The road to recovery for people battling addiction is never easy, but one Calvert County woman is helping women who have faced hardship rebuild their body and spirit.
Since 2009, Ruth's Miracle Group Home Foundation in Lusby, Maryland, has been a transitional residence for women who want a fresh start after drugs, alcohol, incarceration, domestic violence and homelessness.
It's the vision of Veronica Alston or Miss V as she's called. You wouldn't know it from looking at her, but she has been through hell and back. At one point, Alston's addiction led her to crack, marijuana, hash, cocaine, Quaaludes and heroin.
Clean for seven years, Alston knows all too well about the horror of drugs. In fact, she said she died twice while using.
"They literally put me in the bathtub and covered me with ice, and when I went to the hospital that time, they told me that if it wasn't for them using the ice, that is what literally shocked my heart back," said Alston.
But the founder and executive director of Ruth's Miracle Group Home Foundation said that experience wasn't the worst of it.
"When did you hit that rock bottom point?" asked FOX 5's Allison Seymour.
"My lowest of low is when I had to sell my body," Alston answered. "That was my lowest of low."
She hid her addiction for years and was clean for a while until her second husband died tragically.
"I still took care of my kids," Alston said. "I went to work, but I was a closet user. But toward the end, you don't want to work. You just want to get high."
She said she was able to turn the corner once she asked a higher power for help.
"Sure enough, I started feeling -- I'm going get back, I'm going to make a difference," Alston said.
Today, more than 100 women have completed Alston's year-long program, which includes morning meditation, chores, volunteering, weekly meetings and parenting and anger management classes.
"I listen to their cries, I saw their pain, they come in tore down from the floor down," Alston said. "But I tell them they are strong women. I'm not having it."
The goal is for every woman who goes through the program to live an independent and sober life.
Raina Seymour is back at the home for a second time. An addict for 27 years, she relapsed and became critically ill after leaving the home. Alston was bedside at the hospital.
"She says, 'Hey baby, come on home,' and that meant a lot because she cares so much and there's a lot of people in my life that don't care," Seymour said.
Alston says her only hope is to give women another chance.
"That's what I'm supposed to do," she said. "I supposed to give back. He used my past to make my future."
Ruth's Miracle Group Home operates solely with the help of grants, donations from individuals and businesses.
For more information, go to ruthmiraclehome.com.
If you would like to recommend a person who is paying it forward in our community, nominate them on our Pay It Forward page.