The link between domestic violence and addiction

By Carla McRee

When Rachelle* came to us, her abusive boyfriend Brian* had taken away nearly everything she cared about. She lost friends. The family had cut her off. Once when she refused to call him back after a violent episode, he killed her dog.

“It was just like he wanted me all to himself,” Rachelle remembers. He would stop at nothing.

After struggling early on with drugs, Rachelle had been sober for years when she first began dating Brian. But over time, the depression and anxiety began to take an unimaginable toll. She began struggling with drug abuse again.

Rachelle isn’t alone. Many women find themselves turning to drugs to numb their pain and cope with the daily stress of abuse. Studies tell us that women who have been abused are fifteen times more likely to abuse alcohol and nine times more likely to abuse drugs than women who have not been abused.

But Rachelle knew she’d find real help at Shepherd’s Gate. She knew it would take more than just getting away from Brian — she’d also have to get the help she needed to regain her sobriety and be the mother she wanted to be to her son.

“I feel so guilty about Seth*,” she says with a shaky voice. Seth had already lost his father, and then their nightmare with Brian began. “He’s never had normal, and now he’s caught up in this cycle.”

But she says things are different now. “He’s so happy to see me doing better. He knows that this is home, that he’s safe here.”

What a difference you can make in the lives of women like Rachelle and her son, Seth! Just $14.90 is all it takes to provide a mother and her child with safe shelter and nutritious food. Your support helps women and children build a healthy new future!

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