Stacey Ellis: Homeless and Addicted To Helping Others

Throughout the streets of most major cities within the United States, a common visual along any thoroughfare is to see a human being, sleeping on the sidewalk, covered by what most would see as refuse and garbage. Underneath the pieces of cardboard and random sheets of newspaper lies a human being that has once smiled, cried, laughed, and loved.  This person once had dreams and aspirations as a child to do great things with their life. Now in their current state, they are the subject and focus of others’ pity, disgust, and apathy.

How can someone allow themselves to get into this situation?  Did they willingly destroy their life, was there humanity taken away by drugs, or another circumstantial environmental situation beyond their control cause this current state of affairs.  

Very few will ever take the time to find out.

What comes next may just give you a window into how a situation like this could happen.

Stacey Ellis was born into chaos.  Far from the support of a firm foundation that should be the staple in every child’s life, Stacey found herself born to an addicted father, and an addicted mother suffering from mental illness.  Some of her earliest childhood memories consist of her mother feeding her alcohol at the age of five because she thought it was funny to watch a young one stumble around, obviously drunk. Her mother was often gone for days, leaving Stacey to attend to her younger sister, and become a mother figure at such a young age.

While other children would go to school having their parents dress them nicely, Stacey would go with matted hair and dirty clothes. Others in the community witnessed this and attempted to intervene by giving this young child just a little bit of care. Something as simple as taking a brush to her hair or wiping her face. Looking at the situation from a distance, Stacey’s chances for winning the race that was started under incredibly restrictive circumstances seemed to be a gamble where the odds were stacked against her favor.

It wasn’t long before those in the neighborhood witnessed the egregious neglect, and child services were called. Stacey‘s mother found it difficult to care for children mainly because she probably had a difficult time taking care of herself. Her situation is every bit as tragic as the road Stacey was traveling down. 

A child only knows one thing, that their parents are theirs. No matter how poorly they are treated by their adults, that desire is instinctual within their heart to seek out their love and affection. While Stacey was taken away and put into the foster care system, her aspiration to feel her mother’s affection was still ever present. 

Stacey, a young child at this time, approximately  5 to 7 years old entered into the foster care system, her life should have changed for the better.  The foster care system is overrun by need, with incredibly limited resources. This opens up the hole and gives the opportunity to have individuals with less than ethical reasons for housing these lost children.  At a very young age Stacey experienced every horror that you could think of within the walls and confines of the foster care system. The tragedy that was being written about Stacey Ellis’s life continued to take a deep slide downhill.

There were brief moments of lucidity within her mother, and she would return home. Her father, who is also struggling with addiction, would pop in and out of her life. She remembers him as a man who did love his children, but was battling this awful disease.  The momentary good times would be overshadowed by the vast majority of poor treatment within her own household.

As a teenaged girl, while in the foster care system, Stacey was blessed to be taken in by truly caring individuals who loved her and wanted to give a better life. Resistant at first, because of her past experiences, Stacey eventually grew to see what a normal childhood household should be. This unfamiliar situation was a shock to her system, and she could not fully grasp the concept of loving and caring parents having never had it in the past.

These wonderful individuals accepted the responsibility to take Stacey in and fully adopt her, making her their own child. At the hearing for adoption, Stacey’s mother was brought in who was under incarceration, looked at her daughter, who Stacey so longed to have her love and said,”if you sign these papers for adoption, you will no longer be my daughter”.

These chilling words shook Stacey to her core and put a block up in her mind to resist the adoption.  The biggest lie that Stacey ever said at this time was that she did not love them. Stacey went down the road further into the foster care system still experiencing every terrifying thing that a child should be shielded from having to experience. Until finally at the age where she was able to take care of herself, Stacey hopped on a greyhound bus and headed for Florida, running away, but running away from who?  No one was looking for Stacey.

