On May 5th, 2011, I was being chased, tackled and arrested by the police in a McDonald’s parking lot, while my 14 year old brother watched from across the street. At that time, I didn’t know who I was. All I knew was that my present and future consisted of getting high, making money and hurting those around me. I had no real friends, my family had given up on me, and the only thing I cared about was feeding my addiction.
As a result of my arrest, I was looking at serious jail time. The judge had offered me Drug Court to avoid a state sentence and to try to change my life for the better. I didn’t want that. I wanted to serve my time so that I could get out and resort back to my old ways.
One day, all of that changed during a family visit. My little brother turned around and said, “Gina, have you ever seen the movie ‘Walk the Line’?” I replied that I had. “Well, you remind me of Johnny Cash. In the movie, all of his loved ones are there trying to help him, and he doesn’t get it. You’re doing the same thing.” For the first time in my life, I was speechless.
Months later, I was being sworn into the Bucks County Drug Court Program. I got engaged with a recovery specialist, Rick P, at the Southern Bucks Recovery Community Center, as part of the Drug Court’s requirements. He helped me develop a resume, look for employment and gave me great advice on how to cope with daily struggles. In between looking for employment, I began volunteering and giving back to others what was freely given to me.
During this time, I was slowly developing healthy relationships with my family members and people in the rooms of 12 step support meetings. The rooms taught me how to be honest with others, as well as myself. I was gaining trust back with my family, and they could see that I was on the road to long term recovery.
Once I found employment, my volunteering ceased. Rick P. could see how passionate I was about helping others. He suggested I take the CRS (Certified Recovery Specialist) training through Pro-Act. I mentioned it to my family, and they thought it was a great idea. They even paid for it!
From there, things just kept getting better for me. I passed my CRS exam in July of 2013. I graduated from the Drug Court Program in August of 2013. I was hired at the Council of Southeast PA and Pro-Act in November of 2013 as a CRS for the participants that are still on Drug Court!
I can honestly say that I never could have imagined my life heading in this direction. But I am so glad it did. Today, I have friends I can rely on, and who are there for me to pick me up when I’m having a bad day. I receive texts from my little brother, now 17, saying how proud he is of me and my progress. My boyfriend of 2 years holds my hand and continues to support me through my journey. My grandparents and my mother thank God every day that they have “the old Gina” back. I wouldn’t change a thing.
I found a road to recovery and developed a support system that works for me. So can you.