“For me, recovery means forgiveness, this time I learned to forgive myself.”
Noelle comes from a very religious, upper middle class family in Rhode Island. Her mother was physically, mentally and emotionally abusive. Growing up, she had more broken bones in her body than she can remember, “My dad taught me how to take a punch from my mother at the age of six, and I learned how to handle beatings very well.” Noelle’s only way to escape from this nightmare was through her love for horses, she often rode her horse down to the beach to escape.
At the age of 15, her father was diagnosed with lung cancer and before her sixteenth birthday she was closing his eyes for the last time. “When my dad died, a part of me died too. He wasn’t there to save me from my mother anymore, I was lost without him.” Noelle left home at 18 and quickly fell in with the wrong crowd, the drinkers, pot smokers, partiers…all these people looked happy and that was all she wanted, to be happy.
She met an older man that marked a long pattern of unhealthy relationships in her life. Aside from riding horses, Noelle loved to dance. Her boyfriend suggested that she try exotic dancing for the first time. She quickly fell in love with the money and popularity that came with this lifestyle, it was something she never had before. She was working six days a week and found herself exhausted, in order to keep up with this sleep deprived environment, she was introduced to cocaine.
Noelle’s addiction took off running at this point. She went from snorting cocaine to smoking crack, which eventually led to a long love affair with methamphetamine. Her addiction landed her five prison terms and six felony drug convictions. She has battled her addiction for many years, making attempts to stay clean and sober, but failing each time.
The last time Noelle went to prison she was introduced to the STARS program (Sisters Together Achieving Recovery). This is where she learned about herself and all of the pain she was holding inside. She was able to sit and focus on her past. Noelle was accepted into Ridge House and decided that this time she was going to truly work the steps, she never wanted to relapse again.
Noelle recently graduated the Ridge House program and is thriving in her recovery. Her counselor says, “She has always been determined to succeed and her genuine desire to stay sober this time has paid off. She has found a meaning and purpose in her life today.”
Noelle says the key to her recovery is expression, “I pray a lot more than I ever have, I talk… to my counselor, my sponsor, I go to meetings.” Today she is reconnecting with her children and helping them through their own battles with addiction. Noelle has forgiven her mother and is happily married to man she says she actually likes. When asked what her future looks like in recovery, “I would like to be a relief house manager at Ridge House, my heart is with helping girls in my situation. My house manager was amazing and I want to do the same thing for other women.”
Noelle’s long term goal is to own a home in Texas where she can have horses again.
“I am not ashamed to say that I’m an addict anymore…I used to be but I’m not now, because I’m doing it and I’m proud of that.”