Rebuilding My Life in Recovery

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I came to Pioneer quite broken and they gave me that shred of hope I desperately needed. I received housing, counseling and job training to make positive changes in my life.

At 13 years old I started sneaking my parents and friends’ parents liquor; I was binge drinking way too much and ended up in the hospital a couple of times. By age 15, I was taking large quantities of amphetamine pills and this was the start of my 30 year drug addiction. I went through a cocaine addiction at 18, followed by abuse of crack and methamphetamines. My substance abuse was so severe I could not hold down a job as the drugs affected my performance and attendance. I started selling drugs to support my habit and later fell into other criminal behavior that resulted in multiple felonies.

During this time I also got married and had three children that I raised. It was obviously not a healthy atmosphere to be raising children in but somehow we all survived. I was ordered to inpatient treatment by the Department of Corrections; and I put myself in treatment a few years later when I relapsed because I had had enough pain and was starting to witness my children going down the same path. Recovery is a journey, and I am still enrolled in an outpatient program and see a chemical dependency professional occasionally.

I learned about Pioneer’s Roadmap to Success job-readiness training program from the Division of Vocational Rehab and pursued it along with Pioneer’s Tacoma outpatient counseling, and clean and sober housing. After I graduated, Pioneer hired me in a temporary, part time position in HR and I got my footing back in the workforce.  Recently, I was hired by a huge company, headquartered in Seattle, in their HR department. My team calls themselves the Cheetahs (notice the ears I wear) and collects and analyzes data to improve the onboarding process for new employees. We also communicate with candidates about where they are at in the hiring process. Having a job is huge in making me feel like a valued member of society - and it helps me in my recovery. I am so grateful!

Pioneer’s staff worked with me to see my value and guide me in learning how to market myself for employment. Before arriving, I could not get hired because I believed I was unemployable. Pioneer helped me build my self-confidence and feeling of self-worth, and convinced me that I had something really valuable to share.

Today I engage in AA meetings, chair recovery meetings, offer service work, have a sponsor and work the recovery steps. My counselor helped me so much that I felt the need to give back and help someone else. Giving back feels good and helps tremendously with my recovery.

My best advice for others in recovery is to stay away from people that still use - it doesn’t matter if they are close friends or family! And let go of resentments toward yourself and others. Holding on to resentments and people (who are not clean and sober) are the biggest deterrents to a healthy recovery. If after 30 years, I can change and break a horrible addiction that was a daily habit, a criminal lifestyle and moral deterioration, then anyone can make that change. You just have to really want the change, keep an open-mind, be honest and take action. I believe recovery is a possibility for anyone that wants it and is willing to work hard for it.

I am so proud to tell you that I have successfully rebuilt my life and now my relationships with my children and grandkids is better than it has ever been. It feels so good to be trusted to watch my grandkids and receive so much love from them!