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There is life beyond addiction- Mercy House in the news

Updated: Oct 7, 2020

CHESTERFIELD, VA (WWBT) - A Chesterfield mother is now in jail after overdosing with her 6 month old baby in the car.

Sara Wawrzyniak was found July 13 in the 2300 block of Turner Road after police were called for a reported overdose. The child was not hurt, but Wawrzyniak was charged with child neglect.

New Life For Youth, which offers recovery programs, says Wawrzyniak was just blocks away from help. New Life for Youth's intake center is located on the 2500 block of Turner Road.

"It's sad that she was a block away from hope, and we know that if she had driven a little farther and parked in our parking lot, that someone could have reached her," said Ashley Ritchie, director of New Life For Youth's Mercy House.

The Mercy House offers a one-year program that focuses on the mind, body and soul of those struggling with addiction.

"It's a holistic perspective," she said. "When you've been in years of addiction, you need a total reset. You need to learn to get up in the morning, learn to do your chores again, learn your vocational training, because it is equipping them they leave our program."

They offer clothing, food, counseling, job training and even parenting classes.

Ritchie knows well how beneficial and transformation the Mercy House can be.

"I was a mom that was addicted to heroin and there's nothing that stops you," Ritchie said. "The grip of addiction is something you can't explain unless you've been in it."

After being arrested, and spending four months in jail, Ritchie says she knew she needed to change her life. She graduated from the Mercy House in 2012, and is approaching almost 8 years clean and sober.

"It's knowing that the resources are out there, and knowing that it's more than a 30 day treatment--you need extended services, it's a lifetime," she said. "It's not just for 30 days, it's for the rest of your life, you are learning to overcome it without using drugs or alcohol to function."

If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, resources from SAARA of Virginia can be found here:

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