Lives We Touch: Michelle’s Story

06/04/2018 by Rebecca Toews

“When you’re trying to survive abuse and childhood trauma, everyone needs a coping mechanism. Mine was addiction.”

For 18 years, Michelle used drugs and alcohol to fight the demons that haunted her, but finally she’d had enough. Her 11-year-old daughter had gone to live with Michelle’s parents, she was in trouble with the law and she knew that she had to make changes.

“I was lost and didn’t know what to do. I wanted to quit and be done, but when you’re in the middle of it, you don’t know how.”

Michelle’s bottom came in the form of a felony court sentence, which included five years probation with a stay of adjudication. “It really was the best thing that could have happened to me. As soon as I made my plea, I decided I needed treatment.”

After more than a year living in a half way house, Michelle found housing and was reunified with her daughter, but felt she needed to be able to show her daughter that their life would be different, that she could provide for their family. She was referred to Bridging, and it was the start of a new life.

“I thought it was amazing. I mean I had nothing, absolutely nothing in my apartment. I thought I would to go in [for my shopping appointment] and get just some household goods, maybe some dishes,  but to get towels, furniture, bonus knickknack items– it was amazing. I definitely got the start that my daughter and I needed.”

Since that time, Michelle has completed her bachelor’s degree in human services corrections and works for a county agency as an assistant probation officer. She uses her experience to help others find a way out of their own situations.

“When I give my spiel to my clients, and tell them they will be coming to Bridging, I always tell them ‘today, we’re actually doing something that matters. Picking up trash is great for society but this… you’re actually helping somebody.'”

Michelle wants those who donate to Bridging to know how grateful she was to be able to come home and feel at home.

“Bridging meant everything to us— it really made all the difference in the world. It’s the little things that many may find insignificant that make it feel like a home… After all these years, I have kept the dishes and one piece of furniture that Bridging gave to me. I keep them to remind me of how far I have come.”

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