Manager, Intensive Outpatient Programming, Ohio START Lead, SAMHSA MAT PD
As an employee of Integrated Services, it’s my personal story that gives me hope for people we serve who use substances. I battled substance use issues from high school, through college, into having children, and my late twenties. When I transitioned to IV drug use, it wasn’t long until I walked away from everything I loved: my job, my home, my car and even my children.
I sought help in 2011 from a ministry in Columbus, Ohio. This group of people took me off the streets, helped me get healthy, resolve my legal issues, and develop a relationship with God that I credit today for my continued success. I spent most of 2012 working on my recovery so that I could be a meaningful part of my kids’ and family’s lives again.
I have learned that recovery can be a long, slow process; this process won’t be perfect, and it will require patience, determination, and people in your corner. When I began my journey, I had few resources and was up close and personal with how much work recovery was shaping up to be. It took 11 months for my husband and I to get one of us a driver’s license; 17 months to get a car; and 5 years to get a home of our own for us and our 4 children.
As we were securing these necessities, I went back to school and earned two master’s degrees. I was determined that helping struggling people was what I needed to do with my life. As hard as I worked for all these things, it would not have been possible if I had not had people who wanted to see me succeed.
As a lifelong resident of Ross County, I look around my community and realize that many people who want to recover have needs just like I did. The major difference is that many of them do not have a network of support to help them succeed. That is what propels me forward and fuels my personal vision for the substance use programming we do. While I think teaching skills is vital, I believe there are other important things necessary for people who want to find recovery.
I believe everyone needs something that gives them hope. While it was faith for me, we are all different- but I think it’s necessary we search and find what makes us “come alive” and feel that we have purpose.
I also think people who want to recover need some form of a community to rally around them. Peers, family members, friends, clergy and professionals, like us at ISBH who will help someone find resources, foster hope for the future, and empower them to not give up.
As painful as parts of my journey were, I am thankful today for the experience as I know that it is part of what makes me passionate, makes me effective, and makes me… me.