A mother’s story of hope after recovery
Ashley Kirchhubel, Special to The Courier-Journal 7:15 p.m. EDT May 8, 2015
Ashley Kirchhubel during her pregnancy last year while living at Freedom House.(Photo: Provided by Volunteers of America)
This Mother’s Day weekend I am celebrating motherhood and a life full of hope for my family. This time last year, I started a new journey to turn my life around for my children and me by entering a long-term addiction treatment program.
After years of struggling with drug use and addiction since I was thirteen-years-old, I hit my rock bottom. I turned to heroin after the sudden death of my mother and several years of a prescription pill addiction.
Even though it was a struggle to parent while addicted, I loved being a mother. I tried to put my children first. They always had three meals a day. They were surrounded by family and friends who adored them. They had a place to call home. I would do anything for my children, and I mean anything. This is not my proudest moment—I stole school supplies for them and landed myself in jail for it. The sad thing is I don’t remember the shoplifting because I was high on prescription pills.
That’s when I knew I had to get help. I started detoxing on my own and reached out to my parole officer. My parole officer was compassionate and understanding and let me know that because I started using again, I had violated my parole and had to return to jail. While in jail, I continued to detox and learned I was four weeks pregnant. I was really scared. I did not use drugs and alcohol during my other pregnancies and had three very healthy children. I was worried this baby would miscarry or would be born with life-threatening conditions. I had to find a place that could treat my addiction and fast. The challenge was I needed to go somewhere that worked with pregnant women and let my children live with me. Thanks to support from Jefferson Alcohol and Drug Abuse Center, I found the Freedom House program at Volunteers of America.
In this small program in the Shelby Park neighborhood, my children and I received the support we needed. I had several hours of clinical treatment every week. I received individual and group therapy. Life skills, financial literacy, and parenting classes were also provided. Over time, I regained custody of my children, and we made the small apartment at Freedom House our home. Seven months after I began my journey of sobriety, I gave birth to a very healthy baby boy, Isaiah. Isaiah was born 100% healthy and I have never been so relieved.
Because of the services I received, I am a different mother today. My family is happier and healthier, and there are great things in store for us. We live in an apartment in Cherokee Triangle where we can walk to parks and family-friendly activities. I work at ChooseWell, a local community healthcare organization, that Freedom House partners with to teach families healthful living. When my children come home, they come home to a professional, working parent who loves cooking healthy meals, who takes them to the park down the street, and who insists their homework is complete.
Today, we are a healthy family, and I look forward to every moment I get with my children. I am proud that my two older children now know the mother that I always wanted to be—fully present and engaged in their lives. I am relieved that my two younger children will never know a mom who is a heroin addict and will always know me as a good role model.
On this Mother’s Day, I’d like to honor all of the mothers in our community who have faced hard times and changed their lives for their children and for themselves. Motherhood is not easy and we are not always perfect. If we create positive change in our lives, we will create a ripple effect in the lives of our children, our workplace and our community. Thank you to Volunteers of America’s Freedom House for providing me with the tools to be the best parent I can possibly be. And thank you to all of the people and businesses who support Volunteers of America, like ChooseWell, for making these critical services for mothers possible.
Ashley Kirchhubel is a proud mother and 2014 alumna of Volunteers of America, Freedom House.
How you can help
For more information about Volunteers of America and Freedom House, go to www.voaky.org, where you can make a contribution and support the mothers and children they serve.
You can also tour Freedom House on June 2 from 6-7:00 p.m. To RSVP or for questions contact, Tandee Ogburn at 502-636-4638 or TandeeO@voaky.org