Ms. Lajuan was last released from prison in 2013. In and out of prison, always involved with drugs and alcohol, it’s been a long road for her to get clean and back in control of her life. In the throes of her addiction, she had to give up her three daughters because she wasn’t able to take care of them and give them the life they deserved.
She gave her oldest daughter to a family member at 5 years old, and didn’t see her again until her daughter was 21, after Ms. Lajuan’s last release from prison.
It’s been really hard, not being able to watch her daughters grow up.
But the last several years weren’t a good environment for a kid. At first things were OK - right after release, Ms. Lajuan had a good job as a housing manager at the halfway house she had stayed in herself. But she lost that job due to budget cuts, and got back into drugs.
Ms. Lajuan worked paycheck to paycheck, just making enough to get what she needed to use, and then repeated the cycle. Bills went unpaid, she shuffled from apartment to apartment, and couldn’t pull herself out of it.
Finally, in 2019, she hit a breaking point. Her addiction had gotten so bad that everyone had left her - boyfriend, friends, even her family. And it was seeing what she was making her 15 year old daughter go through that made this time in treatment feel like the last time.
In 2020, right after the pandemic hit, she went into treatment for 60 days, and after that moved into a transitional house for women that enforced sobriety. Finally, she came to Thrive DC seven months clean ready for a new start.
“At one point in time, I felt like I didn’t deserve a chance. People change. Thrive helped me get my self-esteem back, they made me feel employable again.”
Working with our Employment Manager, Ms. Lajuan started looking for work. In March, she got a job as a custodial worker with a great company, one that even came with benefits! It’s been a long time since she’s had a job with so much stability and security. And even better, she hit one year of sobriety in June!
Ms. Lajuan is now focused on keeping a steady job, while also getting her GED in her spare time. After that, she wants to attend college as a part-time student. And she’s closer again with her kids, focusing on a future that’s positive and full of hope.
“Thrive is always a good vibe, always a good energy. I cannot tell you the extent of the help here - whatever you need they’re going to make happen.”
“For all the people who support Thrive, who supported me, thank you for everything. Don’t stop doing what you’re doing, because someone will receive the help you’re giving. Thrive is a part of my life. THANK YOU!”