Ayana Andrews grew up in Baltimore. Her father was a professional football player for the Miami Dolphins and her mother was a social worker. Her childhood was wonderful until her parents separated when Ayana was 10. Their divorce left her feeling pain and anger that she then carried into adulthood.
At a young age, she turned to drugs to help her cope with life’s hardships. Ayana spent the next couple of years in and out of recovery programs and started using heroin at 30 years old. She came to Marian House in 2020, her second stay with us a decade after leaving our program the first time. She knew if she came back to Marian House that she would learn to love herself again and be supported by a caring team who will help to build her back up and regain her confidence.
Throughout the years, Ayana focused on trying to improve her life by getting trained in various occupations in the medical profession. She was a pharmacy technician for many years and then became a peer recovery specialist. Ayana now works at the Bayview Hospital emergency room as a peer recovery advisor.
“It feels so good being a peer recovery coach. It has allowed me to give back what was given to me,” Ayana stated. “It is amazing! Now I can be who I really am,” she continued.
“The Bayview ER is always overwhelming and crowded,” Ayana said. “The disease of addiction is worse than people know.” Ayana says she is doing great now and knows that Marian House offered the best opportunity for her to heal and keep the focus on her well-being. She stays in contact with her AA sponsor and has built a big network through her sobriety. Ayana stated, “You have to be responsible for your own recovery. I trust the process at Marian House. You must be honest that you have a problem and need advice. You have to be constantly on guard from temptations because addiction is for a lifetime.”
Ayana is now in our Marian House II program, which offers a more independent living environment in a community setting with other women who are striving to achieve similar goals for independent and healthy living. Her goal is to get a master’s degree in social work. Ayana said, “I want to learn and grow and be the best I can be.”