A New Face In The MirrorAs I sat in my car looking at the red and blue lights in my rearview mirror waiting for the officer to approach my window, I knew that my secret was
going to be exposed. I thought about all the people in my life that would be hurt and disappointed by the news. My life had been spiralling out of control for almost a year and now, at this moment, everything came crashing down. All I could think was “Mindy, WHAT ARE YOU DOING?”
In November 2012, I started working a seasonal job and hanging out with a group of friends. We started to go out to the bar a few nights a week. Some of them did drugs on a regular basis and because I was struggling and wanted to escape my thoughts and problems I thought, “Why not?” I wasn’t
scared, just curious to see if I could “get away” from my demons that had haunted me since I was a child. I was immediately addicted.
Crack became the only thing I cared about. My two boys, family, my college education, and financial responsibilities were no longer a priority. I began to make excuses on why I couldn’t watch my kids, pay my bills, or be accountable. The drug took me places I never thought I would have gone, it completely turned my life upside down.
When I got pulled over, I was charged with possession of cocaine. While I was awaiting my sentencing, I was in shock that I had gotten to the point that I was facing a felony charge. I mean, ME, a young woman who was raised in a small county school in a middle class family, now with two kids, a job, and a place to myself. It allowed me to take a hard look at my life and exactly what I was doing not only to myself but to everyone around me.
Something had to change.
During my sentencing I was given Treatment in Lieu of Conviction and three years’ probation. I had to complete an Intensive Outpatient Program, which was a women’s group that met three days a week for 31 consecutive weeks. I also had to attend 2-3 AA (alcoholics anonymous) or NA (narcotics anonymous) meetings a week along with checking in regularly with the probation office. During these meetings, I learned skills on how to cope with
problems that arise daily and how to handle urges I may get to return to the drug. I was taught how to communicate my feelings and that it was okay to talk about how I felt – something that I did not learn while growing up.
In the fall of 2014, I had heard about the Getting Ahead class that Hope House offers through a friend of mine. He shared with me how much he had
gotten out of it and I thought to myself, “What the heck, why not give it a shot and see what this class is all about!” After the conclusion of each class, I left feeling a little better about the direction I was headed with my life and was given the confidence and support to do it! I was able to dig deep and look at all areas of my life. I was taught time management skills, how to set boundaries with relationships, SMART goals, and took a self-reflection assessment – along with A LOT more.
Having someone help connect me with resources such as creating a resume, interview and job skills, and a positive circle of influence to bridge the gap as I was working harder to improve my life has been a priceless gift. Getting Ahead has helped me distinguish the differences between the adult/parent/child voices and when/how to properly use them. I learned that I am worthy of positive relationships and that I am not a door mat and that I am able to stand up for myself and what I believe in. I finally was able to see all the potential within myself and my kids; and so far, this is one of the biggest changes for me.
Since graduating Getting Ahead, I still attend monthly meetings with fellow Getting Ahead grads and allies from the community and I have also been a co-facilitator of a Getting Ahead class – helping others find their worth, potential, and independence. It warms my heart to know that through my
struggles and past decisions, I have a wonderful organization that supports me and allows me to reach out to others that might be facing the same circumstances.
I am still active in NA as that is a huge part of my recovery. I have been the secretary of my home group and am a chair person at meetings. I am also on the Hospitals and Institutions committee which allows myself along with others from NA go into the Hancock County Justice Center and provide meetings to inmates that are seeking recovery.
Recently, after working full time in a factory for a year and a half, I was hired into a busy professional housing office where I have full benefits such as paid holidays, paid vacation, 401K, and health insurance. I enjoy having the weekends and evenings to spend with my boys and I absolutely love my supportive coworkers. And the best part…. I have business cards!!!
To me, they are just more than a card, they make me feel important, worthy, and like I matter. They remind me daily that hard work pays off and you CAN change your life around with the help of great support.
When I got pulled over that late night in 2013, I was terrified about how far I had fallen – I didn’t even recognize the reflection in the mirror. But looking back, I couldn’t be more thankful for that the officer that pulled me over and gave me the eye-opening wakeup call I needed to be the mother, friend, co-worker, and community member I wanted to be.
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