Finding hope and giving back.
If you’ve ever met Dana, you know she cares deeply about helping others. She enjoys spending time with her kids and works hard to support them. As a Peer Recovery Coach, she helps people suffering from addiction address the physical and emotional damages they’ve faced so they can enjoy happy, productive lives.
“It feels good to use the painful situation I went through to help someone else,” Dana reflects.
It might not always be easy, but Dana finds comfort in sharing her experience with addiction so she can help others find success in their recovery journey.
Looking back on her time with Fresh Start and her recovery program, Dana shares, “I didn’t feel judged because I was around other people going through a similar situation or staff who had been through the program.” It is this mentality that she keeps with her each day as she goes to work helping others recover and heal without fear of judgement.
“It feels great to be on this side of it [recovery]. It reminds me where I never want to go again and fuels my desire to be there for those struggling now.”
Taking a few steps back to reflect, Dana felt loved and supported in the family home she grew up in. She learned the importance of a good work ethic and caring for the people around her. When she got pregnant at 16, she knew her life would be different than the one she had planned, but she took on full responsibility for her child. Dana took to heart the new life that was in her hands and all that entailed. She focused her attention completely on raising him and giving him the best childhood she could. Dana didn’t drink or do drugs, and she sought out jobs where she worked hard to provide for her and her son. Life stayed this way for a good while and she was happy with her life and family.
Years later, while working construction, Dana broke her tailbone. The medication she took stayed part of her daily routine long after the pain from her injury subsided. When she could no longer refill the prescription, she felt empty and found new ways to serve her addiction. Shortly after, she had her second child.
“I wanted to get help, but I kept saying I’d get it tomorrow. It’s hard to get better when you’re surrounded by people who are using.”
Dana hid her dependence from her family as long as she could. It wasn’t long before she started to skip work, addiction took over her life, and she became depressed.
She sought help with support from friends and family, but continued to feel like she was letting everyone down. It wasn’t until she became pregnant with her youngest child and was weeks away from termination of rights for her middle child that she knew she was ready to make a change for good.
This time, Dana was determined to stay healthy for her kids. She made the call and got into treatment that same day. She felt supported knowing she had recovery coaches on her side, with her every step of the way.
She gave birth to her youngest child while in Fresh Start and through the program, was able to parent him while her second child stayed with her sister.
“It is the greatest thing to not have to be separated from your children. Completing the Fresh Start program changed my DCS (Department of Child Services) case and ultimately my life.”
Today, Dana is thriving with her three children and her family who supported her along the way. She believes in sharing her story through her work as a Peer Recovery Coach and in open conversations with her eldest child.
“It is important for people to see that your past doesn’t have to dictate your future.”
She hopes that by sharing her story, other people suffering from addiction will understand that they’re not alone and feel inspired to seek help.