Mikal was resistant to many things when she first arrived at Amos House.
She found herself homeless in Rhode Island after her house in Massachusetts had burned down. She was staying with her grandmother, and came to Amos House just to get help replacing the ID’s she had lost in the fire. With her grandmother’s support, Mikal began to admit, for the first time, that she had a drinking problem.
She entered Amos House’s 90-day Transitional program thinking, “I’m just going to do it for 3 months and make everybody happy.” Two months into the program, something shifted for Mikal, she started looking for work, and it was no longer about making other people happy. Mikal was starting to work towards her own goals. It was challenging, but she was sober. After two months, Mikal was hired by Bristol Harbor Baking, one of Amos House’s businesses. Two months after that she was hired as a waitress at a local restaurant. As she began earning more money, she began spending more.
While in the 90-day program, Mikal had been introduced to financial counseling through the weekly workshop, “Telling Your Money Where to Go.” She remembers joking in the corner, saying “I know where to tell my money to go,” referring to one of her many shopping trips. “I wasn’t open to anything at the beginning,” she shared recently. A month after she was hired by Bristol Harbor and moved into her own apartment, Mikal had her first financial counseling session. She describes feeling guilty when she first sat down to talk about her budget and her spending.
Today she approaches shopping differently, and she always asks herself, “Do I really need it?” She now feels uncomfortable when she doesn’t have a little bit of money saved. Since working with Amos House’s financial coach, Mikal has opened a savings and a checking account. She also uses Amos House’s escrow program as an additional savings tool. Mikal pays her rent two weeks early, and tries to save $100 per week. She talked about saving spare change each week, and depositing an extra $40 into her savings account. She sees her savings as something to be gathered, and not to be touched. She uses her checking account to pay her bills and her gym membership. Mikal has paid off $600 in court fines, and has enrolled in Amos House’s Savings Incentive Program, where she has pledged to save at least $100 a month for one year.
After she started working, Mikal’s financial coach suggested she buy a monthly bus pass to save money. Mikal didn’t like the idea of spending $62 on a monthly pass, and said she didn’t use the bus that much anyways. Her financial coach said, okay, but told Michelle to save every bus ticket she purchased that month. Mikal followed through, and at the end of the month discovered she had spent $234.50 on bus tickets, so she now spends the $62 on a monthly pass.
Mikal has surprised herself with her accomplishments. She remembers the days of her early recovery when she would go to groups, and think, “maybe I can be like that someday.” Mikal continues to move forward and look toward her future. Her long-term goals include obtaining her driver’s license, purchasing her own home, and rebuilding her relationships with her children. Today Mikal feels proud and blessed. With 15 months clean, she is a role model to others in recovery, when she never imagined that she could be sober. Mikal is grateful for the second chance she got at Amos House, and knows there are more challenges and rewards ahead of her.