After more than three years of trying to kick her crack habit by herself, Addie L. Waters checked into a drug treatment program to let experts try where she had failed, she said yesterday. "I realized that I had a problem and I needed help," Waters, 32, said during a telephone interview from a private drug treatment facility about 50 miles from Washington. "I couldn't do it by myself," she said. Waters, who is halfway through the 28-day program, and her 6-year-old son, Dooney, were the focus of a Washington Post series this week that chronicled the child's experiences growing up in an apartment that police and social service workers had identified as a crack house. Waters, a former Veterans Department employee, said she began letting drug dealers use her Landover apartment more than two years ago as long as they helped support her drug habit. Forced to resign from her job two years ago, Waters said she traded welfare checks, food stamps and most of the family's belongings to feed her mounting drug habit. "You want it {crack} so bad that you can't help yourself," she said. "I had gone about as low as a person could go," said Waters, who was evicted from her apartment in early July and subsequently lost touch with her friends and neighbors. On July 16, her mother checked her into a four-day detoxification program at Prince George's Hospital Center. From there she enrolled in a private drug rehabilitation center, which contracts with the county to provide group and individual counseling. Waters said she is looking forward to rebuilding her life. "It's not easy," she said. "It's never easy, especially when you have been addicted as long as I have." But Waters probably won't be alone in her effort to kick her habit. More than a dozen people have offered to help her, including the director of the drug rehabilitation program at Dominion Hospital, a Falls Church facility offering inpatient and outpatient services. Several dozen people also have offered gifts and financial assistance for Dooney and his father, who has asked not to be identified. The lives of Waters's two sons declined as her addiction grew. The oldest, 13-year-old Frank Russell West, said he moved out of his mother's apartment in January. He dropped out of the seventh grade last fall and has been arrested six times in the last two years. Dooney's teachers at Greenbelt Center Elementary School said he developed emotional and academic problems after his mother opened their apartment to drug dealers. Waters's estranged husband moved Dooney out of the apartment in May. Told yesterday that his mother had sought help for her addiction, Dooney said, "Good, I'm happy about that." Waters's estranged husband, a recovering drug addict who attends Narcotics Anonymous meetings three times a week, said: "I'm glad she decided to do something. Those of us who know, know that you can't kick a crack habit on your own." Waters said she likely will enter a halfway house when she leaves the rehabilitation program Aug. 18. "I know I am going to get myself together -- not just for me, but for my boys," she said. "You know how I looked in the paper," Waters said, referring to photos published in The Post. "I don't look like that no more. I got my hair done. I'm keeping myself up. I'm gaining weight, too much in fact. I tell you. I'm on my way."