No matter the setback, Lise pushed through - and wouldn't take no for an answer.
Square one. That’s what Lise was facing in November 2011.
She was living in Virginia at the time. Her husband has just been sent to prison. So she brought her children to New Hampshire where she had a semblance of a support network. It didn’t go well. Family turmoil found her and homelessness soon after.
She made her way to Seacoast Family Promise and began the comeback. Her daughter was nine months old. Her son was almost two. And their mom was starting over from scratch.
“We weren’t there very long, but during that time I can’t say enough nice things about Miss Pati and Seacoast Family Promise,” she recounts. “It was absolutely amazing.”
During her tenure with Seacoast Family Promise, Lise took advantage of what the program had to offer: the money-saving practices, the house-hunting acumen, and the overall stabilization she needed in that period of her life.
“I wasn’t really sure what I was doing as a single mom,” she says. “They made us feel at home."
Putting her skills – and tenacity – to use, Lise found an apartment and moved onto the next chapter of her life, departing Seacoast Family Promise.
“I wasn’t really sure what I was doing as a single mom. They made us feel at home."
But the progress she had clawed back would evaporate and Lise would soon find herself dragged back down to the dark places she had worked so hard to escape.
“Things went sour,” she says. “I got back to my old ways.”
Those old ways: drinking and doing drugs. She entered a recovery program in July 2012, where she would remain until December. While she was away, her sister watched her children.
“I had never been away from my kids,” she says. “That was really, really rough.”
After leaving the recovery center, things didn’t snap into place overnight. The next year was marred by a series of toxic relationships (“They slowed me down and I had to start over and over again,” she says) and the evergreen menace of drinking and drugs constantly loomed.
“There was a lot of drinking and drugs on and off,” she said. “It’s just so hard. When you’ve known that kind of life for so long it is really tough to stop.”
Through it all, Lise stayed connected to Seacoast Family Promise.
“They have always been wonderful,” she says. “Every Christmas, every Thanksgiving, and even throughout the year, Seacoast Family Promise has been there."
In January 2015, Lise had managed to build enough momentum to further her education. She enrolled in online courses through Southern New Hampshire University so she wouldn't miss any more time with her kids.
It was a good step, but Lise was battling depression, as well as the old demons of alcohol and drug abuse. The depths of her struggle didn’t crystallize until she received an F in one of her classes. For whatever reason, that was the thundercrack that shook her out of her spiral.
“I know it sounds silly,” she says, “but getting that F, well it hit me all at once. The drinking and drugs, what my kids had gone through, all of it. So, I just stopped. I stopped drinking and doing drugs on November 5, 2015, enrolled into a substance abuse program, and I started going to meetings.”
The last few years she had worked as a house cleaner. In January 2023, she started Bougie Beautiful, her own cleaning business. To date she has 24 clients.
In October 2020, Lise received her Bachelor’s degree in accounting. The next month she began work on her Master’s in accounting. Her goal: complete her Master's, kick off a career in accounting, and keep and grow her business. Throughout, she has remained connected to Seacoast Family Promise, participating in the annual school supply drive and every holiday event, even speaking at one of the organization’s events.
“I went through a lot,” she says. “But I had to go through it to get to where I am now. And who knows where I would be if Seacoast Family Promise didn’t take us in.”