With courage and strength, Tori has rebuilt her life for her and her son.

Through a group for new moms in recovery called Supporting Moms, Strengthening Families, she’s found a circle of support she knows she can count on – right here at Lowell CHC.

For Tori, it’s been life-changing, and life-saving.

Just a few years ago, Tori’s life looked very different. Drug use had turned her into a different person – someone she hardly recognized. Someone she didn’t want to be.

Thanks to her love for her son, hard work, and the support she’s receiving at Lowell CHC, Tori’s life has turned around.

“If it wasn’t for the mom’s group at the Health Center, I don’t know where I’d be,” Tori shares.

Tori grew up in Tewksbury. Although there were certainly good times, her parents had a rocky relationship. Home was not always a happy place. In her early 20s, Tori found herself in a rocky relationship of her own, with a man who was controlling, abusive, and who pulled her into the world of drugs.

“I didn’t like myself,” Tori says. “I kept thinking, ‘What’s wrong with me?'”

After nearly 4 years, Tori found the strength to end her abusive relationship and hit reset. She moved home, went to rehab, and got sober. It was a lonely road.

“My family didn’t want to talk about my addiction. They wanted to think it was all better.”

And in some ways, it was. Tori reconnected with an old friend and they fell in love. When she found out she was pregnant, she was overjoyed. The couple began preparing for the baby’s arrival. Then, tragedy: Tori lost the baby.

In a deep depression, and fragile with grief, Tori lost her footing. Substance use crept back into her life. “I hid it from everyone,” she remembers. “I hated myself. I was petrified.”

When she started noticing signs that she was pregnant again, she hid that too. Even from herself.

“I was in denial for so long. I was convinced I would lose this baby too. I was so disconnected, I didn’t want to live anymore.”

Thankfully, Tori did get the care she and her baby needed. She gave birth to a beautiful, healthy little boy. She was ready to get healthy too.

And this time around, Tori wouldn’t feel so alone.

A social worker at the hospital recommended Supporting Moms, Strengthening Families at Lowell CHC. Led by Recovery Coach Cheryl Flanders, the group combines peer and professional support for new and expectant mothers facing substance abuse.

“Cheryl has been so supportive every step of the way. She met me at the clinic. She called my parents. She’s always there. Always.”

With guidance from Cheryl and therapist Catie Tager, the group developed an unbreakable circle of trust and support, which has grown from 10 to over 40 women strong. They even took their meetings virtual when COVID put an end to in-person gatherings.

“We’re like a little family; we’re all there for each other. I would not be where I am right now in my recovery if it wasn’t for the support of these women.”

The group has also given her the strength to extend that circle to family and friends, fueling her recovery. For the first time in a very long time, she’s enjoying life – especially being a mom to her son, Colby.

“I never feel like I’m alone. Everyone at Lowell CHC is amazing. They all make every patient feel like they’re the only patient.”