Aleasa M. Word
Copyright 2013 All Rights Reserved

A young lady recently reached out to me for help. She was in her early twenties and was a single mother. She had a tough life growing up. Born to a crack addicted mother and partially raised by a crack addicted father, it was almost as if she had no chance of survival. Fortunately another family member stepped in to help raise her. They did the best they could but over the years, her pre-disposition to drug abuse finally dug in its ugly heals.

This young woman reached her early twenties and faced odds most of us can only read about just to finally succumb to the environment in which she was born. After realizing she did something awful that could ultimately affect her two year old son she needed to find a way out. She wanted to find a way to get out of the cycle of drug addiction, poverty, single parenthood and violence she’d become so accustomed to. But how could she do it, now facing a criminal record? What is a person supposed to do when they mess up so badly one time and they can’t see their way out? What can a person do whose support system is in place but the only thing it’s supporting is a rash of negative words and condescending comments aimed at an already beaten person?

After speaking with this young lady all I could do was cry on the way home and thank God for the opportunities I’ve had and choices I’ve made. The pain in her eyes cried out to me begging for help as she sat in a state of despair trying her best to hold on to what dignity she had left. During this moment of revelation I also began to ask myself whether or not I was even equipped to help her. I’ve never been arrested in my life though I’ve worked to help many who have. I wasn’t born to drug addicted parents nor raised by a family member other than my own parents and again I know many who were. Even with that she thanked me over and over for simply listening. She thanked me for caring enough to spend time with her and
for even trying to help her get on track and find a job.

So many of us have no idea the insurmountable odds other face. We try and try to be helpful but end up judging people in the end. We ask questions like “why did they even try drugs if they knew they were susceptible to addiction?” Or other things like “with all of the programs out there to help people now days why would anyone go that way?” Hearing questions like that used to piss me off but now I take a deep breath as I try to digest the ignorance of people who haven’t been there. In trying to fix our welfare system which was giving a free pass to so many who took advantage, those still in real need of assistance are now suffering because of all of the cuts. Many addiction programs have certain stipulations like: you must have been convicted of a crime, you must be addicted to certain types of drugs or you must be on public assistance. We don’t have enough resources and people get desperate. Desperation turns to uncivilized behaviors
that the masses often don’t understand.

I don’t really know what the answer is for this young lady but I do know I’m going to do what I can to help her. She enrolled herself in a drug addiction program after she finally had her one brush with the law. She is now living with these same family members that beat her down every day as the drugs call her name trying to convince her to let them ease the pain as she looks in her baby’s eyes trying with everything she has to beat it. My hope is that she can get the charge dropped to something lower and get her life back on track. But if she can’t the cycle of addiction and poverty will continue and her child will be the next one in a line of statistics that need to change.

Author's Bio: 

Aleasa Word,CLC, CEIC is a Reactionary Change Specialist and Certified Emotional Intelligence Coach. She is the owner of Allergy Words Consulting, LLC, Board Chair for The Society of Emotional Intelligence Tri-State and Director of the Food Allergic & Asthmatic Multicultural Society of DE. Ms. Word provides stress management, team development, relationship planning and life balance coaching services as well as small business transition consulting. More information may be found at or email