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After addiction, woman transforms life

| December 8, 2020 1:08 AM

As part of the annual Press Christmas for All Campaign, we share with readers the stories of the people applying for help. Here’s one of them.

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“Rose” was just 14 years old when she started down the path to addiction.

Abused at home and surrounded by alcohol, she started drinking as a teen. In her 20s, she became addicted to meth — and her three children suffered for it.

“Because of my drug use, we didn’t have a good mother-child relationship,” Rose said. “I was around, but I wasn’t around.”

For years, she was in and out of prison. She struggled with both addiction and mental illness. Her depression was all-consuming.

“Pretty much my whole life, I’ve been on probation,” she said.

A month after Rose was released from prison for the last time, her mom died. In her grief, Rose spiraled into meth use again.

“Every time I took a hit, I hoped it would be the last one I’d ever have to worry about,” she said.

When she was arrested for theft, Rose faced a choice: enter Kootenai County’s Mental Health Court program or return to prison.

Rose decided to make a change — not just for herself, but for her children and grandchildren.

“It was time,” she said. “They deserved better than what they’d had, and so did I.”

Mental Health Court is an intensive, post-conviction program for those with substance abuse and mental health issues. The program consists of intensive supervision by a mental health professional and frequent appearances before a judge, as well as counseling, treatment and substance abuse testing.

At first, Rose was uncertain about how she would fare in the program. But after three months, she realized she could succeed.

Rose obtained her driver’s license for the first time at age 53. Now she’s working nights while she studies for her GED, all while continuing treatment.

A desk would make studying easier for Rose, who currently does her schoolwork sitting in bed or on the couch. She would also benefit from a set of snow tires, so her drives to work on dark winter nights are safer.

Rose said she’s grateful for the program that helped her turn her life around.

“After 53 years of fighting this addiction, Mental Health Court is the first thing I’ve found that got me through it,” she said.

She’s been sober for a full year. She’s also repairing her relationships with her kids and grandkids.

“My kids tell me it’s like I’m a totally different person now,” Rose said. “It’s nice to be able to feel this way.”

•••

This is the 35th year Press Christmas for All has worked to brighten the lives of Kootenai County residents in need.

Each year, Press readers donate generously to the program. Every penny raised is distributed to Kootenai County residents. All overhead costs are covered by The Hagadone Corp.

The gift recipients are our neighbors who are struggling, including the elderly, disabled, homeless and mentally ill.

Many who seek assistance from Christmas for All are working, but living near or below the poverty level. The beneficiaries of Press Christmas for All are going to keep their dignity intact while the community provides a hand up to help get them back on their feet.

Press Christmas for All is managed by The Hagadone Corp., with assistance from CharityReimagined.Org. It is a legally recognized 501(c)(3) nonprofit, run entirely by volunteers.

Please help. Make your tax-deductible donation today any of four ways:

• Mail a check to Press Christmas for All, 215 N. Second St., Coeur d’Alene, 83814

• Call The Press and make a secure credit card donation over the phone: 208-664-8176

• Go to cdapress.com. Click on Christmas for All 2020 at the top of the page.

• Drop off your check at The Press weekdays between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.: 215 N. Second St. in downtown CDA.

•••

Donors:

John H. and Bonnie Heutink; J. Sharples Jr. and L. Sharples; Terrell Smith; Jim and Nancy Prussack; Denny and Kathy Webster; Tom and Nancy Burke; Norma Wilson; Nancy Saxon; Marilyn Nenzel; Doris Hastings; Joseph Beckett; Lawrence Knudsen; Carolyn Giddens; Johnny and Christine Powell; Jan Marie; Sheree Cooper; Nancy Parker; Ron and Bev Noble; The Rau Family; Edward A. and Susan S. Leach; Lubertus and Mary Vanderbilt; T.R. and Lavonne B. Lloyd; Tracie Mantia; Barbara S Nelson; Edward and Olive Lockwood; Fred and Carol Root; Jack and Cherie Shinn; George and Mary Emmett; Sue Stiles; Dave and Barbara Childs; In memory of Glen Flieger; Mike and Janel Bloom; Ken and Sherry Beno; Pauline Glueckert; Beverly Larsen; Grant and Sonja Webb; Theresa Woods; Cathy and Fred Potter; Joette and Kurt Katzer; Kathleen Henderson; Craig and Janet Heilman; Lanny and Jacque Rickard; David and Rosemary Sissons; Dennis and Mary Casey; James and Jerre Coleman; Catherine and Virgil Porter; Doris Hoffman; Gail Montecalvo; D.M. Clark; Cross Getreu Family; William Faris; David and Sarah Leeds; Bob and Dorothy Yohe; Chad and Kimberly Kaufman; Paul and Patricia Barrett; AJ and DG Hughan; Judith Stebbins and Julita Carroll; Margie Wise; Dwayne and Anita Moore; Clyde Ylitalo; Jack and Carol Gulbransen; Kathryn and Timothy Grothman; Michael and Beverly Brown; Diane Boreham and Susan Heath; Edward Harwood; Constance and Del Lutsenhizer

OVER $500

In memory of Chuck Adams Jr.; Larry Bishop; Scott and Holly McNee; Tara and David Flores; Coeur D'Alene Elks Lodge; Julie and Marty Westbrook; Ron and Heidi Gifford; Douglas and Rochelle Patterson; Matt and Erica Henry; Derek and Kate Khorsand; John and Jan Sturges; James and Julia Mangan; Susan and Michael Delles; J and H Yuditsky; Cancer and Community Charities; R and M Hunt; Charles and Karen Groswith