SAN ANTONIO – The grasp of addiction is so tight and overbearing, it seems impossible to escape. However, a 50-year-old organization in San Antonio is helping release women from the grip of addiction. It's called Alpha Home, and it's where many women find freedom.
Addiction is a nightmare many never wake up from. Jamie Castellanos terror was caused by alcohol and meth.
"My father was an addict so I grew up in a home with addiction. Because of my addiction I was selling drugs and doing everything necessary to survive my addiction and I was arrested by the federal marshals and went to jail," she said.
Castellanos' choice was to stay in jail or go to rehab. She chose rehab, and was taken to Alpha Home to live with more than 30 other recovering addicts. She didn't know then that it would save her life.
"There's a huge difference in other treatment centers that I've been to. Alpha Home is a 90-day program. Thirty days wouldn't have cut it for me," she said.
She says Alpha Home's inpatient program treats much more than the addiction.
"They have a counselor's office, they have a doctor's office, and a center where we meet and do process groups, counseling," Castellanos said.
The women in the Alpha Home live in bedrooms, sometimes four or five of them in the same room. They say that connection with peers helps, but it's also kind of tough.
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"Especially when you're here with 31 women who are broken," Castellanos said. "We all come in here broken and most of us did what we had to do to survive out there on the street. What I learned is that we get better together."
At the worst part of Castellanos' addiction, her son stopped talking to her.
"He used to just call me Jamie," she said. "Now I'm coming up on four years clean and sober next month. And I got to go see my son last summer and when I left he posted a picture on Instagram that said ‘Visit with Mom complete. Miss her already.’ So part of being in recovery is that I get to be a mom again."
She's working full time, and she's back in school.
"I have a 4.0 GPA, and I would have never have thought any of that possible had it not been for Alpha," she said, feeling proud and fighting tears.
After she left Alpha Home, she chose to live in a sober community called Crosspoint, where she has made great connections.
Alpha Home is still part of her life. Every Tuesday, she comes back and teaches the Alcoholics Anonymous class for the next round of success stories, getting a second chance at life.
Alpha Home's primary funding source is government grants. Trinity Baptist Church also gives a lot of financial support. Some of the money comes from clients, but donations are crucial. The home desperately needs repairs and that's where donated money would go.
Alpha Home does not turn anyone away, and the CEO hopes to expand the program to help even more women.