By this time, Stacey had been experimenting with drugs and alcohol as a way to cope with some of her experiences. In her abbreviated life, Stacey bore witness to the worst treatment that this planet has to offer. Once in Florida, with the weather being so mild, Stacey had no problem sleeping outdoors and surviving anyway she knew how. Sliding right into the generational curse Stacey met a man and they began a relationship. After getting married Stacey and her husband gave birth to two beautiful children. While looking at these children said there is no way I’m going to allow what happened to me, to happen to you.  For a short time, Stacey was able to keep that promise, but eventually backslid into drugs and alcohol. Being further enabled by the man that she married.

Gradually sliding down the road, ingesting drugs  and alcohol, Stacey chose to supplement her habit by manufacturing and selling these same illicit drugs. Eventually the police came knocking at the door, and Stacey Ellis was arrested for the manufacture of methamphetamines; her two children promptly were removed and placed into the foster care system, just as she had been at a very young age.

Stacey was transported back to New Jersey to face a charge in the Garden state and did four years of incarceration. Once out, clean and sober, Stacey was ready to get her life back on track and retain the parental rights of her children. In a weird twist of fate, the same family who attempted to adopt Stacey now was fostering her children.

Her path back to seeing these two beautiful offspring had many different obstacles along the way. Those people who chose to foster her children knew that Stacey was not ready to be clean and approached the situation with much hesitancy. As they had forecast, Stacey fell back into drug use, which quickly spiraled out of control.

Before she knew it, Stacey was once again homeless and addicted. Living on the streets of Trenton, New Jersey, one of the most dangerous cities along the eastern seaboard. Stacey recalls that time as saying, “I was not the person who was couch surfing, rather I was the person you stepped over walking down the street”.  Doing unthinkable things to maintain her addiction, Stacey was now beginning to lose her soul. While on the streets, there were random strangers who would come up and attempt to get those living in these horrendous situations to accept help. When your current lifestyle is all you ever knew, and survival has been your default setting for your entire life, accepting help is not as easy as you think.

One day, Stacey was able to get a look at herself in the mirror. Staring deeply into her sunken eyes, she saw nothing. Drugs, alcohol, sexual abuse, physical abuse have robbed this once beautiful child of her humanity, leaving this empty shell only hoping to survive another day. By this time, her mother had passed as did her father. Her sister was somewhere within the foster care system, and if Stacey were to die on the streets that day, no one would know who she was.  Had she passed, her future on this planet would be a toe tag saying Jane Doe, and buried in an unmarked grave.

This soulless look staring back at Stacey in the mirror, compelled her to seek out those same people who would attempt to help the homeless, and this time accepting their help. 

She had nothing, no earthly footprint was left when she got into that van and headed to rehab. Finally, somebody was there to take care of her other than just being reliant on herself. While in rehab, Stacey was able to learn tools on how to reboot her life.

Walking out of this facility with brand new eyes and an unsure future, Stacey chose a very unusual path. Becoming an addiction counselor at Guardian Recovery Network trying to reach those that were once in her situation has given her a new purpose in life, and ability to see things as they really appear, and not through the lens that is fogged by a poor childhood and substance abuse.

Maintaining her sobriety due to her commitment to those that she helped, Stacey has slowly re-entered and regained her soul, and has since been able to reconnect with her children, who are still in the same loving household that was once offered to her.

Stacey Ellis has a unique opportunity that not everybody is given, a second chance. Her voice resonates with experience allowing the opening of a conversation with some who may be resistant. The poor choices in her life were born out of what she believed to be the best. But being born without a foundation prohibits you from building any sustainable structure. You must be leveled to the ground so that whatever is built on top of it can remain steadfast. Brick by brick Stacey Ellis continues to build her new life, a life she could never dream of with a future that was never there as a child.

Do you want to share your story and inspire our readers ? Know that  YOUR EXPERTISE is paving the way for a brighter, happier future.

Kevin P. Donaldson
Kevin P. Donaldson

An accomplished author, seasoned Motivational Speaker and Podcast Host, Kevin P. Donaldson is known for transforming the lives of audiences. His talks are attended by people of all ages and backgrounds. Kevin's approach toward finding success and healing is approached by embracing your pain and running toward it head-on.

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