Niccole & Brooke Share Story
“My Life Was All Jumbled Up”
-By Niccole and Brooke*
It is remarkable how much damage one selfish decision can do. It can destroy a relationship, a family, and even an entire generation.
That is exactly what happened to Niccole almost 20 years ago. The man she had been seeing left as soon as he learned she was pregnant, wanting nothing to do with Niccole or the baby to come. His decision left devastation in its wake.
Niccole, alone and afraid, gave birth to a little girl named Brooke. Overwhelmed by single-parenthood, Niccole started drinking, heavily and regularly.
Brooke grew up in a fatherless home, and her mom was not always available either, due to her alcohol use. It all took a toll on Brooke, who held her feelings inside as long as she could . . .until sixth grade, when she had a breakdown.
“She just dropped to the floor and started to cry and cry and cry,” says Niccole.
“All the emotions that I never showed just finally came out,” says Brooke, now 18. “I couldn’t hold anything in anymore.”
Brooke was hospitalized several times over the next few years, never quite able to turn the corner on the road to hope and healing. “When puberty hit, I couldn’t control my emotions,” she says. “I was laughing, crying, angry.”
Brooke began some self-harming behavior, and at times, she felt suicidal. Once, she said she wanted to kill her mother, and then herself.
“Hearing that was the saddest point in my life,” says Niccole. “I didn’t realize how much I had hurt my child with all of my drinking. I was emotionally dead.”
And Brooke says she was an emotional wreck. “My life was all jumbled up,” she says. “My brain couldn’t work. It was frightening.”
But help was on the way . . .
Glimmers of light
When she was 14, Brooke began coming to DLC for regular therapy sessions.
By working with her therapist, Brooke’s depression began to subside and her medications were able to be decreased as her symptoms lessened.
Therapy worked. Things started clicking. Brooke began to see glimmers of light.
“I wanted help, not pity,” she says. “My therapist treated me right — always very direct, never treating me like a kid. She took me seriously, and I could have real conversations with her. But if I needed to, I could cry it out and be a kid again.”
Brooke’s therapy continued throughout the pandemic via video sessions, which helped her stay on track. Today, she says, “If it weren’t for DLC and my therapist, I probably would have killed myself.”
Instead, her future looks bright. She graduated from high school with a 3.7 grade point average, and she is headed to college on a full scholarship to study civil engineering. She has also signed up for Army ROTC, guaranteeing her a job when she finishes college.
“I’m ready,” says Brooke, and Niccole agrees.
“She is exactly the person I wanted to raise,” says Niccole. “She’s confident, very self-assured. I know that I do not have to worry about her. She’s going to have a great life.”
Niccole thanks DLC for making that possible. “They gave me my child back,” says Niccole. “And they’ve given me a life I never expected. The help we received has transformed us both.”
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*Not their real names.