"When you've finally been listened to, that's when you become real to the world, that's when you grow."
- James, Brave Faces Portrait Gallery


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Sara Fabila - Brave Faces Portrait Gallery

"I'm the mother of 5 beautiful children. I'm a grateful believer in Jesus Christ, and I'm also a full-time student who loves to sing, particularly worship; to paint pictures of dreams I've had and to write. One of my goals is to write a book about my life.

I have struggled with mental health issues and addiction, and I've learned there are three sides to a person: The physical, the mental and the spiritual. For anyone suffering with addiction, I believe you have to treat all sides. and no one side defines you."


"By seeking help, getting treatment and getting that therapy, you can actually change your future and your present circumstances. You can't change what happened to you, but you don't have to let it diminish you either."


Listen to Sara speak about the stigma attached to the label of "addict".



"I believe my mother had clinical depression, and there was domestic violence in our home. I grew up believing these things were normal. At the age of 20, when I went through my divorce, I slipped into a very clinical depression. I self-medicated with alcohol to cope with the loss of my marriage. I got involved in an unhealthy relationship, and it wasn't until April 2010 that I ended up in jail.

Because of a drug-induced psychosis, I committed a violent crime against an innocent person, and the psychotropic medication I was given in jail was necessary to keep myself and the people around me safe. It was that intervention that saved my life."


"I realize now it was a chemical imbalance. It wasn't a moral deficiency. I couldn't handle the drugs I was abusing, I was very depressed, and I was hearing voices and seeing things, like many people with schizophrenia do. But because of the stigma and the fear of that label of 'crazy', I didn't seek outside help."


"I was court ordered into a drug treatment program for 18 months, and I learned domestic violence is a learned behavior that can be unlearned, which was very freeing to me. Today, I take my medication, and I'm very pro-active with my health care. I know all the red flags and how to set boundaries against anyone who tries to diminish my spirit or violate my self-worth. I have learned to say, 'I have worth, I have value. And this is as far as you go.'"

Listen to Sara speak about how the cycle of domestic violence can be broken.



"I didn't know the severity of my addiction until I lost my children. They were adopted out to my sister, and they motivate me because I want to honor their lives. Instead of being ashamed of me, I want them to walk with their heads high and be proud of who they are. By giving life to them, they gave life to me in return."

Listen to Sara speak about the importance of her children in her life.



"Today, I am reclaiming my long but not lost dreams of becoming an advocate for socially and economically disadvantaged women. In my own experiences, I learned I was my own best advocate. The system does a lot of good things, but by the same token there are people with mental health issues as well as parents whose rights are violated. I think the system can be improved, and that is my hope, my dream."


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