At the age of 13, I was hospitalized for a big drug habit and put under suicide watch. After two years in the hospital, where I had been labeled as “self-destructive,” I ran away and started traveling with a carnival. I loved the people and life. I had three children during this time. My children had many “parents” and people who looked out for them and spoiled them. Carnival people are very close-knit and are your “family”. During the off-season, I lived with my grandmother, who was very supportive.
After I left the carnival, I began using drugs again. However, trying to raise my two daughters and son made me realize I needed to leave this life and become more responsible. I needed to change. After being in an abusive relationship for six years, I moved from Flint to Cadillac. Unfortunately I lived a block away from a bar and became an alcoholic. I lost my two girls to foster care and my son got in trouble and went to Boysville. I went to the treatment center and stayed sober for six years. I did 21 days in Traverse City and then long-term for 4 ½ months. In 1994, while in the treatment center, I was first diagnosed with severe depression and prescribed medication. Unfortunately, there was no follow-up treatment until 2000. After staying sober for six years, I went back to drinking.
Then I met Stanley and he became my rock. He taught me that there was a lot more to living than drinking. He encouraged me to return to school. I did – I am now attending Baker College, studying for my bachelors in Human Services.
I hope to get a career at Community Mental Health. I have done two internships at Club Cadillac and in the Cadillac clinical office. I can hardly wait for tomorrow. It means a new life for me each and every day.