In October of 2015, I got out of prison on a bracelet. I was working at Dunkin Donuts and I was just getting by. A year and a half later, it’s amazing how much has changed for me. All I did was continually choose to do the next right thing. Justin, Chris, Amy, and the Process Recovery Center as a whole, gave me a shot and believed in me. I started out as a Behavioral Health Tech and I am now the supervisor of the Behavioral Health Techs. I’ve grown tremendously. Yes, I’ve done the work to get to where I am, but had they not believed in me, I wouldn’t be at this point.
I’m still actively on parole, but I am also more of a colleague with the justice system, which is very different for me. It’s an even level playing field. They still have some power over my life but I don’t worry. I’m technically on parole until July of 2018 but my parole officer is going to put in for early termination. It is a little hard sometimes to feel like there are so many people looking at me and wondering: “What is she doing?” But on the other side of that, all those people look at me and they see that it is possible. You don’t have to get stuck in a prison mentality for the rest of your life. You CAN change. You CAN move on.
This is more than a job to me. It really is about getting people off the street. Every time I got out of prison, I relapsed because I didn’t have any support, I didn’t have anyone who believed in me, and I was working for eight dollars an hour. I couldn’t pay my bills. My relapses always started with selling drugs. The concept of supporting myself was always my downfall. I have a huge passion when it comes to people who are coming out of prison. If we just give them some tools and show them some support, look at what could happen.
Stay in the center of recovery. I talk to somebody in recovery every day, whether it’s a coworker or somebody in the program. I don’t make decisions without bouncing them off people first. For me, it has been really key to stay active. I started a Big Book Step Study at my home because I realized I was slacking on my meetings. Now I don’t have a choice because everyone comes to me. It has been really good. I started reading the book again and working on some stuff. I needed someone to show up at my door. I can always find an excuse to not go to a meeting.
I just put in an offer on a house. I’m very fearful about buying this house and leaving a sober living community. But at the same time, the balance in my life is not great. Moving is going to be good for me. It’s not going to feel good in the beginning. I’ve done a bunch of talking with my sponsor about that. It’s going to feel scary and different. But this is the next step. It’s going to provide a sense of security. Today, it’s about slowly achieving goals and taking baby steps.
When I bought a house last time, I was in a relationship and still very close to my brothers, whom I don’t talk to right now. So when I thought about buying a house this time, I said: “I can’t do it. I don’t know how to do handle owning a home when it’s just me”. I talked to my sponsor and people in the program about it. They said: “Are you out of your mind? You have a hundred of us who would drop stuff at any given moment to come help you”. It really put my mind at ease
I’ve started to talk to my kids again. There are a lot of amends to make…a lot of living amends. It is better than it was. It’s on their time. I’m not the boss of that anymore. They’re very apprehensive and I don’t blame them. That’s another thing that has really worked for my recovery. Before, I thought: “I did my prison time, I’m clean, what more do you want from me?” I had the attitude that I couldn’t do any more than I was already doing. Well, I can. I can continue to do what I’m doing. I always used that as a reason to relapse before. I’m not doing that now. I took that off the table. I’m accepting of where I am.