Former Client is ‘Best Mom Ever’

 

It’s been nearly 25 years since Nicol chose her kids over drugs. Today they are grateful their mother was there for them growing up. She’s the “best mom ever,” says daughter Mandy, who stayed with Nicol at Parisi House on the Hill when Mandy was 2 years old. 

At age 27, Mandy doesn’t remember much about being at Parisi House, but she does have wonderful memories of a mother who did what she could to make her kids’ lives better. Mandy says her childhood was filled with mother-daughter outings and lots of family time.

“She really gave us the best life we could possibly imagine,” Mandy adds. “She was there for everything – cheerleading, karate, my brother’s football games.”

“I knew I had to do it for my kids,” Nicol says. “The first three months I was there it was a little rough, but I really felt like I finally had people on my side – people who understood my abuse.”

She had a traumatic childhood, including sexual abuse that began when she was 5. She started smoking marijuana in fifth grade. “I wanted anything that would help me forget about what was going on, and that nobody was protecting me,” she adds. Nicol was introduced to methamphetamine at age 17 when she was living with her older sister.

“That was all it took,” she says. “I was hooked.”

Nicol met her husband Bill when she was 18 and pregnant with her first child. They were friends for a while before becoming a couple. He helped her during her pregnancy because her then-husband was in jail and she had no support system.

“He was there for me,” Nicol remembers. “I stayed with him as a friend. He took me to doctor’s appointments and he started hearing the heartbeat. He would bring me food and give me money for groceries and whatever else I needed. He didn’t want anything in return.”

The pair married in 1991 and had two children together – Matthew and Mandy. Nicol and Bill struggled with their addiction as they tried to raise their kids. They knew they needed to quit using drugs, so eventually Nicol asked a social worker for help.

Nicol and Mandy Stay Together

Nicol came to Parisi House on June 11, 1996, while Bill went to another program. The boys entered foster care, but thanks to Parisi House, Nicol could have Mandy with her.

“I think having Mandy with me helped with my recovery,” she says. “It helped me focus, and I learned a lot of mom skills. I had my son at 18, so I didn’t really know how to be a mom. I got to learn those skills, and when I got back home, I was a better mom.”

Nicol says she had a great counselor who “just had a way of telling me things.” The classes helped her learn how to overcome her addiction. 

“We went to classes all day,” Nicol remembers. “The big one for me was relapse prevention class. Being with the other moms was also good, and writing in my journal helped.”

She got a job at a grocery store after leaving Parisi House, but became a stay-at-home mom when a back injury sidelined her. Although she has dealt with chronic pain since, she was happy to have more time with her kids. In high school, Mandy got involved in competitive cheerleading and mom and daughter spent a lot of quality time together traveling to tournaments. 

Now Mandy is in college earning her master’s degree in social work. “Growing up we had a lot of social workers around,” she says. “One in particular made a big difference in my family’s life, so I thought maybe that could be me. I want to help people and make a difference.”

For the most part, life has been good for Nicol and her family. She is a grandma now and enjoys spending time with her 3-year-old grandson. She and Bill were finally able to buy a home in San Jose after their kids were grown, and Bill is hoping to retire in a few years. Nicol says she is grateful Parisi House was there for her when she needed it. 

“Parisi House is a special place,” Nicol says. “I’m proof you can come out a whole different person if you go in there and really put your heart into the program and listen to what they’re telling you.”

Mandy adds, “I think it all worked out for her because of the people she met and the program she was in, but it’s also because of her, her willpower and love for her kids. It’s a testament to how strong she is. My mom did the hard work because she wanted her family. She wanted the best life for her kids.”

 

Former Client is ‘Best Mom Ever’

 

It’s been nearly 25 years since Nicol chose her kids over drugs. Today they are grateful their mother was there for them growing up. She’s the “best mom ever,” says daughter Mandy, who stayed with Nicol at Parisi House on the Hill when Mandy was 2 years old. 

At age 27, Mandy doesn’t remember much about being at Parisi House, but she does have wonderful memories of a mother who did what she could to make her kids’ lives better. Mandy says her childhood was filled with mother-daughter outings and lots of family time.

“She really gave us the best life we could possibly imagine,” Mandy adds. “She was there for everything – cheerleading, karate, my brother’s football games.”

“I knew I had to do it for my kids,” Nicol says. “The first three months I was there it was a little rough, but I really felt like I finally had people on my side – people who understood my abuse.”

She had a traumatic childhood, including sexual abuse that began when she was 5. She started smoking marijuana in fifth grade. “I wanted anything that would help me forget about what was going on, and that nobody was protecting me,” she adds. Nicol was introduced to methamphetamine at age 17 when she was living with her older sister.

“That was all it took,” she says. “I was hooked.”

Nicol met her husband Bill when she was 18 and pregnant with her first child. They were friends for a while before becoming a couple. He helped her during her pregnancy because her then-husband was in jail and she had no support system.

“He was there for me,” Nicol remembers. “I stayed with him as a friend. He took me to doctor’s appointments and he started hearing the heartbeat. He would bring me food and give me money for groceries and whatever else I needed. He didn’t want anything in return.”

The pair married in 1991 and had two children together – Matthew and Mandy. Nicol and Bill struggled with their addiction as they tried to raise their kids. They knew they needed to quit using drugs, so eventually Nicol asked a social worker for help.

Nicol and Mandy Stay Together

Nicol came to Parisi House on June 11, 1996, while Bill went to another program. The boys entered foster care, but thanks to Parisi House, Nicol could have Mandy with her.

“I think having Mandy with me helped with my recovery,” she says. “It helped me focus, and I learned a lot of mom skills. I had my son at 18, so I didn’t really know how to be a mom. I got to learn those skills, and when I got back home, I was a better mom.”

Nicol says she had a great counselor who “just had a way of telling me things.” The classes helped her learn how to overcome her addiction.

“We went to classes all day,” Nicol remembers. “The big one for me was relapse prevention class. Being with the other moms was also good, and writing in my journal helped.”

She got a job at a grocery store after leaving Parisi House, but became a stay-at-home mom when a back injury sidelined her. Although she has dealt with chronic pain since, she was happy to have more time with her kids. In high school, Mandy got involved in competitive cheerleading and mom and daughter spent a lot of quality time together traveling to tournaments.

Now Mandy is in college earning her master’s degree in social work. “Growing up we had a lot of social workers around,” she says. “One in particular made a big difference in my family’s life, so I thought maybe that could be me. I want to help people and make a difference.”

For the most part, life has been good for Nicol and her family. She is a grandma now and enjoys spending time with her 3-year-old grandson. She and Bill were finally able to buy a home in San Jose after their kids were grown, and Bill is hoping to retire in a few years. Nicol says she is grateful Parisi House was there for her when she needed it.

“Parisi House is a special place,” Nicol says. “I’m proof you can come out a whole different person if you go in there and really put your heart into the program and listen to what they’re telling you.”

Mandy adds, “I think it all worked out for her because of the people she met and the program she was in, but it’s also because of her, her willpower and love for her kids. It’s a testament to how strong she is. My mom did the hard work because she wanted her family. She wanted the best life for her kids.”