My name is Victoria. I started doing drugs at 10 years old. After my parents divorced, my father left us. It was devastating for me. I felt isolated and alone, and turned to the streets, to drugs, and to gangs. I lived that lifestyle for years.
When I turned 18 I went to county jail for the first time. Six months after I got out, I went to prison. I had my oldest son in prison.
After I got out, I was clean for 7 years. However, after challenges at home, I fell back into that lifestyle. I gave my kids to my parents and was out in the streets for three years. I was an IV user of meth. I was in and out of jail. Always in front of a judge.
The last time I went in front of the same judge, he wanted to let me go home, but I said no. I knew at that moment that I needed help.
I was tired. I missed my kids. I missed being normal and I wanted to change.
He let me go into a program called Evangel Home. I started seeing my children. The program offered me a job with responsibilities. They started a cleaning business and allowed me to supervise. This role gave me hope because I never felt that I was a trustworthy person.
Through this experience, I decided to go to back to school. I started going to Fresno adult school. One day, a lady from City College told us about a Drug & Alcohol Counseling program. I enrolled that same day. After three years, I graduated with my Associated Degree and won the Dean’s Medallion.
I am currently a student at Fresno State. I work at the college as a peer mentor for formerly incarcerated students. I have my kids and we have a home.
Take advantage of what the community offers you because whether we want to believe it or not, there are resources out there, there are people that care… Don’t be shy, ask for help, and find others who have similar experiences.