Stories of Hope – Tess Gibson

My name is Tess and I am in recovery.  I am also a mother, sister, friend, employee, and most importantly loved. My sobriety date is July 19, 2019, the day I decided I had enough of my life with drugs and made the decision that allowed The Extension to change my life.

Active addiction became apparent in my life after giving birth to my first son. I recall bringing my son home from the hospital and not connecting with him. I did not have feelings of love or happiness; I felt numb. After a few months I was miserable, withdrawn, and crying frequently. These feelings were a secret I hid from everyone. I was too ashamed to tell anyone, especially my doctor. I was raised to never admit something is wrong. The more shame I felt, the more I needed to escape from my life.  I eventually found my escape; drugs. I was instantly addicted.

Drugs became the center of my universe and nothing else mattered.  Soon I was evicted from my apartment, my car was repossessed, and my son was removed from my custody.  I could not stop using substances.  I wanted to. I missed my son.  The more I wanted to stop, the more I needed drugs.  I felt hopeless, defeated, and powerless.

I called The Extension the morning of July 19, 2019. Christy Hamby answered my call. Her voice was warm and compassionate. I was afraid.  My fear of the unknown made me think this call was a mistake and I tried to hang up.  Christy kept me on the phone by relating to my situation and made immediate arrangements to bring me to The Extension. Before The Extension I tried other inpatient residential treatment facilities.  I relapsed over and over again.  When arriving at The Extension, I did not believe I could be helped.  My previous attempts at sobriety were not successful, why would this opportunity be any different?

My first night was overwhelming, but I immediately knew this is where I was supposed to be. I had a roof over my head, a bed to sleep in, and food to eat. These were the necessities I did not have in active addiction. The first thirty days I spent resting, learning about addiction, and getting to know myself.  I learned the shame I felt was far deeper than parenting, the shame I felt was from my childhood trauma. I received individual and group therapy, classes about addiction and recovery, classes about budgeting and toxic relationships, and practiced yoga.  My favorite thing was eating dinner with the volunteers. Having home cooked meals was nice and I felt so much unconditional love from the volunteers. I began believing I am someone worth loving.  Somewhere along the way, I began having hope, dreaming, and setting goals.  I got a job, saved , and paid rent. My self-confidence improved. The more consistent I was, the more I trusted myself.

While in the program the volunteers and I created a vision board of where I wanted to be in 5 years. I still focus on this daily and push to accomplish each goal. Since transitioning on July 19, 2020, I bought a car, have a job in information technology, and an apartment where my children stay with me five days a week. I have relationships with women in recovery, have a sponsor and now I am a sponsor.  The tools I learned in the program are used daily in my life and when I experience difficulties I know how to cope without the use of substances. The lessons I learned keep me pushing to achieve the things on my vision board and have helped me to accomplish my five year goals in just one year. If God can transform a person like me then God will transform your life too.


Tessa Gibson - Alumni