Mom overcomes addiction, repairs relationship with kids thanks to Phoenix Rescue Mission

Gabriela Garcia explains her dependency on drugs began when she was 17 years old, abusing pills and marijuana.
Published: Feb. 3, 2023 at 5:32 PM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - A Valley mom went from overdosing 13 times and losing custody of her kids to celebrating two years of sobriety. She credits the Phoenix Rescue Mission for helping people like her.

Gabriela Garcia says she never imagined being able to share her story. “I thought I was going to end up dying an addict, I OD’d 13 times in one year, seven of those times was unintentionally,” she said.

Garcia explains her dependency on drugs began when she was 17 years old, abusing pills and marijuana. For a while, she considered herself a functioning addict, working three jobs while going to school. Then, she says a divorce led her to meth and heroin. “Once you do one thing, you do it all,” Garcia said. “When I lost my kids, and had gotten a divorce, I relapsed completely. It got so out of control.” Her addiction led her down a dark path. “I was sleeping in canals, in the desert, broken down vehicles,” she shared.

During that time, she got pregnant with her daughter Genesis. “The meth usage had gone down, but the fentanyl usage went up because I didn’t want to feel anything. I hated myself for getting high while I was pregnant. I hated myself for not being able to stop. I knew it was affecting her and I ended up giving birth in the Walmart parking lot of Apache Junction,” she said.

Still, deep into her addiction, her daughter was taken away by the department of child services. “Getting rolled into the hospital with her on my chest, and leaving the hospital without a baby, was the hardest thing I ever had to do,” Garcia said. Although she wishes that would have been her rock bottom, she admits it wasn’t. “I kind of lost it after that.” she said.

Instead, she says going to jail for eight months was what put her on the road to getting help, eventually turning to the Phoenix Rescue Mission. “Coming here was the best decision I ever made. I did have eight months of sobriety when I got here, but if I didn’t pick a program that was a year long. I don’t see myself being where I am today. I needed the structure, I needed the routine,” she said.

For Garcia, fighting for herself also turned into getting her children back. “I’m a totally different mom today than I was then. I am reconnected with all of my kids now. I’m currently expecting my sixth, and it’s a different journey. I thought my kids would hate me for not having been there, but they’re just happy mom is alive,” Garcia said.

She now works at Community Bridges, helping other addicts, has full custody of her now 2-year-old daughter Genesis and is on her way to getting her own apartment. Garcia says she wants people to know that recovery is possible for everyone.

Below are organizations across the Valley that are available to help with recovery and rehabilitation.

Transforming Lives Center for Men

1801 S. 35th Ave. Phoenix, AZ 85009

(602) 346-3390

Changing Lives Center for Women & Children

338 N. 15th Ave. Phoenix, AZ 85007

(602) 688-6211

Hope for Hunger Food Bank

5605 N. 55th Ave. Glendale, AZ 85301

Open Monday – Friday from 8 a.m.-12 p.m.

(602) 773-4344

Donation Warehouse

2515 N. 34th Drive Phoenix, AZ 85009

Open Monday – Friday from 7:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m.

(602) 346-3347

Mission Support Center

1540 W. Van Buren St. Phoenix, AZ 85007

(602) 233-3000

Norton & Ramsey Social Justice and Empowerment Center

7031 N. 56th Ave. Glendale, AZ 85301

Open Monday – Friday from 9 a.m.-5 p.m.

(623) 207-8902