My name is Jen and today my life is nothing like it was just a few years ago. It all started with a simple prescription pain killer prescribed after a surgery and it turned into a full-blown addiction that took over my life.
My three older kids wanted nothing to do with me and I lost custody of my youngest, who was only in kindergarten at the time. Eventually, the law caught up with me and I was sentenced to the Campbell County Detention Center Chemical Dependency Program.
The first day I was in the program, I went in thinking I was nothing like the rest of the girls. It only took me 24 hours to be humbled by the fact that I was just like them, maybe worse. There were so many feelings and emotions to sort through while I was in jail because now I was sober, especially repairing relationships with my family.
When I first went to jail, I was resistant to the help. I just wanted to do whatever I needed to get by. About a month before my release date, I started working with a staff member from Brighton Center, Georgia. She worked to help connect me to resources to make my release back into society just a little easier. I was lucky enough to have a home to come back to, but Georgia helped make sure my basic needs like food and clothing would be covered and enrolled me in the Stable Families program within Brighton Center’s Family Center.
Georgia made sure I had presentable clothing for my final court date. It was one less burden I had to worry about. There are so many triggers immediately after walking out the door from jail, and so many mixed emotions. I was high on drugs when I first entered the jail and was coming out completely sober. You don’t know how others are going to react or how you are going to react. Having Georgia in my corner to help, was one less for me to worry about.
I did struggle with sobriety even after getting released, but Georgia was still there and never gave up no matter how bad I messed up or what I did. It means so much that I had her support, even when my family members had given up, she did not. One day, I realized that I didn’t want to live that life anymore, I wanted to have my kids and grandkids in my life. I wanted to provide for my own family. I am so proud to say that I am now 1.5 years sober.
Through case management services, I reconnected with my children and grandsons who I wasn’t allowed to see while I was using. This will be the first year since 2015 that I will be able to spend Christmas with my youngest daughter. This is the first year I have been able to take her to the first day of school since 2016. She’s in 4th grade now and I won’t miss any more of her life.
In August, I lost my job due to COVID-19. Georgia helped connect me to rental assistance through Family Support to cover the difference I was not able to pay for. She also connected me to the Kentucky Career Center to look for a job. I did not have very much job history, but they walked me through creating a resume, interview skills, and how to dress appropriately. Despite my record, they were able to connect me with an employer who was willing to work with me. I never would have had the confidence to apply for a job at L’Oréal if it were not for them. I now have a stable job with opportunities for advancement.
In addition to helping me, Georgia also connected all three of my adult daughters to resources including the Every Child Succeeds program for my grandsons.
I want to get somewhere and plant my feet in the ground and work my way up a ladder. I want to watch my grandkids grow, and my youngest finish school and go to college. I want to sit back and enjoy all the things in life I missed. I don’t come from a big family and I don’t have a lot of family support, but I know I can always turn to Brighton Center no matter what life throws my way.