“Growing up, I was raised in an environment where I was exposed to alcoholism. I used that as an excuse to abuse as many drugs as I could, to act out in certain negative behaviors with the intent to hurt people and to treat them in ways that I felt was appropriate to me. While growing up and using drugs, I played into a victim role. I have always said that if you lived my life, if you had been through the struggles that I’ve been through, to be beaten as many times and to be raped as many times as I’ve had, then you would be this way as well. I always put myself in this category of less than, because I felt that’s where I belonged and deserved. I felt worthless, had no self-worth, and did not value myself. Because I did not value myself, I allowed others to treat me like I didn’t value to them either. I allowed others to bully me and allowed myself to be a walking doormat for many years.

It wasn’t until I got clean that I found self-worth in myself and was able to find the value in my life through these struggles. I realized that the strength that I gained through all of the experiences that I went through in my childhood and adolescent years can be put towards my heartaches and hardships in current and future situations. Therapy has helped me a lot in getting past all of the PTSD and in trusting people again. It has also taught me to not be so resentful so that I am able to love and to let go. Therapy was not a quick easy fix, it was and is a long hard road for me. I went for a very long time and I still go today. I have things I need to work on and I feel that I will have things to work on for the rest of my life. I am very okay with that because if that is what it takes to live a healthy lifestyle, then I am all for it. I am very thankful for everything my higher power has given to me throughout this experience. I have an amazing life now because just almost 2 years ago, I was a homeless drug addict. “

-Ana (Costa Mesa, CA)