By: Nathan R.
When Monique J, an extended-care resident and work therapy intern here at Beit T’Shuvah, arrived last August, she wasn’t sure that she had made the right decision. While waiting out her two weeks of new resident quarantine, she prayed for a sign. “I asked God if I was in the right place.” Not long after, she was watching old episodes of the show “Chopped” on the Food Network, and Chef Antonia Lofaso was competing to raise money for Beit T’Shuvah. “I just thought, what are the chances of that happening?”
Monique was able to control her drinking for a long time by keeping busy with being a hard-working mother. “The kids came first, job second.” As her kids got older and didn’t need her to be hands-on as much, Monique’s drinking accelerated. Several years ago, she got her first DUI driving her daughter for soccer, still drunk from the night before and after having a beer in the morning. Monique attended a self-described “fancy” rehab in Orange County after that, staying for three months.
After an altercation with her daughter, Monique was told to stay away from her family’s home whenever her daughter was present. Over time, with permission, she was able to spend some time with her family. Last April, she drank some liquor on the way over, and her family found the empty bottle in her purse. “Everyone was done with me after that.” Last May, she received her third DUI after driving her car into someone’s yard with a bottle of vodka between her legs.
Monique’s sister was helping her look for a residential treatment center this past summer, and Beit T’Shuvah was on the list. She talked to Lysa Harrison in admissions and was accepted into the program here. She told her sister that she needed to get her finances situated, but her sister urged her not to delay. “She told me, ‘You just have to go, so I don’t lose you.’”
A big part of what makes Beit T’Shuvah special for Monique is its focus on spirituality. “I really didn’t know what spirituality was until I got here.” Her spiritual advisor here helped her break down walls that past therapy wasn’t able to. “I used to get uncomfortable and say, ‘I’m good, I got it, I know what to do.’” Her treatment team here has helped her with her willingness to accept help. “I’m not as combative.”
Monique was unfamiliar with Judaism when she arrived. “I didn’t even have one Jewish friend.” Soon after she arrived last year, she experienced Rosh Hashanah for the first time. “They said it was three hours of services, and I don’t even do three hours of my own religious service. But I loved it.”
Monique has been working in the kitchen through her work therapy program for several months now. “They gave me an opportunity with the internship.” She sees her work in the kitchen as an opportunity to give back to the community that has helped her turn her life around. “Beit T’Shuvah has never wanted anything but to help me. I’ve found a new purpose here.”
If you were moved by the story above, please consider making a donation to Beit T’Shuvah today to help ensure the life-saving work we do continues. Every dollar makes a difference. You can make a donation by going to https://beittshuvah.org/support/donate/ or emailing our development department at email@example.com