A person is not born a champion – they are made through hard work, dedication and a commitment. Many, like Santa Maria Recovery Coach Michele, have had to overcome many trials and hardships to earn it.
Michele’s story, like so many here at Santa Maria, begins with serving a lengthy prison term on a felony conviction after loosing the battle with drugs and alcohol. Once released from prison Michele was ready to start her life but quickly fell victim to crack cocaine and her “old ways.” She soon found herself pregnant, and upon delivery of the baby, Children Protection Services (CPS) was called in to remove her child due to the drug exposure. Before the child was taken from Michele, she had a moment to hold her baby and at that second, Michele told herself that it was time for a change.
Michele was admitted to Santa Maria for treatment and recovery and will be the first one to say that it was a difficult situation. “I hated Santa Maria at first. There were too many rules to follow and I found it hard to deal with.” Michele wasn’t able to complete her treatment the first time around but was convinced by her husband (then boyfriend) to return to Santa Maria and try again. After returning, Michele soon realized that people cared about her and that Santa Maria was there to help. Michele commented, “I have a lot of respect for Santa Maria. They took me back and showed me how much they cared.” Soon Michele was on her path to recovery and turning her life around and became known as the “super star client.” After treatment, Michele got involved helping others by volunteering for Santa Maria and championing the cause of substance abuse treatment and recovery.
Fast forward several years later, Michele is now on staff at Santa Maria as a Recovery Coach offering her real-life experiences and thoughts to those going through what she did years ago. She has become an outspoken advocate for recovery and provides life-changing coaching to the clients of Santa Maria. Michele stated that, “I really love being a recovery coach and offering a team-centered whole health approach to the ladies. I am their coach, their cheerleader and their advocate.” Additionally, Michele serves as a Parent Advocate volunteer for CPS, providing first-hand knowledge of how to best reunite mother and child(ren).
Michele is not done yet. She has recently received her Mental Health Peer Specialist Certificate (Recovery Coach) and is currently enrolled in college to obtain her Associates degree. She plans to pursue a Masters in Social Work specializing in trauma and youth. Michele is so grateful to her family especially her children and husband who never gave up on her and were by her side every step of the way. Michele, we are so proud of you. Thank you for being a Champion for the recovery cause!