“Recovery does work. It works.” says Paterra Warren, a Peer Recovery Coach on staff at Santa Maria. “Everything that I have done is because of my drug addiction, but also my big accomplishments are because of my drug addiction. If all of those things had never happened to me, I wouldn’t be where I am today I wouldn’t have this purpose, this job. It made me into what I am today.”
Paterra has learned that addiction does not discriminate. Different from many, Paterra’s childhood was wonderful. She was raised in a loving home, full of family fun, vacations, and school life. She was just drawn into the wrong crowd and found that she liked to drink alcohol. Alcohol made her bolder, more “wild”. Early on, however, she found she drank to become drunk.
At college, she quickly fell into her old habit of drinking which soon led to abusing drugs. To maintain her drug habit and lifestyle, she needed money, so she turned to prostitution. After years of a dangerous life, she was finally introduced to Santa Maria through STAR Drug Court, a diversion court that supports opportunities for treatment and change rather than punishment.
She participated in treatment at Santa Maria’s Jacquelyn House for 90 days. She then moved into transitional housing at Well Springs. She got a job, and she continued outpatient treatment at Career in Recovery. As she states, “recovery has to do with being connected. Staying connected.” Nearing her fifth year of sobriety, she is a successful graduate of STAR Drug Court, a certified community health care worker, a Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor, and is currently working towards a degree in social work.
Recently hired as the Peer Recovery specialist for the Women with Children program, she says “I love what I do. And that’s why I wouldn’t change what happened back then because of all of that I am here today.” Her growth radiates through her story. “ I’m willing, I’m open-minded, I’m teachable and each day brings something new and something different. Every day I just ask God to work through me, because at the end of the day it is not about me, my story is not for me. It is for others.”
She is the face of RecovHERy.