Moms Who Lost Custody of Their Kids Due to Addiction Overcome Darkness to Find ‘Greater Things’

Moms Who Lost Custody of Their Kids Due to Addiction Overcome Darkness to Find ‘Greater Things’

“I learned that I was a person and I was not my disease and that it was okay my kids could not keep me sober,” says Freedom House alumna Christina Compton

Three years ago, Christina Compton was in an incredibly dark period of her life after struggling with addiction to the point where she lost custody of her two kids and was arrested while pregnant with her third child.

“I felt like there was no hope or no chance,” Compton, 33, tells PEOPLE. “I carried around so much guilt and shame from losing my other kids and I felt like they should’ve been enough to keep me sober, [but] it wasn’t. I never understood what was wrong with me and why I couldn’t stop doing drugs or alcohol.”

Elsewhere in Kentucky, mom Brittany Edwards was also struggling with her substance addiction and had lost custody of her four kids.

“Since I can remember, I’ve been a drug addict,” says Edwards, now 31. “It took me many, many years to realize I needed help.”

However, in the time since then, both Compton and Edwards have turned their lives around — thanks to the nonprofit organization Volunteers of America and their treatment center, The Freedom House, which helps pregnant women and moms stay with their kids while recovering.

Edwards was the Manchester Freedom House’s first graduate this past July, while Compton finished Louisville’s program in August 2017 and now works there as a therapist, technician, peer support specialist and intake specialist.

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Courtesy Christina Compton Christina Compton with her kids, Christina, CaRon and Wyatt

Volunteers of America Brittany Edwards with her kids Rylen, Ally, Jackson and Bentley

“Without them, I don’t know where I would have ended up,” Compton says of the facility. “You go into rehab saying, ‘Okay, I’m going to learn about my disease. I’m going to get sober,’ and Volunteers of America gave me so much more than that.”

Adds Edwards: “I’ve never completed anything in my life except for this program… Being an addict, it’s hard. No one is immune to addiction and they just taught me how to accept life on life’s terms and be okay with that.”

For Compton, her history with substance abuse began at age 9 after she suffered an injury from gymnastics and was given narcotic pain medication.

“I remember taking those and liking the way that they made me feel,” she recalls, adding that she “went off the deep end” after her mom died when Compton was in the eighth grade.

By 19, Compton was a mother of two but still using drugs and alcohol in what she says became “a vicious cycle” and caused her to lose custody of her kids.

“I just felt like this empty vessel of a woman and a failure,” she explains. “Because the one thing in my mind that

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