"I am already setting an example for my children that change is possible and ensuring that addiction and incarceration do not continue with me or the next generation in my family."
Generational addiction and incarceration are heartbreaking realities for many. I am 37 years old and the third member of my family to go to prison. I began using drugs when I was only 12 years old after watching my whole family struggle with addiction as far back as I can remember. By the age of nineteen, I was a mother of three with CPS involvement, no high school education, a drug charge, and alone with parents who were wrapped up in their own addicted lives.
I tried several times to straighten up and make the best of life’s circumstances. As open adoption became a reality in my family’s life, I vowed to do the best with my life, such as get my education and be the best version of myself for the day when my children came back around. I received my GED in the county jail at the age of twenty while serving a six-month sentence waiting to go to treatment. During this time, the unthinkable occurred, my mom was arrested, on a drug sales charge, as I was waiting for treatment, she was on her way to prison. I went on to complete drug treatment and enrolled in college, began to build a life with a job, school, and even marriage. My life became stable, more so than I ever thought possible. I had begun to break the cycle and was the first in my family to venture into recovery and attend college.
My newfound way of life was opening doors to opportunities and a way of life that scared me, and I felt unworthy of it all. Unfortunately, after a few years of success, I sabotaged everything good in my life because clearly, I still had some lessons to learn. This cycle of relapse occurred many times in my journey, leading to prison not once but twice. This time, I have surrendering acceptance that something needs to change in order to break the cycle of incarceration and addiction in my family.
I had heard women in the prison speak about Televerde and Televerde Foundation and how they had paved the way to their success, and I wanted that for my life as well. I made up my mind to seek out employment at Televerde because of the life-changing opportunities that they offer. Working for Televerde has been the most rewarding experience of my prison term. The women I am surrounded by are like-minded, goal-oriented, and focused on a brighter future.
Televerde and Televerde Foundation believe in all of us, even when we do not see our own potential. This belief and support give us the opportunity to grow into amazing humans. Today, I know my self-worth and potential, I have great relationships with my family, my children are back in my life, and will never know their mother under the influence. I get to share the story that rock-bottom is not a one-way ticket, because today I am soaring to the top.
Televerde has provided me with the tools and opportunities for growth both personally and professionally. Televerde Foundation is preparing me for a successful reentry and a strong foundation to make that permanent break in my family’s generational cycle of addiction and incarceration. With the lessons I have learned and the woman I am becoming, I am already setting an example for my children that change is possible and ensuring that addiction and incarceration do not continue with me or the next generation in my family. Breaking this cycle means more to me than I could ever say, it truly is priceless to know that my kids will have a better outcome than I did, and all because I took a chance on myself.