When my last of three children left for college it was hard. Everything started to crumble; I started drinking again; I stopped taking my medications; and I lost my steady job of 17 years. I had raised three girls on my own, and when they left I no longer had to be responsible. I had more time to go out and party, and stopped focusing on constructive things. This led to my roommate telling me he couldn’t put up with me anymore.
Even though I had a job, I had no car and no place to live. If I had a car at that time, I would’ve lived in it. I felt like I had gotten to the point in my life where I had burned all my bridges; the only place to go was the Haven.
When I arrived I was embarrassed and didn’t know what to expect, but I came in bound, set and determined to make better choices. I didn’t (and still don’t) want to revisit the days when I hit rock bottom. Everyone at the Haven was very accommodating; they gave me lots of options and choices – and sent me in the right direction. Within just three days of moving into Hixon House at the Haven I had found an apartment, and by the end of that month had saved enough money to move in.
Right now I don’t make much money but I’m a happy-camper. I’m able to support myself, and occasionally give back to local non-profits such as the Haven and the local humane society. I’ve been putting my energy toward school and work to pay for it.
There have been many times in my life when I’ve seen people worse off than me who had turned things around. I’ve thought, “If they can do it, so can I”. Even if my story gives just one person hope and inspiration, it will be worth it. I want people to know that no matter what obstacles they face (age, race, alcohol issues, drug problems, mental health struggles), it is possible to move on and make better choices.
While staying at the Haven Diane reconnected with Sara Kobylenski, the Haven’s Executive Director, whom she had met many years ago when Sara (who was working at Upper Valley Youth Services) helped find a foster home for 17-year-old Diane and her two baby daughters. In the time that had lapsed Diane was welcomed into a loving foster family, raised three kids of her own, put them through college, and then found herself empty and alone filling the void with bad choices.
Diane is currently living in the same apartment she rented when she left the Haven in 2011, working full time and going to school at the Community College of Vermont to get her Allied Heath Certificate. She hopes to continue her education to become a Dental Hygienist. Her three daughters all graduated from college and are living on their own. Diane is excited to become a grandmother this summer with the arrival of her first grandchild.
The Haven Through 40 Years
The Haven will commemorate its four decades of service to the region by releasing 40 stories of people, events, ideas, and services fundamental to our mission. We will be releasing these stories weekly, so check back often.