Member Profile: Margo's Story

Posted on February 25, 2014

Margo reconciling expenses at The Phoenix CollectiveMargo reconciling expenses at The Phoenix Collective

Margo is quick to admit, “My life has never been as stable as it is now.”  Through Fountain House’s Housing Program, she is progressing toward her own apartment. “I lived in The Wanaque Residence for a year. I had my own room and a 24-hour support staff. They even cooked for us. Recently, I felt like I was ready for something more independent and I moved into a shared apartment. I have two roommates now and we have our own kitchen. It is great for me because I can come and go as I please and cook my own meals.”

Stability is relatively new in Margo’s life. She grew up in Harlem with an abusive, heroin-addicted father. “I remember being 8 years old and walking in on him trying to light my mother on fire. We moved around a lot to get away from him. We were always on the run. I was a very depressed kid.”

At 18, she married and, ironically, wound up in a similar situation to her mom’s. “My husband was an addict too. He introduced me to drugs, which took my life in a whole other direction.”

When Margo divorced, she moved back in with her mom. “I started hearing voices telling me to kill myself. I attempted suicide and was hospitalized. I was diagnosed with schizophrenia.” At the hospital, she heard about Fountain House.

“I didn’t know something like this existed for people with mental illness.” Fountain House connected Margo to a peer treatment group, which supported her recovery from substance abuse.  She was also able to obtain a part-time job as an executive assistant. “The work ethic really appealed to me. I’ve always liked working.”

Margo laughs, “My mom keeps asking me when I’m getting out.  She thinks I’m in a hospital situation again.  She wants me to move back in with her.  But, the truth is, I don’t miss living with her at all.  I keep telling her, ‘No, Mom, I have my own apartment now.’”

“Since childhood, I’ve felt like I’ve been running from one place to the next. Thanks to Fountain House, I don’t feel like that anymore.”

Meet another Fountain House member. Read Susan’s story.

Elizabeth Lion
Development Officer, Fountain House

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