Diamond in the Rough
She had just turned 23 years old. She had dropped out of high school in the tenth grade due to pregnancy. She was married to some guy who had been a friend, mostly to give her child a name. She’d had another child. She was drinking as much as her father had and her mother was. Almost classic backwoods Tennessee hillbilly white trash. She didn’t want to live that way. She hoped there was, somewhere, some way, something better. She knew she had to start with herself.
She came into our Chemical Dependency Treatment Program because she thought it had helped her mother.
She took the program and herself seriously.
She got her GED.
After about a year of staying sober, the first under 25 I’d seen up to that time do so, and losing the husband that could no longer control her, she wanted to go to school. We did some vocational testing on her, found out her smarts were good enough, IQ > 130, got her some Voc. Rehab help, she got a job at Burger King, and went to school. It took about 20 of us helping, pushing, encouraging, hand holding, ass kicking, but she completed a four year BSW program in 3.5 years, graduating Magna cum Laude. She was hired four months before graduation by her internship placement.
A year later we hired her. That was 28 years ago.
She became one of the first Internationally Certified Addictions Counselors, taught and supervised Russian psychologists and therapists, served as program director and counseling director for several programs.
She raised two children who today call me the only father they know or want.
She came to learn and know more about me than any other, all of it. She was the only one who could get through, and yet she loved me anyway.
For 32 years it wasn’t she and me, it was we.
I need to thank her for those 32 years of being loved.