SAN ANTONIO – Tiffany Harper was once a woman addicted to drugs after using it to cope with trauma in her life.
“I was 14 the first time I ever tried heroin,” Harper said. “Smoking weed? I was about like maybe nine or 10, but I really counted the first time I ever tried opiates because that was my drug of choice, and that’s what really took me downhill.”
Harper was pregnant and homeless living in a drainage ditch looking for her next fix.
“That’s the sad part with addiction,” Harper said. “You get used to your living environments and that’s all you know.”
Harper managed to get clean and sober, but she needed help getting back on her feet. She didn’t have a place to live and she needed something if she wanted to keep her son. That’s when she moved into Casa Mia, a recovery center for mothers recovering from addiction.
Casa Mia and the new Women’s Wellness Center is a joint effort by the UT Health San Antonio School of Nursing and Crosspoint. The idea is to provide a place for recovering mothers to live with their babies as they rebuild their lives.
“This has had a huge impact on young families,” said Dr. Lisa Cleveland of UT Health School of Nursing. “Casa Mia and this new Women’s Wellness campus is an attempt to do this better.”
Harper was one of the first mothers to move in and she is a success story. She eventually moved out with her son and now has a place of own and was recently hired by Crosspoint to work with the women going through the same thing she went through.
“Not only did she get what she got out of the program, but now, Tiffany, in her new role working at our Women’s Wellness Center, can help other women who also have experienced trauma, mental health and substance use issues,” Crosspoint President and CEO Dr. Kevin Downey said.
Harper said she is excited to be helping these mothers.
“I’m living proof. They could see, like, ‘Hey, she was homeless. She lived in Crosspoint. Now look at her. She works here. She has her so,’” Harper said. “I think that’s a big thing for people in recovery. You always think, ‘Oh, I can’t do it.’ But when you see other people that have done it, it’s like, ‘Hey, if they can do it, I can do it for sure.’”