My childhood wasn’t like most. I moved from place to place, finally finding stability with my grandparents. My parents went their separate ways and my grandmother passed away. Suddenly, the only home I’d ever really known was gone. Devastated and lost, I turned to drugs.
On the streets, I remember there were times I would be without food or water and I hadn’t bathed in days. My only concern was how I was going to get my next fix. The addiction got me into trouble with the law and I was arrested and placed on probation.
I’ll never forget what put my life on the track to recovery. I was supposed to attend a hearing in drug court, and failed to show up. They sent officers to arrest me and I ran. I was 17, pregnant and scared. I hid out for three days. On the night before I was arrested, I remember I was on my hands and knees in a basement and I just looked up at God. I started crying and screaming and I said ‘I can’t do this anymore.’ My life is over, isn’t it? I’m going to die and my son is going to die.’ I can still feel it in the pit of my stomach how I felt that night. I was really scared. It was really over. Where was I going to have my son…on the street? I was seven months pregnant.
I was arrested soon after that night and thrown into a juvenile detention center, where I slept on a cot in a cement block cell. How was that helping me get over my addiction? How was that helping me get my life back on track?
I heard about Crittenton through my counselor and asked the judge to send me there. When I arrived, they took me to my room with a real bed. And I hadn’t slept in a real bed in months. I lay back on the bed and I had the biggest wave of peace run over me. I thought, ‘It’s going to be okay.’
Right away, I met my therapist, Megan. She was so welcoming and made me feel comfortable. Megan told me, “I’m here to help you, not to judge you.” And Megan never judged me. When I came to Crittenton, I was not doing well in school and never thought I could be a college student someday. I began taking classes at West Virginia Northern Community College during my stay at Crittenton.
I’ve come a long way since my days on the streets. Back then, I couldn’t take care of myself, much less another human being. There are so many possibilities. Now I'm enrolled in college, raising my daughter with my fiance and working part-time. I couldn’t have done it without Crittenton.
Crittenton was the first stage of my journey. It's where I learned that true transformation comes from within. It was the foundation of my recovery and where I began to feel comfortable in my own skin. I wanted to share my journey of recovery with the girls at Crittenton because I was once that girl who just needed someone to understand me and be patient, loving and tolerant. Sharing my story is my way of giving back and saying ‘thank you Crittenton’ for never giving up on me. If my message touched just one person today, then I came here to do what I was meant to do.