I am a woman in long-term recovery recently divorced with two children. I work for a community mental health center, am involved with multiple 12-step programs and volunteer in the Denver area.

I faced many challenges when dealing with my (substance use and mental health) issues including; (a lack of) transportation, housing and information on how to change my life. Turning points included obtaining a driver’s license and no longer relying on public transportation.

I am self-sufficient now, recently moved into my own place and secured a full time position doing meaningful work helping others.

An obstacle to living in recovery is the immediate judgment that occurs when telling someone you are an addict and how they will perceive you as being an addict and a criminal for the rest of your life. Recovery to me means taking something that is broken and making a use out of it; fixing the broken. I was broken….being in recovery changed me into a useful member of society, something I hadn’t felt like before.

I became involved with Colorado Mental Wellness Network by attending the peer support specialist class this summer. Afterwards I participated in leadership academy and eventually completed the Wellness Recovery Action Plan workshop this fall.

The Network has benefited me personally by supporting my path to a career. (Their) work benefits those that don’t have a voice.

The things that CMWN is doing are amazing, helping to break down the stigma, doing things others aren’t, helping to open the eyes of the world as to how people see mental illness; CMWN is doing a great good for society.