Drug Court Options and Stable Employment Assist in Building a New Life

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We are fortunate to have Darlene on our distribution team at the Pioneer Distribution Center (PDC). She has worked with us for over three years and is an excellent employee. Darlene shared how she is grateful to be in recovery from her substance us disorder. She told her story of how she was given a second chance to succeed in life after years of substance abuse and a felony record.

PDC receives parts and materials from a major aerospace company and all 10 of the community manufacturing partners that manufacture for the company. Parts are stored, tracked, packaged and shipped based on the needs for different airplane programs.
Darlene’s Story
In the summer that I turned 30, I was introduced to painkillers. By then, I was already married and had two beautiful children. I also had a career that I had worked hard in since I was sixteen years old. I thought the painkillers were the answer to all my problems and that they were helping me to be able to keep up with my responsibilities.

The Lack of Having Coping Skills
My addiction quickly got worse when I struggled emotionally with the death of my grandmother, as we were very close. This new pain was not physical - it was emotional. I had no coping skills to deal with it, so I tried to numb the emotional pain in my heart.

Unfortunately, I kept taking as many pills as I could get hold of from various sources. My addiction had gotten so bad that I could no longer function as a mother or an employee, especially when I was trying to withdraw.

I thought I was clever, and started getting more painkillers from another doctor. Looking back, I realize that I was completely out of control and I hated myself for not being able to care for my children like they needed and deserved. But, addiction doesn’t care about anyone or anything.

Drug Court Option
“My addiction went on for years. At one point, I started selling pills to help support my habit. I was eventually caught by an undercover officer. I was given a choice of jail or a drug court program and chose to go through the program as a jail diversion.
I went through a drug rehabilitation program for three months and a halfway house for three months. I was slowly rebuilding bonds with my children and family, and realized I was given a second chance. When I say I am grateful, believe me, it is an understatement.

Finding Out About Pioneer Human Services    
While in my sobriety journey, I had moved to Washington but could only find a job working for a fast food chain because of the felony on my record. Several months later, I heard people talking about Pioneer Human Services and their focus on working with people with a criminal past. Of course, I was doubtful and scared because I figured I would be denied employment due to my felony. 

However, I decided to check Pioneer out and went on their website anyway. When I saw Pioneer's vision, mission, and values, I was so excited. I kept reading the website and when I saw, “Pioneer is an entrepreneurial human service organization that provides a CHANCE FOR CHANGE,” I knew I had found the perfect place to build my career.
Kathy Gasca, distribution manager at PDC shared, “Darlene was hired in 2019. At the time, she was working at Burger King and finding it hard to manage dealing with difficult schedules and no medical benefits. She felt stuck due to her felony.”

Kathy added, “Darlene found out about Pioneer and came in for an interview. I found her as being very forthright about her past. She interviewed well and definitely fit our mission. After she was hired, she showed up with a great work ethic and a zeal to learn.” Kathy continued, "Darlene had - and still has - a positive, bright, approachable and warm personality, and she takes her job seriously. She has compassion for our mission and struggling team members, but holds her team members accountable. We are so proud and fortunate to have her as a valued team member. In December 2021, we were happy to promote Darlene to a distribution support II position – a well-deserved promotion.” 
Darlene added, “It’s been a little over three years and I still love my job! I am so thankful and grateful to Pioneer for giving me a chance for change. My employment is a cornerstone to my new life!"

Monday, November 28, 2022