“I heard about the ROCC and started coming here for recovery meetings. I also came here because it was a safe environment with like-minded people.”
The Recovery Outreach Community Center (ROCC) is a part of Cherie’s journey to sobriety, and is also a place where she serves others.
GLIMPSES OF LIGHT
Cherie lost her parents when she was young. She entered foster care and had her first child in her teen years. Motherhood helped emancipate Cherie from the foster care system—a change that pleased her. It was also in her teen years that Cherie first used marijuana, and not long after that that she moved on to harder drugs and found herself trapped in a cycle of addiction.
“My life was unmanageable,” Cherie says. “I quit drugs a lot, but every time I quit I came back to my unmanageable life and I would use again.”
Her unmanageable life included jail, multiple felony charges, and prison, but it also included glimpses of light—and Cherie was drawn to the light. She recalls being visited in jail those who came to hold 12-step meetings. Cherie longed to be someone like that—sober, helpful, and able to walk out of the jail in freedom.
While in court for her final felony Cherie was given a choice—treatment court and a program, or prison. She chose treatment court, and graduated after successful completion of the program.
RELATIONSHIP: KEY TO SUCCESSFUL RECOVERY
Relationship is significant to Cherie’s recovery. The friendship and help of Teddy Steen, the executive director of the ROCC and Ascent Recovery Residences, was vital to Cherie’s early recovery.
“I reached out to Teddy and asked her to help me at the beginning of recovery,” Cherie says. “I knew I couldn’t do it on my own.”
Teddy assisted Cherie to find a place to live—Joplin’s Lafayette House—and also spoke truth to her. Cherie was in a place to listen, and she continues to value Teddy as a friend and mentor.
“I know that I can go to Teddy and she will be blunt and honest–and that’s what I need to keep me grounded and focused,” she said.
INSPIRED TO SERVE
The treatment process helped Cherie find the place she wanted to serve. Just as she’d been inspired by those who helped her in jail, she desired to become a Certified Peer Specialist and walk alongside others in recovery. She completed the peer specialist training, and now works at both the ROCC and in treatment court. She is a peer and encouragement to many.
Now that she has two-plus years of clean time, Cherie shared that she values the experience of people who have long-term recovery.
“One thing that I did different in my recovery this last time is that I talked to people who had multiple years of recovery. I wanted to follow the advice that worked for them,” she said.
Hearing encouragement from others is a valuable aspect of attending a 12-step meeting regularly, which Cherie does.
Recently, Cherie received permission to go with Drug Addicts Anonymous (DAA) to the jail. She will soon be a source of light to those in the dark place that she once was.
“I want to give back what I’ve been given,” she will tell you. “I am blessed to have my children, and blessed that I didn’t die in my addiction. Helping others helps my recovery. Going into jail to teach the 12 steps was a goal of mine when I was there. My heart hurt then—so much. I couldn’t wait to be the one coming into help.”
Cherie is lighting a candle bright with light for those still sitting in darkness.