The people Precious Life Shelter help are very real. And not all of them have the backstory you might think. Meet Brittany Demers.
Brittany didn’t grow up on the streets or come from a broken home. She grew up in Long Beach to a beautiful loving family. On the “normal path” as a high-achiever, she did well in high school and even got an academic scholarship to San Diego State.
In college she began drinking and faced her first bout with addiction. Before age 21 she was put in her first rehab clinic for alcohol. At the time it was a hiccup Brittany was able to overcome. She graduated rehab and started on a four-year path of sobriety.
Things were looking good for Brittany. She graduated San Diego State, had a good job, and was engaged to her long-time boyfriend. Things were looking so good, in fact, she thought she could handle a little casual drinking again.
That’s when her life turned for the worse. “Things went downhill pretty fast,” reflects Brittany. The addiction came back worse than ever. Soon she had broken up with her fiancée and entered a detox clinic in Laguna Beach. But there instead of shaking alcohol addiction, she met a new guy that introduced her to heroin.
She left treatment and went with him on a year and a half heroin-using spree. They started selling drugs, they were homeless, living out of motels and on a “clear path to death,” according to Brittany. “I OD’d on heroin 8 times in 2 months,” she explains. “I always thought I was that type of person who could put it down but I was out of control.”
When Brittany got pregnant she began crying. Because she knew she was not going to stop using drugs. It wasn’t till she was 12 weeks pregnant that she checked into Precious Life Shelter.
“When I walked in the door I honestly didn’t think I could ever go a day without drugs.”
She started the AA program, got a sponsor and began the 12 steps to recovery. She ended up having her baby at the shelter, getting a job, and is now living at the permanent housing at Precious Life Shelter.
Her life is back on a track she’s proud of and she can’t stop thanking Precious Life Shelter. “Everything they do here is to set up you and your baby for success. They support you, they push you. When people hear the word shelter I don’t think they understand how much of a family this is,” she goes on.
“I think the hardest part of getting sober was breaking through the self-sabotage state of mind. Precious Life helped me balance out everything. Even when I had my work and my baby, Precious Life knew I was capable of more and pushed me to get a better job.”
Brittany is now working full time at New Directions for Women in Costa Mesa and is going back to school to become a Licensed Clinical Social Worker.
Her heroes and some of the most influential people in her life are the women that work at Precious Life Shelter. They have become her family and her support system.
She also still has her loving family in Long Beach, and her baby’s father who is sober now as well. They are married now and things are looking up.
But thanks to Precious Life Shelter’s permanent housing her support system is still there. Now that’s a feel good story for Brittany Demers, and the community as a whole!