I became interested in the Certified Peer Recovery Specialist (CPRS) training while I was in the Morris County Correctional Facility (MCCF) this past March. I had a mental breakdown due to the consequences of my January relapse that impacted my TPR trial. I was losing my parental rights as well as parenting time with my children. I was spiraling into a hopeless and dark place, darker than drug addiction. My mental illness had me paralyzed and wanting to cease to exist. I tried to get into St. Clare’s, but due to COVID-19, they would not take me unless I was suicidal. I was too scared to end my life, but had no will to live. So… I slept for days. I slept through drug court. Not a great idea, but I believe it was the beginning of starting my new life. Judge Hubner issued a bench warrant and soon the Sherriff’s officers came to my house and brought me to the correctional facility.
I continued to sleep for five more days until my medications, which I had not been taking since being manic through my trial in December until my break down, started to work! Praise God! I started to feel alive again. I reached out to everyone, my family, friends, sponsor, P.O. Mindy (who talked me off the ledge a number of times before I “lost my mind”), and Jennifer from CARES.
I was at MCCF for two weeks. I spoke to Jennifer a few times. We spoke of God and meditation. I told her that God wants me to help other mothers. Even if I lose my appeal, I don’t want my struggle and the trauma of this to be in vain. She was so excited to tell me that after taking a CPRS course, and with two years of recovery, I could possibly work in the peer field helping people. I was so excited! I felt like I finally had a purpose. I’m not sure this will be my career path, but it is a goal of mine to at least volunteer and use my experience to help inspire other women to keep the faith and not use or die before the miracle.
Jennifer has been and continues to be such a source of strength for me. CARES is a resource center that I keep in contact with every week since I left MCCF in April 2019. They are amazing people, and they are available all the time for anything you need to talk about. They are upbeat and positive. They are compassionate and caring. They are helpful and have a ton of resources. They hold all types of recovery meetings and sober activities. They are the type of organization I am proud to be a part of.
I signed up for the July CPRS virtual course last week, and I am excited to get my certification. I continue to pray and meditate, take my medications, go to meetings, reach out to Jennifer weekly, if not more. I talk to my sponsor every day, reach out to woman, and I am constantly trying to learn and grown as a woman. I am trying to practice being an amazing example because, when I am a CPRS, I will not only have the training but will have the life experience, strength and hope to share and pass on. I am truly blessed to have the opportunity.