VOA Voices

Caralyn and Rye-Anne’s full story

For nearly three years, Caralyn Lamb spent her nights huddled for warmth under an overpass in downtown Louisville. Her substance use disorder led her there—a place she never imagined she would be. She knew something had to change.

Caralyn was born in Connecticut. She was one year-old when her parents divorced and her family moved to Louisville, Kentucky to be close to her grandfather, who was sick and in need of support. Caralyn’s father raised her and her two older brothers. She had a strict upbringing and spent her teenage years rebelling against her father’s rules.

At 13, Caralyn fell into the wrong crowd and started experimenting with drugs. By the age of 16, she had dropped out of high school.

After dropping out, Caralyn’s drug use continued to escalate. When she was introduced to heroin and methamphetamine, substance use disorder took control of her life. “I didn’t eat, I didn’t really care. All my money was spent to get high,” she said. Her addiction damaged her relationship with her father and he decided to evict her. “From that point on, I was living place to place. Sometimes, I was sleeping outside.”

In 2017, Caralyn’s mindset changed when she found out she was pregnant. She tried to stay clean, but without support, her attempts were unsuccessful. She gave birth to her first daughter, Norah.

Norah tested positive for methamphetamine at birth and Child Protective Services (CPS) started reaching out to Caralyn. For the next few years, CPS was heavily involved in Caralyn’s life. “I avoided them (CPS) at all cost,” she said. After failing a drug test, Caralyn was required to have another guardian present while Norah was in her custody. “At this point, I was trying to stay clean,” she said. Caralyn attempted to locate a treatment facility, but she struggled to seek help due to her living conditions.

“I was just trying to live. I mean, I was homeless. I had nowhere to go. I didn’t have anything,” Caralyn said. “There was setback after setback, and I was just not seeing any results. So, I just gave up completely.” Caralyn fell back into her substance use disorder and lost custody of Norah.

In 2021, she gave birth to her second daughter, Rye-Anne. Once again, her newborn tested positive for methamphetamine. This time, she found Freedom House—VOA’s nationally recognized recovery program for pregnant and parenting women.

“I had never been to treatment before. I had no idea what it would be like. I was just so glad I had Rye-Anne with me,” she said. Caralyn and Rye-Anne arrived at Freedom House in November 2021. She was met by a welcoming staff and a group of women all working toward a shared goal—to overcome substance use disorder and create healthy, hopeful lives for their families.

“It opened me up to a huge support system,” Caralyn said.

From individual to group therapy, the Freedom House staff of trained Clinical Therapists helped Caralyn find the root cause of her substance use disorder. But during her first week at Freedom House, Caralyn faced another setback.

She received news that Norah had been adopted by her foster family. It would have done more harm than good to remove Norah from her current situation. Caralyn would never regain custody of her firstborn.

Caralyn began to spiral and lose focus on her recovery progress, but the Freedom House staff was there to help her process the news and regain focus. Caralyn became committed to her recovery and being a caring and loving mother to Rye-Anne.

“One of the most important things I took from treatment was praying,” she said. “I pray to God and thank him for giving me the second chance to be a mom.”

Caralyn graduated from Freedom House in February 2022 and found her passion—helping others overcome substance use disorder.

She received her Peer Support Certification and started working toward obtaining her Recovery Coach Certification. In January, her hard work paid off, and she joined the Freedom House team as a Recovery Support Technician.

“Anyone who is struggling and has a child, I’ll tell them, ‘this is where you go because it’ll save your life,’” she said. “I want to save somebody from regret. Because the biggest regret I have is losing my child. I want to save someone else from feeling that pain.”

“I had never been to treatment before. I had no idea what it would be like. I was just so glad I had Rye-Anne with me.”

Carlayn Lamb, Freedom House Recovery Support Technician and program graduate

Ways you can help

Ways you can help our mothers begin a new path to becoming healthy and sober:

  • Donate a gift card for baby and new mother supplies from a budget-friendly store. Gift cards can be mailed or delivered to 570 S. 4th Street, Suite 100, Louisville, KY 40202.
  • Volunteer or organize a collection drive.
  • Our mothers and babies need items like: diapers, baby wipes, clothes and toys.

Kentucky Sports Radio, Kentucky Chamber Foundation Present $700,000 Donation to Volunteers of America to Support Recovery Efforts in Communities Impacted by Tornadoes

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Manchester woman shares journey of addiction and recovery, as program that helped her expands

Recognizing 30 years of reuniting families and breaking the cycle of addiction

Watch the video: On March 1 at the Kentucky State Capitol citations were read in the Senate and House highlighting Freedom House’s 30-year anniversary of supporting and caring for pregnant women and women with young children who are battling substance use disorder.

Entire Spring 2023 Inspire

Inspire is our newsletter and this edition features the 30th anniversary of our Freedom House program, a feature story on a Freedom House mother and baby, ways to support Freedom House and more!

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