“My battle with addiction started when I was ten years old. My parents were addicts, which created that unhealthy lifestyle at an early age. I started with marijuana and alcohol, but before too long, I was using meth, dropping out of school during my seventh-grade year, and running the streets of Las Vegas. Addiction took over for the next 25 years."
I moved to Washington in 2007, hoping for a new life free of addiction, but that was not the case. I had a few great jobs, a place to live, cars, family, and more, but the addiction was still constant. Eventually, I sought my GED at the age of thirty. It was not until the age of thirty-two that I first tried heroin. At that moment, I knew I had met the love of my life with heroin, and that’s when things got bad. I lost everything and had multiple criminal cases pending before too long. One of those cases got me a nudge from the judge, and I was court-ordered into in-patient care. I decided to go to a 6-month residential inpatient. At the time, my daughter was 2.5 years old. That is when my life started to change, and for the first time ever, I thought to myself, hey, I can do this.
While I was in treatment, I learned about Narcotics Anonymous. Women would come in and share their stories, and I could relate to everything they were saying. These women stayed clean no matter what and were happy and at peace. I wanted some of that peace. Listening to them allowed me to realize that I am not unique. I am just an addict, just like them. I started to feel hope.
If it were not for Housing Hope, I would not be where I am today. They provided housing for my daughter and me when no other place would. Through the programs, services, and Tomorrow’s Hope Childcare, I started creating a life with purpose. I returned to college and am now in my second year of the Child, Youth, and Family Studies BAS at Edmonds College. I am also attending Leadership Snohomish County this year and will start my practicum with Snohomish County Family Recovery Court in the new year. I work at Everett Recovery Café as a recovery coach and resource coordinator. Today I am a contributing member of society, pay my rent with help from Everett Housing Authority, and care about my community.
I want people to know that each one of these little victories is essential to the quality of life I have today. I am beyond grateful for everyone that has played a part in getting me to where I am. I will have six years clean from heroin and meth in April 2023. I will graduate with my Bachelor’s in Social Human Services in June 2023. These are not small things; they are huge!
This year I was finally able to buy the Christmas tree that I have wanted since I got clean. It may not seem like much to others, but for me, it means success, stability, growth, courage to change, freedom, and hope. I have both of my children in my life, my precious fur babies, family, friends, co-workers, and most importantly, a community. I am free from myself today, and that is the biggest win!”
Thank you, Jennifer, for sharing your story and reminding us of the importance of the non-material things that are so profound, beautifully simple, and gratifying in finding meaning and peace in our lives.