Doting grandmother, Diana, adores her seven grandchildren. Rarely does she miss an opportunity to celebrate their birthdays or invest her time in them.
As it turns out, these precious children have been an impetus for her recovery and determination to remain sober, which she has maintained since she turned to Simonka Place for help in May 2019.
“I had been to New Orleans, Louisiana to visit my daughter, and we got into a big fallout, and I was drinking heavily. I drank a fifth of bourbon and ended up in the psych ward for five days in Louisiana,” says Diana. “I knew then something had to change.”
And she made good on her intentions.
The first few days Diana stayed at Simonka Place, she was leery of her new housemates and home. But it didn’t take long for the empathy and sincerity of the staff to warm her up.
“Everyone here was so loving and caring, and it made it so much easier for me … I knew this was where I supposed to be,” says Diana.
Before long, the healthy environment combined with her classes (like Cognitive Behavior Therapy and Trauma-Informed Care), counseling, and biblical discipleship turned her life in an about-face.
Case Manager Jerri Hunt believes one of Diana’s greatest triumphs was overcoming her financial barriers, which she conquered with tenacity.
“Diana completed the ‘Rent Well’ class through a partnership with ARCHES (Mid-Willamette Valley Community Action) and Simonka Place in September 2021 and attended classes for ‘Financial Boundaries and Budgeting’ while a guest here,” she says. “Diana was committed to life-change, and this was evident in all areas of her life but particularly in the area of her finances.”
Today, the root causes of her substance abuse and instability have been addressed. Diana just moved into her new apartment and can finally enjoy the company of her beloved grandchildren in a way she’s ached for.
Diana laughs, “I love my babies. I’m happy when I’m with them all the time.”
Says Director of Women’s Ministry Kathy Smith, “Diana truly exemplified joy in all circumstances – that’s what comes to my mind when I think of Diana – that smile in the midst of hardship.”
She credits God and UGM for making a way for her. “God put me here for a reason … And I don’t think I could have done it without Him and [UGM staff].”
“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10