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Mom Finds New Life After Addiction

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CHAPEL HILL — Even for pregnant women, there is hope on the other side of drug and alcohol addiction. One woman not only beat her own addiction -- she is now helping others.

The Horizons program is a treatment center in Chapel Hill that has helped many women beat their addictions in time for motherhood. In 1993, a pregnant Patricia Parks-Taylor came into the program. She was addicted to crack and alcohol.

"It's meant the difference between having an addicted child and a clean and healthy child," Parks-Taylor said. "Even after I knew I was pregnant. I remember thinking, 'Well, maybe I'll just smoke the baby away.' I thank God that I didn't."

Today, she celebrates six years of being clean, six years of being Tabara's mom, and six years of a life she thought she would never see.

"I'd have died then I would have died. There are no ifs, ands, or buts about it," Parks-Taylor said. "I know that I would have died."

UNC's Department of Medicine started Horizons as a substance abuse program, designed especially for women in crisis situations.

"Pregnancy is a teachable moment," Horizons' Dr. John Thorp said. "It's a motivational time in a woman's life, and in her family's life, when they're often more receptive to treatment and to help."

Parks-Taylor is a witness for what the program has done for her. Six years later, she has dedicated her life to helping others. She is working for the program as a substance abuse counselor.

"There are people that truly understand, because addiction allows us to believe that no one else understands what we're going through," Parks-Taylor said.

"No one knows what we feel. No one has been where we've been," Parks-Taylor said. "The lie is dead. That is no longer true."

Parks-Taylor believes that Horizons is a God-given program.

"It was put in my path to save my life and the life of my daughter," she said.

The program goes beyond helping women beat addiction. They also help with pregnancy and parenthood counseling, and the help clients find housing and jobs. The Horizons program is part of the OB-GYN department of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.


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