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Mom breaks cycle of drug abuse

| December 23, 2020 1:07 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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It’s never too late to break the cycle.

“Julie” is living proof of that.

Surrounded by addiction in her family, Julie developed PTSD as a result of sexual abuse she suffered as a child. Now a mom of four, she’s struggled throughout her life with mental illness and drug use.

“The life I’ve lived, I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy,” she said.

After her father was murdered, she spiraled. Julie relapsed on meth. She later quit cold turkey, vowing to focus on her family — but within months, she began using again, in secret.

She hid her meth use for a year. When the secret came out this summer, her family was shattered.

After he discovered her drug use, Julie’s husband had the couple’s children removed from their home. The children were split up and placed with different family members.

It was a month before Julie was reunited with her kids, who are all under the age of 9. By that time, her husband had disappeared from their lives.

“I made a mistake, and I’m trying my damnedest to fix it and reconcile the damage I’ve caused,” Julie said.

In addition to counseling and addiction treatment, she attends Narcotics Anonymous meetings. She’s been sober for six months.

“It’s not taking it one day at a time,” Julie said. “It’s taking it one minute at a time. There’s times when you want to throw in the towel, but it’s not an option.”

Julie said her only choice is to continue bettering herself for her children.

“There’s no way in hell I’m losing my babies again,” she said.

Addiction isn’t just drugs and alcohol, she said. It’s also patterns of behavior and belief, which she’s worked hard to change in her own life.

“I’m choosing to break that cycle in my family,” she said. “My kids won’t know that. It stops with me.”

Currently staying with her mom and elderly grandmother, Julie is struggling to find stable housing for her family.

“Finding a place that will accept us isn’t easy,” she said. “If it weren’t for my mom, I would be on the streets with my kids.”

Despite the challenges, Julie said she’s determined to keep moving forward.

“I have to believe that God only puts you through what you can handle,” she said.

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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.

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Recent donors:

Don and Sharmon Schmitt; Richard Patterson; Randy and Mary Ingersoll; Holly and Collin Coles; Kerri and Donovan Nagle; Judy Luzzo; David Brown; Lora Atha and Diane Domijan; Doyle Tony Stewart; Laura Matson; Fred and Kathy Albi; Sue and Chuck Reince; Laura Augusta, in memory of Beverly Payne; Pam and Wally Adams; Tom and Linda Thompson; Carol Nelson

Over $500:

C and M Norlin; The Employees of the City of CDA; Integrated Personnel; John and Kathy Barlow; Jack Domit, in memory of Peggy Domit; The Chapman Family; Don Luers; C. Freeman; Mountain View Veterinary Clinic; Colette and Bob Erickson