LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - A substance abuse problem or mental health issue doesn't just affect the person who is using, but also every layer of that person's life, including relationships, family and children.
A program in Arkansas is helping women regain control of their lives with their children right by their side.
One of those women is 35-year-old mother of two, Elizabeth Grobmyer. A few years ago, her daughters were almost no longer a part of her life.
“It was 'you're going to treatment or we are going to terminate parental rights,'” said Grobmyer.
Grobmyer's addiction began at age 18, shortly after her father passed away.
“I started with marijuana and carried on into prescription medication. There are not a whole lot of drugs that I haven't tried.”
Her life soon spiraled out of control. She went to two rehab facilities, nearly lost her parental rights and was even homeless at one point, before making the decision to enter the Arkansas Cares program at Methodist Family Health.
“I had nothing, I didn't even know who I was as a person anymore. I had to relearn everything.”
Arkansas Cares is a program specifically for mothers dealing with both substance abuse and mental health issues. The women spend 120 days in the program, living with their children at the facility, working to become better mothers and build stronger families.
“What we are doing is helping them grow up and grow and provide for their own children and their future,” said Clinical Director, Angela Cartwright.
Cartwright said the program takes a family-centered approach to addiction and mental health issues. The program provides individual, group and family therapy, anger management classes and parenting courses.
“A lot of them, when they come here, they think that they have always been a good parent, but when you're using substances or you're struggling with a mental health issue you're not really present,” explained Cartwright.
Cartwright said the fear of losing their children is a barrier for many women seeking treatment, but allowing the child to be right by their side allows the mother to focus wholeheartedly on getting better.
“What the children get is an opportunity to have their mom back.”
Now that Grobmyer, two years sober and working a full-time job, has her life back, she is looking forward to a new chapter, for both her and her daughters.
“I would do anything not to go back to that person and not to go back to that way of life,” said Grobmyer. “I credit Arkansas Cares with saving my life and probably my kids' lives.”
The Arkansas Cares program can house up to 10 women and their children at a time. There is usually there is a six-month waitlist to enroll.
If you are interested in making a donation, dropping off supplies for the children or volunteering, click here.