A lot of people see the relapse or the usage but they don’t see the recovery, so I’m very thankful that my clientele has given me the opportunity to see both sides. It’s been very rewarding. I had one client who was pregnant—I knew she panhandled but I couldn’t find her. Then after hours I was driving with my children and I saw her on the boulevard. I went home, dropped my children off, came back and met her where she was at. I didn’t know that that gesture would impact her as much it did. When she would disappear, she knew I would come find her on the boulevard. So that has stuck with me—I wanted her to know that someone cared. Another client, I was with her family for three years and she still calls me. Every goal that she accomplishes that we made together, she calls me when she accomplishes that goal. She says, ‘I’m not sure that this is still your number but I’ve got to let you know.’
I think it’s really important for everyone to understand that just because the mother uses during pregnancy, it doesn’t mean that it will have a long-term effect on the child. I have seen some very, very highly intelligent children who were born with neonatal abstinence syndrome. They want to learn. And they still care about their parents. They don’t view their parent the way that the world views them. That’s still mom.