This holiday season will be the first in two years that it is safe for most of us to gather with loved ones, to offer thanksgiving and to enjoy celebrating with family and friends in person rather than from a distance. But for many North Texans who are struggling with addiction, this joyous season can be the most difficult time of the year.
Heather knows what it’s like to sleep on concrete in the dead of winter. She spent four years — the worst years of her addiction — living on the street, sleeping on museum steps and park benches. One bitterly cold night, trying to get warm, she was arrested for starting a garbage can fire. At that moment, Heather realized that her arrest was an opportunity. An opportunity to get sober and change her life.
For years, Heather had struggled with addiction and been in and out of jail and prison. After serving a year and a half for the trash fire incident, she reentered society — sober, but without friends or family to call on. Fortunately, there was a church jail ministry that had helped her while she was incarcerated, and she knew they would help her get back on her feet.
In 2019, Heather was baptized and shortly thereafter, got married. She had a sponsor and was attending AA meetings. Things were looking up, but she did not have a job and, without drugs or alcohol, began to experience an identity crisis.
One day while attending a community wellness event, Heather met Chelsea McGinnis, a Recovery Resource Council Peer Support Specialist. She was inspired by Chelsea and saw her as a shining example of a life in recovery.
As the two became acquainted, Chelsea challenged Heather to go further in her recovery journey — “to live her truth.” With help from her husband, Chelsea, and her church, Heather found a job she loves and was recently promoted to a full-time position. She is thrilled not only to be able to hold down a job, but to have found something she truly loves doing. Heather, who is introverted and suffers from anxiety explained, “Holding a job had always been hard for me.”
She is now a volunteer in the very Jail Ministry that helped her turn her life around.
In addition to her full-time position, Heather is training as a volunteer in the very jail ministry that helped turn her life around. She looks forward to the day a year from now when she will be entering the jails herself, sharing her story and challenging other women to live their truths, as she now lives hers.
We hope you will join Heather, our Board of Directors, and all our recovery and mental health community stakeholders in giving this holiday season. Your gift to Recovery Resource Council can provide wellness and recovery from addiction, mental health disorders and diseases for more than 30,000 people like Heather, all over North Texas.
Substance abuse and homelessness impact the entire community, especially during this time of increased fentanyl overdoses. Now more than ever, your donation can be life-changing for those who may otherwise spend the holidays active in their addiction and possibly sleeping in the cold, in jail, or worse.
Thank you for your compassion and generosity — and happy holidays to all.
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If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction or mental health issues please call or email us via the online form. Services are offered virtually and in person free of charge or at a low cost. Recovery Resource Council is Joint Commission Accredited.