CHARLOTTE - Next month, women struggling with addiction to drugs and alcohol will start their recovery in a much larger space with more amenities to assist in their journey. Addicted mothers will also have the option of bringing their children with them for treatment to the new 90-bed Dove's Nest facility.
"When I got to Dove's Nest, they opened the door, they opened their arms, and they opened their hearts,” said Vicki Hunter.
Raised by addict parents, she said she followed down the same destructive path, prone to abusive relationships and was eventually homeless.
"I used to stay in abandoned houses, abandoned cars, anywhere I could just to live and survive," she said.
That all changed when she was accepted into the program this past December. Five months later she's one of the last to graduate from the 12-bed facility in Dilworth as the non-profit makes its long awaited move to a 90-bed facility in west Charlotte.
"Many women are afraid to ask for help because they're afraid if they admit they have a problem, then those children will be taken away from them,” said program director Linda Currie. “Our goal isn't to take the children away from the women, it's to keep a family intact.”
Statistics show an estimated 20 million children are experiencing abuse from parents addicted to drugs and alcohol. Currie hopes this approach will help break the cycle too many families find themselves in.
"I'm excited about being able to intervene early on and hopefully changing the pathway of children's lives and changing the mother's life as well," she said.
It's an opportunity Hunter said she'll always be grateful for. She is headed to the DMV Monday to get her drivers license, and back to school in the fall to get her GED.
"There's a lot going on in my life that I didn't ever think I would get back," she said.