Life was chaotic for Karen as a child. Her parents divorced when she was two—in part because of her father's alcohol use—leaving her mother to raise seven children alone. Although her mother did the best she could, Karen's childhood was filled with chaos and anger rather than love and support. At the age of twelve, Karen started tagging along with her older sister to parties, where she sought relief from her home life with drugs and alcohol.
Things progressed throughout her twenties, but when a very close friend died from substance-related complications, Karen was devastated enough to start attending a 12-step support group for friends and families impacted by substance use disorder. It was because of those meetings that Karen realized she needed help for her own substance use after a member of the support group expressed concern.
Watch the video below learn how she overcame countless challenges to get into recovery. Twenty-nine years later, Karen is still active in the recovery community and has an open-door policy for anyone who needs help- they just have to be willing to trust the process.
This is part of our National Recovery Month series. Watch more stories of recovery by browsing our blog here.