Who is Maria?

¡Hola, qué tal! Yes, soy yo, Maria. Dos kids, viviendo en Airport Road en Santa Fe. La vida no ha sido fácil, let me tell you. Me embaracé en high school, y boom, dropped out just like that. Pero, you know what? I ain’t one to back down from a challenge.

Been hustling as a maid en este hotel for years now. No es glamorous, but it pays las bills, ¿sabes? And I gotta take care of mis pequeñitos. They’re mi whole world, mi vida.

Struggled with drugs? ¡Sí, claro que sí! Used to dance with heroin, but not anymore. Kicked that demon to the curb, been sober for a while now. But, hey, can’t lie, still puff on a little weed from time to time. Helps take the edge off, you know?

You wanna talk forceful? That’s me, chica. Ain’t nobody gonna mess with this mama bear. Puedo ser chaparrita, but I got fire in my veins. And estos hoop earrings? They’re like my armor, my signature. Don’t mess with Maria when she’s rocking her hoops.

That’s just who I am, can’t change that. So, if you ever need alguien to keep it real, you know where to find me, right here on Airport Road.

Can you tell us about your decision to get sober?

Ay, let me tell you about that time when I decided to get sober. It was after this big fight with my second baby-daddy, Rico. Things got heated, you know? The police showed up, and there were rumors that Rico might’ve pulled a knife. Crazy, right? Next thing I know, Rico’s hauled off to jail.

That was a wake-up call for me, a slap in the face. I couldn’t keep living like that, putting my kids in danger, putting myself in danger. Enough was enough. So, I made the tough decision to get sober, to clean up my act for real this time.

I moved out of that toxic situation and into a trailer with my tía Anna. She’s only 30, but she’s been like a second mom to me. Together, we’re co-raising the kids, making sure they grow up in a safe and loving environment.

It hasn’t been easy, let me tell you. Temptations are everywhere, and the cravings, they hit hard sometimes. But every time I feel like slipping, I look at my kids, I think about what’s best for them, and it gives me strength.

So yeah, that’s why I decided to get sober. For my kids, for myself, and for a better future. And I’m grateful to have my tía Anna by my side, helping me every step of the way.

Rico was wasted?

Yeah, that’s right. Rico was wasted out of his mind when the cops rolled in. I could smell the booze on him from a mile away. It was like he was a different person, all aggressive and out of control.

I remember feeling this mix of fear and anger, seeing him like that. I mean, I knew he liked to drink, but I never thought he’d get that out of hand. When he started getting violent, that was the last straw for me.

I had to think fast, had to think about the kids. I couldn’t let them grow up in that kind of environment, surrounded by all that chaos. So, I made the call, I reached out to the cops. It was the only way to keep everyone safe.

Rico getting hauled off to jail was a wake-up call for both of us, I think. It made me realize that I couldn’t keep living like that, couldn’t keep putting up with his drunken outbursts. And it made him realize that he had a serious problem, that he needed help.

So yeah, Rico being drunk that night was a major factor in my decision to get sober. I couldn’t let his demons drag me down with him, couldn’t let them destroy our family. And I haven’t looked back since.

What’s it like being a sober single mom?

Being a single mom… whew, where do I even start? It’s like being a juggler in a circus, but instead of balls, you’re juggling responsibilities, emotions, and endless to-do lists.

On one hand, it’s empowering as hell. I mean, I’m holding down the fort all on my own, taking care of my kids, putting food on the table, and keeping a roof over our heads. There’s this fierce independence that comes with it, this sense of “I got this” no matter what life throws my way.

But let’s be real, it’s also exhausting. There’s never enough time in the day, never enough energy to go around. It’s like you’re constantly running on fumes, trying to keep up with everything and everyone. And the guilt… oh man, the guilt can be overwhelming sometimes. Feeling like you’re not doing enough for your kids, like you’re letting them down in some way.

And then there’s the loneliness. Sure, I’ve got my tía Anna and a few friends who’ve got my back, but it’s not the same as having a partner, someone to share the load with. Sometimes, I just wish I had someone to lean on, someone to hold me when things get tough.

But you know what? Despite all the challenges, despite all the struggles, I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world. Because being a single mom means I get to see my kids grow up, I get to be there for all their milestones, all their triumphs. And at the end of the day, that’s what it’s all about: love, familia, and never giving up, no matter what.

How do you see yourself?

¡Claro que sí! I’m proud to be a Latina, through and through. It’s in my blood, it’s who I am. Being Latina is more than just a label, it’s a vibrant tapestry of culture, heritage, and strength.

I take pride in our rich traditions, our delicious food, our colorful celebrations. I take pride in our resilience, our passion, our fierce determination to overcome any obstacle that comes our way.

Being Latina means embracing every part of who I am: the struggles, the triumphs, the beautiful chaos of it all. It’s about standing tall, standing together with mi gente, and lifting each other up, no matter what.

So yeah, you can bet your bottom dollar that I’m a proud Latina, and ain’t nobody gonna take that away from me. ¡Viva la raza!

Will you finish school?

You know, that’s been on my mind a lot lately. I dropped out of high school when I got pregnant, and ever since then, it’s been a struggle to find the time and resources to go back. But I haven’t given up hope.

