Meet Stacey Bowen
Today, Stacey Bowen is a peer support worker at CAMH. But she will never forget the fourteen year journey she took to get here—from living with a crack cocaine addiction that controlled her life to becoming a CAMH patient with continued success.
During the day, as a single parent of two young girls, she took care of everything that had to be taken care of. From the moment she got them up for breakfast to the moment she tucked them in at night, all of their physical and emotional needs were met with loving care.
But when the girls went to sleep—and they always slept through the night—it was mommy time and smoking crack was what she did with it. She always kept her bedroom door locked, just in case one of her girls would wake up at night and try to walk in.
But on this night, after getting high like she did almost every night, Stacey ventured out of her room to give one of her daughters a silent kiss on the forehead as she slept. Just as she was leaning in, her daughter’s eyes opened wide.
"Mommy what’s wrong with you? What’s wrong with your face?” Stacey retreated to her bedroom and shut the door. That is what got Stacey on her road to recovery. Still haunted by the memory of the late night episode with her daughter, she agreed to treatment when all three of her sisters recognized that she needed help.
“I wouldn’t be here without treatment. My addiction was so out of hand where the dealers were coming for me, so yeah, I don’t believe I would be here. I believe my children would have been taken away from me and I would have lost my housing and my life.”
Despite the grim realities of life on the front lines of addiction services, Stacey has an unshakable belief in the power of treatment at CAMH to help people get their lives back.
“I am so thankful to the people who donate to CAMH. You are changing the lives of a lot of people. I’ve seen the changes. Young, old, disabled, people of every race. I see how the nurses and everyone else takes care of our clients and get their lives back. For me, CAMH has been a place of hope and change. I look at all the thank you cards from clients that we put on the walls and it makes me so glad that I work at CAMH.”
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