Mom's dangerous addiction; woman shares her story with others

Homework might seem a little tedious for most parents, but for Christina Mundschau and 9-year-old Aili the time spent together is precious. It wasn’t that long ago things were much different for the mother and daughter.

"I was done emotionally, mentally and physically just exhausted," the Franklin mother said. 

In 2014, Mundschau celebrated the birth of her only child. With the joy of new life came a flood of emotions and medication after an emergency C-section.

"They prescribed me an amount that was quite high for quite some time and then just stopped the prescription," she said.

Christina Mundschau

The new mom started misusing the opioids prescribed to her. When she ran out of the pills, she moved on to something stronger.

"Things just snowballed, and one thing went from one thing to another, and I found myself in the grips of a terrible heroin addiction," Mundschau said.

Mundschau was just 24 at the time when her picture-perfect life started to unravel.

"We lost everything. I don’t know how many different rock bottoms there were," Mundschau said. "How many different consequences there were."

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Mundschau's addiction spiraled. It led to broken relationships, but she says her lowest moment happened when her parents needed to step in and take guardianship of her little girl.

"Having to watch them drive away with your child and knowing there’s nothing you could do about it, and it’s because of things and choices and decisions that you’ve made," she said. "I don’t have the words for that."

Christina Mundschau

Five years after Mundschau's addiction began, she woke up in more ways than one. Mundschau got needed treatment at Rogers Behavioral Health in West Allis. Receiving care at the Herrington Residential Treatment Center.

"I walked in these doors when I was a patient, broken," Mundschau said.

Rogers Behavioral Health

Therapists led Mundschau on a path to sobriety, working through her addiction. In September 2019, she got clean.

"I had to get to a point myself where I could just simply not take it anymore, and I was willing to do whatever was necessary to make this work," Mundschau said.

Five years later, Mundschau is back at the same facility that helped her restart her life. This time, she’s not a patient at Rogers, instead she is giving guidance for people who are in the same situation she was in not that long ago. She is working as a recovery support specialist.

Rogers Behavioral Health

"I get to help watch that light come back, that life inside of them return and to me there’s nothing more powerful or beautiful than that," Mundschau said.

Mundschau joined the same team that helped her. She’s using what she’s gone through to help others on their own paths to sobriety.

"Christina is really one in a million in this building," Katy Pavlik said.

Katy Pavlik

Pavlik is her manager and says Mundschau’s story allows those in treatment to see what can be accomplished.

"She meets with all of our residents at least once a week, and you see that on their faces that here is this living embodiment of someone who’s gotten sober and has put in the work and has done it," Pavlik said.

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Mundschau teaches through her own experience and is living in the moment no matter what life throws her way.

"Your story is not written in stone," Mundschau said. "You have the amazing ability to mold and shape your life the way you want it to be."

Rogers Behavioral Health

Mundschau's new chapter includes a sober life with her daughter – showing everyone new beginnings are possible.

"I truly believe that a huge key to staying in recovery is to give back what you’ve so freely be given," Mundschau said.

Just this month, Mundschau graduated with honors from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. She earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology. She’ll work on her master’s degree in the fall at Carroll University studying behavioral health psychology.