Mom overcoming addiction gives back to Omaha maternity home with preorders of book
OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - Ever since she was a child, writing books was a dream for Leia Baez.
“I remember attending an author meeting at the Omaha Public Library when I was in elementary school and just to know someone’s stories was inside those pages was so compelling to me,” said Baez.
Leia did grow up to write, working 14 years as a journalist, sharing the stories of others but Leia realized she had a story of her own to tell. She had been binge drinking for more than 15 years.
“Came to the realization that I’m abusing alcohol to cover up some feelings and past traumas that I never worked to heal. My drinking amped up in college, there was a daily college drinking special and so it continued to progress and to only get worse.”
Alcohol took Leia down a rough road, facing a divorce and a custody battle. She lost custody of her daughter, Stella, Leia hit rock bottom.
“For a judge to tell me that I’m not worthy as a mother, that I’m not good enough to raise my child even if it was just temporary custody, that was soul crushing to me.”
It also told Leia she had to change, she turned to her faith and her family for help.
“My recover was very spiritual you know, I grew up in a very faith-based family and so I prayed a lot, I meditated a lot.”
Faith and family pulled Leia through. In 2018, she went on to earn a master’s degree. Leia was a commencement speaker, she talked about her journey and the speech went viral.
That’s when Leia decided to write her book, A Star for Stella: A Mother’s Journey to Overcome.
“I do this not only for me but for others to give others hope and to show others that even those dark times in our life the most difficult times in our life can actually lead us to some of the most beautiful destinations.”
Leia’s book is very successful, she is donating some of the proceeds to the Bethlehem House in Omaha. The Bethlehem House is a maternity home where women come to live and work out stressful issues like addiction, mental health issues, and the breakdown of family.
“When something is going on in our lives and we don’t have healthy family around us it makes that all more complicated to deal with not to mention an unplanned pregnancy. What the Bethlehem House does is imitate what a family should be and can be,” said Gina Tomes, Bethlehem House.
Family is very important to Leia, now she’s two years sober and has joint custody of her daughter.
“I had to be a star for my daughter, I had to be that shining light guiding her through the ups and downs showing her the way and I couldn’t do that with alcohol…I couldn’t be my best self if I was still drinking.”
So far through preorders of her book, Leia has donated $2,000 to the Bethlehem House.
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