(Note: This story comes courtesy of Charlotte Hoppers, development director with Grace House, part of United Way’s network of care. Names and images are changed to protect privacy.)
Denise learned a lot from her experience with one of United Way’s network partner agencies, but the largest lesson was “it’s never too late.”
Denise was addicted to drugs, specifically Crystal Methamphetamine or “meth.” Her meth addiction cost her a job, car, house, money, family, and as she puts it – even her soul. Meth is a highly addictive drug that can be manufactured relatively cheaply by using products that are commercially available anywhere in the country.
“My early years were filled with memories of my alcoholic and abusive father and a mentally ill mother,” Denise says. “Once I was master of my own destiny, I chose alcohol, drugs and an emotionally and mentally abusive husband.”
Before coming to the agency, Denise spent 10 years in bondage to her meth addiction.
“I compare my life then to someone falling and tumbling down the side of a very high mountain in slow motion, hitting trees and rocks and becoming very beat up and bruised in the process,” Denise says.
Denise finally reached the bottom of that bottom when she broke down and admitted to counselors that she was sick of being beaten up, and how she had lost all hope.
“I suppose that my higher power, who kept me alive all these years, had other ideas. When I barely walked through the door of the agency for help last year, it was nothing short of a miracle,” she says.
Counselors gave Denise the necessary mental and emotional tools she needed to stay in recovery, simultaneously teaching her more about her disease of addiction. Denise recalls that every member of the staff was filled with wisdom, love and caring – things Denise so badly needed in her life. The staff showed her what a woman in recovery can truly become.
“In a few weeks I will celebrate a year of recovery and in that short time I have obtained a job I love, a home of my own, use of a car and most important of all, some self-respect. I remember thinking that I had gone too long and that it was way too late to start over again, but now I know it is never too late!”
Thanks to your support of United Way’s network of care, men and women who want to start over and battle their addictions are able to participate in programs that provide information and tools so they can engage in the hard work of sobriety and recovery.