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Katrina came to United Way as an intern through the work first program.  I asked Katrina to tell me her story about the road from addiction to recovery.  I am absolutely amazed at what this young woman has gone through and who she is today. Her story is so good, we've included the fulll un-edited version below.  





Where to start?  Well, I guess I should start from the beginning....


I grew up with a "normal" childhood.  My family was riddled with addiction and poverty.  At that time, the day to day happenings seemed normal.  I struggled to make it to school every day, which then lead me to fall behind my peers, and gave me an extreme lack of self-confidence.  Growing up we don't realize how "not in control" of things we are. We just go on, living what seems to be a normal life.  I did not know at the time that addiction, violence, low self-esteem, and a lack of good friends was out of the "norm".  So, my teen years I began to truly mimic the things I grew up believing were normal.  

Dabbling in bad relationships, poor decision making, and drugs had begun for me.  This was the normal at which I grew so accustom to.  I began to develop "friends".  Other misfit children who also believed in the same "normal" that I did.  All in all, this type of behavior all felt comfortable to me.  As I grew more comfortable in these behaviors, people, and decisions, they all grew bigger.  Soon my ability to see the world for what it could be, faded.  I spiraled and fell deeper.  I found myself becoming an adult and the consequences of my actions becoming more and more severe.










As soon as I turned 18, I found myself behind bars.  I made more connections within the walls of that county jail.  I remember feeling invincible.  I often found myself behind bars.  With each visit the charges grew bigger and more extreme.  Outside of jail, the drugs I used became the only thing I could think about.  I soon lost the ability to be a human being.  I was only a drug addict.  I was the person that parents warned their children about.  I was the person who broke into the corner store that you read about in the paper.  If you've ever had your child's bike stolen from your yard, your wallet stolen from your car or woke up to find  your rims gone, that was me.  I WAS THAT PERSON. 



This cycle continued on and on.  But then, I requested to join a drug court program.  Now the judge was leery to even allow me to join.  I don't know if it was the desperation of my voice, or from my families record of drugs and chaos they were attempting to break, but whatever it was the judge allowed me to join.  I spent the next year finding myself.  During this time, I checked in with the judge every week, I endured grueling outpatient treatment, I submitted random U.A.s, I began to work and found out that I AM smart enough to obtain my GED. 



My days were filled with self-help meetings, community service, building relationships with my family, and finding my faith in God through the Salvation Army.  Now I want to say that everything was rainbows and butterflies from here on out, and that I became a model citizen, but that would be a lie.  Yes, the drugs haven't been in my life since, yes I went on to

build a career and study psychology, yes I got my license back, and became a responsible adult that pays bills on time but I still made some "not so great choices".  










I had a hard time letting go of the people in my past.  Which eventually led to be becoming pregnant.  Life is hard as a single parent.  It was clear that the father of my daughter was not going to step up to the plate.  Thankfully, I had surrounded myself with an amazing support group and gave birth to a  beautiful daughter.  With the support of my mother I was able to stay home with Ellie.  This was the most amazing thing that had ever happened to me.  Words cannot describe the feeling you get when you become a parent.  Now my "norm" is doing everything I can for this tiny human.  





Katrina continues to grow and build a stable and thriving life for her and her family.  She is happily married with 2 daughters. 

It has been an absolute joy to see her hard work and perseverance pave the way to a now self-sufficient and healthy life. 

She is an inspiration to those currently struggling and a passionate leader in our community. 

In fact, she is currently the Development Coordinator at United Way. 

I encourage you to grab a cup of tea and perhaps a box of Kleenex and read the full story in her own words.

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