Kindergartener and one in 2nd grade. The weeks of teaching my daughter with special needs turned into months I started to go down hill and I went down quickly. I literally was turning into my Mother. I was so scared, depressed and anxiety ridden I would drink to cover up how hurt I was inside. I felt defeated. I would try to stop drinking, but I just couldn't. I felt sick if I didn't and my anxiety was so bad because I was so ashamed of myself I would drink again to cover it up. All it did would just make it worse the next day. I had several visits to Harford Crisis Center & the hospital. I remember this Nurse Stephanie there that tired talking to me about alcoholism and mentioning this isn't going to end well if you don't get the help you need. When I returned home after that a week later I got driven to the Emergency Room by my neighbor. I was in bad shape. Stephanie was there at Upper Chesapeake.She worked at both places and happened to see my name on the chart at the Hospital and came down to see me. After those two very scary situations I didn't drink for a month. I know that doesn't sound like a long time, but where I was at it was a big deal. My In-law's took my daughters to the beach for the 4th of July so my husband and I could focus on trying to get me back on track. It was the first time I have ever missed Family Vacation. I felt much better after that month, but when we went on our family vacation in August to FL. to visit my Dad when we got back my drinking continued. When I say it continued it was like I left off where I was in June. I got intoxicated so quickly. At the time I didn't understand why, but now I know since I was drinking for a few days my liver hadn't processed the alcohol. I was so tired of living like this. I called two friends and reached out for help. I went to the Harford Crisis Center and they called an ambulance for me. This was on a Tuesday. I woke up on Thursday there. I had no idea how I got there. I had a nurses around me and said, you need help or you're going to kill yourself. I had an alcohol level of .43 and was in an alcohol induced common. I couldn't believe I couldn't remember coming in an ambulance to the hospital. At that very moment something came over me. I surrendered to God and decided my way was working and I was ready to listen. That girl Stephanie was there, she was supposed to be and I believe God put her in my life for a reason. I took their advice and went bed to bed to Harbor of Grace Recovery Wellness Center for a 28 day rehab. I missed my daughter's first day of school along with my daughter's Alanah's first soccer tournament out of State. I knew though if I didn't get the help I needed I wouldn't be able to see any of their milestones because I would die if I continued down this path. The first couple days were tough, but I decided to put in the work. I'm here and need to get myself well for my family. God and Harbor of Grace saved my life. I can't say enough wonderful things about their Recovery Center. You had time to work on yourself, focus on things that needed to be brought to the surface so you could move on with being the best version of yourself. I had time to work on my Spirituality. I've always been a believer, this was a different type of feeling, something I never experienced. After 28 days my husband picked me up and surprised me with my two daughters. When I saw those girls I decided there was a reason God gave me two daughters to break the cycle of that awful Mother/Daughter relationship for 3 generations. I truly believe now it's because he knew I would be strong enough to make the change needed. I’m in my second year of sobriety . I thank God everyday. I do my reading every morning, workout early and meditate. I go to AA meetings, Women's Group, I have a sponsor, therapist, and I work the program. I work part time at Harbor of Grace I to give back what was given to me. We work with Police Officers, Firemen, Civilians, with alcohol, drug addictions and mental health. God saved my life. I shouldn't be here today. I'll be forever grateful. I can't wait to see what my future has in store for my family. We look back now at Covid and realize everything really does happen for a reason. God has always been there. This had to happen for us to be where we are today. My family and I got baptized May 22, 2022 together at Mt. Christian. We're so excited to follow God’s plan. It honestly just keeps getting better every day. To see how far we've come in such a short period of time by putting our faith in God. Miracles are all around us. All we need to do listen and pay attention to the signs. He gives them all the time and my family is so blessed to be on this journey with him.



























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