Addiction is a disease, and it's not something you can kick overnight. For many people, struggling with drug and alcohol abuse is a lifelong battle. If you are lucky enough to find support to get clean, remaining sober is a daily battle that requires constant attention.
Currently, over 25 million Americans suffer from drug addiction, which is almost equivalent to the population of Texas. Sadly, only 11% of people who suffer from addiction receive treatment.
Some drug addicts have experienced trauma, which makes them hesitant towards treatment, like Meghan DiGiacomo.
"I lost the love of my life, we both overdosed, and when I woke up he was dead," she said. "I'm not really afraid [to die from drug addiction], and honestly, sometimes it just seems easier."
But one woman in Sarasota, Florida, is opening her home to these addicts with the hopes that it lends the support they need.
Amber Gordon, a recovering heroin addict, currently lives at Denise Gattuso's house with seven other addicts. She doesn't know Gattuso, other than as the woman who is helping to turn her life around.
"I've died a few times, I've overdosed, and I've experienced jails and institutions," Gordon said. "It took me to a really dark place. It brought me to homelessness and prostitution."
But then she met Gattuso through a program called Prodigal Daugthers, who help women get the necessary resources to get and remain sober.
"She walks alongside you and guides you down this path to freedom," Gordon said. "It's a love of the family that, for one, I never got. They don't judge you here. They walk along side you and kind of meet you right exactly where you are at."
Gottuso's house is unlike other healing centers, because it allows these women to bring their children into the house and stay with them. They don't have to get jobs or worry about bills, all the recovering addicts have to do is focus on bettering their lives. Despite housing seven women and their kids, Gottuso says she still wants to do more. There's currently 50 applicants waiting to get into her home to continue their journey to recovery.
"They're still calling. Every day there are maybe four or five phone calls for people to get in here," she said. "It breaks my heart that I can't help these women because I don't have the facility or the means to do it right now."
The County Sheriff's Office donated $5,000 to Gattuso's cause to purchase a new house.
"Whatever we need to do, we fight for these women because we believe in them and we believe their life can be productive and they can be a productive citizen if they can get that help they need," said Gattuso.