Anita grew up in a traumatic home environment, regularly witnessing an abusive relationship between her mother and father. Both of her parents were also alcoholics. By the time she finished high school, Anita was drinking daily. After having two children in her twenties, her dependence on alcohol was out of control, and her addiction soon ruled her day-to-day life.

Due to witnessing abuse at a young age, Anita became trapped in an abusive relationship when she was 25 and became abusive herself. During that time, her son Carson* and daughter Holly* were frequently left alone with no one to look after them in their Fremont home. That relationship lasted until she was 33.

“My obsession with drinking and constantly fighting with my boyfriend just consumed me,” Anita explains. “It was really Carson and Holly who suffered the most.”

One night, Anita and her boyfriend drank too much and had a heated argument while they were driving home with her children in the car. Anita’s boyfriend hit her, and she quickly pulled onto the side of the road to avoid a wreck. She was upset, and told everyone to get out of the car. As soon as they did, Anita sped away, leaving her boyfriend, Carson, and Holly standing on the edge of the highway. Scared and confused, Carson, now nine-years-old, ran after her car, crying and begging her to come back. Four-year-old Holly stood behind him and sobbed, unsure of what to do.

A few miles down the road, a police officer pulled Anita over for speeding, where he discovered she was too intoxicated to drive. After he checked her record, he found she was already on probation for other alcohol-related offenses and arrested her on the spot. She was later charged with Driving Under the Influence and Child Neglect. Anita went to jail, and her children went to live with her parents.

“That was really my turning point,” Anita remembers. “I knew then that I couldn’t keep going down the path I was on. My kids needed me.”

After she left jail, Anita started an inpatient treatment program at a facility in Omaha, where she had supervised visits twice a week with her children. During her time there, she was referred to the Heartland Family Service In-Home Services program. She later moved into a recovery home in Fremont where she continued to receive counseling and substance treatment on an outpatient basis.

Gradually, Jessica, the Family Support Worker from Heartland Family Service who worked closely with Anita and her children, saw the bond between them strengthen, and she decreased the amount of supervision they needed. In February of 2018, Anita, Carson, and Holly were finally reunited. They now live together at the same recovery home in Fremont so Anita can continue to improve her life and the lives of her children.

“I feel like I can finally have the life I always wanted for me and my children,” Anita says. “I’m so grateful for all the support and guidance from Heartland Family Service. They genuinely care.”

Anita is no longer in an abusive relationship and hasn’t had a drink in more than five months. Instead, she is now focused on her establishing a safe home for herself and her children, improving their relationship, and maintaining her sobriety.