Kimberly’s story might be difficult to read, with chapters of her life that are overwhelming and heartbreaking. But we promise it will leave you with hope – for Kimberly and others who have had similar journeys.
We sat down with Kimberly a few days shy of her graduation from Women’s Hope, our recovery program for women with substance use disorder and moderate to severe mental health issues. A year ago, she never would have thought she’d be sober now, let alone alive, to tell her story.
She first came to Women’s Hope in January 2022 after two months in a hospital mental health unit. “I was so fed up with my life, with using drugs, drinking, being homeless, and having nothing,” she recalls. “I took 180 pills. Then I woke up in a hospital bed on a breathing tube with my dad praying by my side.”
Kimberly spent most of her life surrounded by substance use – whether it was her neighbors, friends, or even her siblings, it was all she knew. “I thought it was normal,” Kimberly explained. “That’s what I have always seen, so I thought, you know, this is just what life is.” When she tried cocaine for the first time at 15 years old, she had no idea this would send her into “a terrible, destructive whirlwind.”
“I was doing a lot of very bad things, dangerous things. Ever since then, I’ve been in and out of rehab. But this time is different. This time has been a real eye-opener,” says Kimberly.
She spent her first few days at Women’s Hope reluctant to accept help from others, something she had always grappled with. But she says she woke up one day and had an epiphany – something had to change if she wanted to stay alive. Kimberly explained, “I just knew it was time to completely surrender myself. To actually allow the people here to help me. And since then, I’ve found so much happiness within myself.”
When we spoke with Kimberly, she had recently completed her GED, was soon to be starting classes to become a Certified Nursing Assistant, and had spent that morning setting up the electricity for the apartment she plans to move into once she graduates the program. “I’m really excited to be able to live on my own and actually do this. Setting up the electricity today, I realized it was the first time I ever had a bill in my name. It felt a little weird, but it felt really good too,” she told us.
Kimberly credits the Women’s Hope staff, her fellow residents, and her loving father for giving her the help and support she needed to have a second chance at life. And to give thanks, she plans to dedicate her life to helping others.
Before we parted ways, she wanted to make sure she could help someone who might be reading her story and facing struggles in their own life. Here is her message for that someone:
“I just want to tell you that drugs and alcohol are always going to be there, but you might not be. That’s the reality of it. Try something new because what’s six months to a year? That’s nothing compared to the rest of your life. And you never know, during that time, you might experience things that you’ve never even dreamed of. The happiness you will find, you will never want to go back to what you were doing before. I thought I was going to die. I was supposed to die, but I didn’t. And now, I’ve accomplished more this year than I’ve ever accomplished in my entire life. Take the help. Trust me, it will get better.”