The challenges of addiction can tear apart individuals, marriages and families. As individuals try to rebuild their lives, they are often advised not to embark into new relationships. Pam and Herman’s story is one of renewed hope and commitment – after time apart focused on their own paths to recovery, they have reunited for a new future, together.
“Pam made me feel worthy of everything…of being somebody of stature,” Herman affectionately remembers. Just after his release from prison, Herman took great comfort in the way Pam made him feel. Also clean and sober, she accepted him despite the mistakes he had made, including previous substance abuse.
Hard times soon followed for the new couple. After their marriage on August 6, 2004, Pam and Herman struggled to overcome many obstacles. They faced illness, financial hardships, the loss of a child, homelessness, infidelity, and substance use. Despite these trials, the two remained committed to a life together.
Yet, as Herman describes it, the couple’s co‐dependency led them both into relapses. After enduring the pain of Pam’s miscarriage, Herman lost his job because of his addiction. As a result, he returned to prison for parole violation. Many failed attempts and lost jobs followed, and the couple eventually lost their me. Still, Herman and Pam tried to regain control of their lives.
“In my heart, I wasn’t committed to doing whatever it takes to be clean and sober,” Herman recalls, “Drugs separated us on the streets.” Their addictions tore at both of them. Herman cheated. Pam stayed out late at night. They would return to treatment and remain sober for months at a time before relapsing. After Pam gave birth to a
son with traces of cocaine in his system, she realized she needed to stay sober for her and her son. She turned to Phoenix Programs, Inc. in Columbia, Missouri for help.
James Kimbro, Director of Clinical Operations at Phoenix Programs, believes that marriages with persons who are addicted often fail. Both people are rarely ready and able to seek help at the same time. “Beat the odds,” Kimbro declares as he challenges his clients.
Phoenix Programs encourages both individuals to seek treatment together. Through the family program, individuals learn about “the powerlessness of being addicted.” They receive ongoing support, psychotherapy, counseling and information. Often times, couples are advised that they have “too many harms” against each other to work on a successful marriage. Pam and Herman were no different. She found a “safe place” through the Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) team at Phoenix Programs and separated from him. Herman soon realized that he was willing to do anything to get back on track, even if it meant losing Pam. He entered a Modified Therapeutic Community (MTC) with Phoenix Programs and started on his own path
In partnership with the ACT program, Pam has been working on her sobriety and learning employment skills through a Jobpoint internship. She successfully completed her GED...a lifetime dream. Her next goals? College and building a sustainable life.
Herman has been managing his mental health with psychotherapy and medication, living in supportive housing, and focusing on his sobriety. Now in scattered site housing, Herman has been studying in his second semester of college. Pam and Herman spent two years apart, focused on their own recovery goals. After much mutual success and personal achievement, they just began planning for their new future together. The two are still married, still in love, and expecting another child this summer.
What is Herman’s advice for couples who are facing similar challenges? “Work on your personal issues. There is no taking care of another person if you are not well mentally, physically and spiritually.”
For more information on Phoenix Program, Inc., and client services, please visit
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