Three years ago, I came up from Oregon to get my life together. I remodeled casinos for 15 years until I lost my hand in a work-related accident. I lost my job and during my time in the hospital, I lost a lung and became addicted to opioids. They told me I had 3-4 years to live...I was basically living to die.
Around that time, my ex-wife had some mental health issues. She had a break down, and I became a victim of domestic violence. That’s when I came to Aberdeen with my daughter to escape my wife’s drug abuse and criminal activity. I wanted to get clean and had to prove I was stable to get custody of my daughter.
A program called Grays Harbor Opportunities for Successful Transitions saved my life. Northwest Justice Project was a partner in this program and helped me realize I could turn my life around. With NJP’s help, I put together a parenting plan, got protection orders, and completed all the divorce paperwork. There’s no way I could have navigated the judicial system without NJP’s support.
Without NJP, I would have lost my daughter to the system. Instead, I am three years clean, we’re safe, and have a new life. Now I’m a peer counselor, showing others how they can navigate community resources to be successful. I’m a mediator for the Dispute Resolution Center and work for an opioid use reduction program.
NJP provided a basis for life changing events. When you show someone that they can get their legal stuff behind them, that’s one of life’s biggest barriers. Most people are afraid of the legal system; it becomes a revolving door. NJP helped me put my legal barriers behind me and now I’m on an escalator going up. I went from homelessness to self-sufficiency in a very short period of time.
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