Carissa, 32, said she struggled with mental illness and substance abuse since age 15.
After 18 months of staying at a substance abuse treatment facility where she received counseling and support from peers, she transitioned to a new apartment of her own.
Thanks to YOU, Carissa no longer sleeps on an air mattress or eats off paper plates on the floor. She received 13 pieces of furniture, linens and pots and pans from The Mustard Seed to make her house into a home.
“I am so very grateful to be alive and healthy today,” Carissa said. “Now, at 32, I have finally decided to turn my life around and get help. I lost everything through my addiction, including custody of my now 5-year-old daughter.”
Carissa’s mother has been taking care of her daughter since the child was 2 years old. Carissa said she will be regaining custody of her daughter soon. But she now finds herself unemployed.
When Carissa admitted herself into a drug recovery center, she landed a job as a server at a national restaurant chain where she worked for 18 months. However, about a month before Carissa moved into her new apartment, she was laid off because of the COVID-19 crisis.
Carissa said she saved up money – only enough to secure an apartment and buy a car for the first time in years – while she was receiving substance abuse treatment. Prior to buying a car, Carissa said she walked everywhere or took public transportation. Carissa said thankfully she was able to apply for unemployment benefits. Carissa no longer has to worry about being able to afford home furnishings, which lifts a huge weight off her shoulders, she said.
“I will forever be grateful for everyone involved in making The Mustard Seed function in helping others,” Carissa said. “I hope to continue to help others in our community as well, by sharing my story and hoping to encourage others that living mentally stable and sober is possible if you do the work.”
To help rebuild lives like Carissa’s, donate here.
April 29, 2020
The Mustard Seed of Central Florida is proud to partner with Safr, a new ridesharing service dedicated to the safety and empowerment of women. The company will be providing free rides to The Mustard Seed’s program participants and its affiliate network from Monday, May 4, through Sunday, May 31, to … read more
April 15, 2020
During this critical time, The Mustard Seed hopes to get back to being fully operational so we can assist more people in need. We have set up a GoFundMe page with a goal of raising $5,000. Your donation, of any amount, will go a long way in assisting people who have nothing and are eating and sleepi… read more