Jeremy and Lauren have worked hard to get where they are today: in recovery, united with their children, housed, employed, and full of hope and promise for what lies ahead. Their story started in what most people would think is an unusual place: a drug court. Lauren knew the minute she saw Jeremy that there was a connection. They were both working on overcoming their past with addiction and the law. As they connected, they learned that they both shared the commitment to create a brighter and healthier future for themselves and their kids than what they had growing up.
Jeremy, now employed full-time at Housing Hope in the Facilities Division, expressed his regret in “burning all his bridges” earlier in his life.
“I was kidnapped at age fourteen and exposed to the gang lifestyle. I never thought I would get out of it. I was in and out of corrections facilities, I struggled with addiction for over eleven years, and in the process, I lost the trust of anyone who cared about me. I was terrified that my kids would become a statistic, so I changed my life around to help my kids.
My grandparents supported us during this time, and I am very grateful. Several others helped me a lot: when I got out of prison in New Mexico and was extradited to Washington State, Nick Watts picked me up at the bus station and took me in. His kindness and grace in providing me with housing, clothes, and food helped me bridge into a different mindset for living clean and sober. At this time, I embraced the concept of manifesting positivity for my future.”
Lauren is six years sober and reminds herself daily what it takes to stay that way. “I was sick and tired of being sick and tired. When I was in treatment, I took all the advice that was given to me, and I did the work. It was not easy, but my friendships made a difference for me during this time. True friendship is so important to staying clean and healthy. Jeremy supports me and encourages me to stay engaged with the good people in my life. We are there for each other. I learned that I am not weird because I am in recovery. I never want to feel hopeless again; I never want to feel like wasted space.”
Jeremy has three girls from a previous marriage, and together, he and Lauren have a four-year-old boy. They plan to get married, and Lauren is working on adopting the girls. “Nothing is more important than our kids; they need our love and attention, and the girls need a lot of support processing the addictive behaviors they were exposed to. I am excited to be their mother. My mother is my best friend and has always been there for me.”
Housing Hope Family Support Coaches Joan, Siobhan, and Maribeth helped Jeremy and Lauren find counseling services for the kids and stable housing. Jeremy shared that “the long-term goal is that the kids never experience an unhealthy living environment again. The staff helped us get the kids tested and put them into (therapy) programs to help them heal. They never looked down on me. I want to encourage others to utilize the services here for you. I have to be okay with who I am and love and embrace myself, and I do.”
When you see Jeremy working at Housing Hope at one of our housing sites, you can’t help but notice how much the neighborhood kids engage with him. His respect and love for them and the effort he takes to learn their names is powerful. You may also notice how often the Dallas Cowboys football team comes up or see him wearing their swag. “My story wouldn’t be my story if I didn’t mention that besides being a proud father, I am a Dallas Cowboys fan! It’s probably a little corny, but I wouldn’t be me without it, lol!”
Jeremy and Lauren epitomize the hard work of self-reflection that leads to the healing and forgiveness needed to make personal change. Our community is a better place for everyone when we prioritize housing and supportive services for families in need. Thank you for making that happen with your support.
Would you join us and support more Snohomish County families on their journey to stabilization? Donate today to help build a brighter future for our community!