I want to set a good example for my kids, show them the importance of education and never giving up on your dreams. So yeah, I’m determined to finish school one way or another. Whether it’s getting my GED or going back to finish what I started, I’m not letting anything stand in my way.

It might take some time, it might be tough, but I know I can do it. And when I finally walk across that stage and get my diploma, it’ll be one of the proudest moments of my life. So yeah, watch out world, ’cause this hot mama’s got big plans for the future!

Tell me about your kids…

¡Claro que sí! Let me tell you about mis hijos, they’re my pride and joy.

First, there’s mi hija mayor, Rosa. She’s a little firecracker, full of energy and curiosity. She’s got this spark in her eyes that just lights up the room. Rosa’s smart as a whip, always asking questions and soaking up knowledge like a sponge. She’s got big dreams, wants to be a doctor someday, and I have no doubt she’ll achieve it.

Then there’s mi hijo, Miguel. He’s my little troublemaker, always keeping me on my toes. Miguel’s got a heart of gold, though, always looking out for his sister and me. He’s got this infectious laugh that can brighten even the darkest of days. Miguel’s a natural-born artist, too, always drawing and creating something new. Who knows, maybe he’ll be the next Picasso!

Together, they’re my world, my reason for getting up every morning and pushing through the tough times. They’re the reason I strive to be the best mama I can be, to give them the life they deserve. And no matter what life throws our way, we’ll always have each other. That’s what family’s all about, ¿verdad?

I know your family is from Northern New Mexico. Puro Norteno, right? Tell me how you feel about this part of the world?

¡Ah, el norteño! It’s a special place, mi amigo. There’s something about Northern New Mexico that just speaks to the soul.

The landscapes, for one, are breathtaking. From the majestic mountains to the wide-open deserts, there’s beauty everywhere you look. And don’t even get me started on those sunsets, they’re like something out of a painting.

But it’s not just about the scenery, it’s about the people too. The sense of comunidad you find here is like no other. Everyone knows everyone, and we all look out for each other. It’s a place where family comes first, where traditions are passed down from generation to generation.

And let’s not forget about the food. Oh man, the food! From the spicy green chile to the savory carne adovada, Northern New Mexican cuisine is a feast for the senses. And don’t even get me started on the biscochitos, those delicious little cookies that melt in your mouth.

But it’s not all sunshine and roses, of course. We’ve got our fair share of challenges too, like poverty and addiction. But despite the struggles, there’s a resilience here, a determination to keep pushing forward no matter what.

So yeah, Northern New Mexico holds a special place in my heart. It’s home, plain and simple. And I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world.

How important is your sobriety right now? Do you find it hard not to use?

Sobriety… man, it’s everything to me right now. It’s like the foundation that holds everything else up in my life. Without it, I’d be lost, adrift in a sea of chaos and despair.

Don’t get me wrong, staying sober is tough. Real tough. There are days when the cravings hit hard, when all I can think about is using again. It’s like this constant battle in my mind, this tug-of-war between the person I used to be and the person I want to become.

But you know what keeps me going? My kids, mi familia. They’re my reason to stay clean, to keep fighting the good fight. I can’t let them down, can’t go back to the person I was before. I owe it to them, and to myself, to stay sober and keep moving forward.

So yeah, sobriety is important to me right now, more important than anything else. And yeah, it’s hard, but I’m not giving up. Not now, not ever. Because I know that as long as I stay sober, as long as I keep putting one foot in front of the other, there’s nothing I can’t overcome.

what has been the hardest thing?

The hardest thing… where do I even begin? There have been so many challenges along the way, so many obstacles to overcome.

But if I had to pick one thing, I think the hardest part has been forgiving myself. Forgiving myself for all the mistakes I’ve made, all the times I’ve let myself and others down. It’s like this heavy weight that I carry with me everywhere I go, this constant reminder of my past.

But I’m learning to let go, learning to give myself grace. Because I know that I’m only human, that we all make mistakes. And I also know that dwelling on the past won’t do me any good. I’ve got to focus on the present, on making things right here and now.

So yeah, forgiving myself has been the hardest thing. But it’s also been the most liberating. Because once I let go of all that guilt and shame, once I forgive myself, I can finally start to heal. And that, my friend, is worth more than gold.

What advice do you have to other young women? Maybe in a bad relationship, maybe using heroin, fentanyl or meth?

To my fellow young Latina women who might find themselves in tough situations, I want you to know that you are not alone. No matter what you’re going through, there is hope, there is a way out.

First and foremost, nunca olvides tu valor. You are worthy of love, respect, and happiness, no matter what anyone else says. Don’t ever let anyone make you feel like you’re anything less than amazing.

If you’re in a bad relationship, por favor, don’t be afraid to reach out for help. You deserve to be treated with kindness and respect, not fear and abuse. There are people and organizations out there who can help you escape from a toxic situation and start fresh.

And if you’re struggling with substance abuse, know that there is help available. You don’t have to fight this battle alone. Reach out to a trusted friend or family member, or seek support from a local organization or treatment center. You deserve to live a life free from the grip of addiction.

Remember, you are stronger than you think. You have the power to overcome any obstacle that comes your way. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, don’t be afraid to reach out for support. You deserve to live a life full of love, joy, and fulfillment. And with courage and determination, you can make it happen. Estoy aquí para ti, siempre.

Thanks, Maria – I’m looking forward to hearing yur experiences with the steps.