Sobriety Date: March 2013
Struggled With: Painkillers, Opiates, Alcohol
Occupation: Counselor at Cycles of Change
Kara struggled with addiction throughout her thirties, and she was well aware that her dependence to alcohol and painkillers was negatively affecting her life. “[My life] was a big mess. I couldn’t function as an adult, I couldn’t function as a human being,” she recalls. “I learned to be a great alcoholic…I hid it well for a while until it became paramount to everything else.”
But Kara wasn’t too concerned about her problems at first, because she figured all she was doing was hurting herself and not others. She had convinced herself that her actions were not affecting the people around her, which unfortunately was not the case. Kara’s substance abuse was causing those closest to her to suffer, primarily her children. Addiction was affecting her ability to be a good mother, causing her to lose the trust of her kids.
It was at Cycles of Chance Recovery where Kara learned the true impact of her addiction on her loved ones. Overcoming her issues and getting sober was critical, not just for herself but for her children as well. Through the 12 step program and the help of her sponsors and counselors, Kara learned how to control her emotions and deal with pain without having to result to drugs and alcohol. “The 12 steps have really changed my life and today I’m a better person because of that.”
Following her time at Cycles of Change, Kara decided she wanted to give back some of the things that she had been given while she was in treatment. She began volunteering at Cycles on evenings and weekends, where she would share her story with others who were also suffering from addiction. This led to her being offered a job in the call center at Cycles of Change, where she worked as she went to school and got her degree in counseling. She eventually became a primary counselor at Cycles, and has helped open multiple programs while doing executive work for the company.
Kara continues to work for Cycles of Change today, using her past experiences to help improve the programs and provide guidance to those battling addiction.
“One of the things I learned [from] being an alumni is that when someone comes into treatment they’re terrified. You don’t know what to expect, you don’t know who’s going to be there…it’s kind of like walking into a whole different world but it’s a world that gave me my life back. So when we get new clients in we really hope to make them comfortable. We introduce them to the people that they’re going to be with [and] the counselors, and then our main hope is to introduce them into a new and better way of life.”
Learn more about Kara’s story and how Cycles of Change helped her reconnect with her family and discover a new purpose in life: