|Dear Friend of C4 ,|
Joanne Taylor remembers the days when all she had in the fridge was alcohol.
"I was drinking, smoking and popping pills like crazy," recalls Joanne. "I couldn't face reality."
At 59, Joanne has survived a traumatic childhood and adolescence. After her mother died, Joanne was raised in Cleveland by her older sister. At 16, she was raped by her sister's ex-husband, a horror that left her to face lifelong Post-traumatic Stress Disorder and major depression.
She also began to cut and burn her own skin.
"I thought that I deserved it, so I cut myself," she recalls. "I wore dresses with long sleeves so people wouldn't know that I cut. I cut and drank alcohol."
Through it all, Joanne managed to raise three children and hold onto her cashier's job at a major retail store for 12 years.
She was in and out of treatment for years, but nothing stuck. Then she was referred to C4 by the Uptown Baptist Church. C4 counselors helped her get admitted to Chicago Lakeshore Hospital. Afterward, she began to attend groups at C4 Recovery Point.
It was a tough path. "I would smuggle little bottles of wine into my bag and drink them before group," says Joanne. "I couldn't face the group sober."
The grandmother of three has just celebrated her 22nd month of sobriety, an achievement she attributes in part to her C4 recovery counselor Nina Henry.
"Nina was always there for me," says Joanne, recalling Nina's emotional support when her fiancÚ recently died. With C4's help, Joanne found a room to rent. She is now on disability because smoking has left her with COPD (Chronic Pulmonary Lung Disease).
Several times a week Joanne visits C4's Drop-In Center, where she watches movies and participates in the mood and relationship groups.
"I love to meet people there," she says. "That's my support."
Her advice to people wanting to get sober?
"You have to do it for yourself,' she says. "Remember addiction and depression can happen to anybody."
Joanne is not alone. About 22 million Americans struggle with a drug or alcohol problem, according to a recent report by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University. Yet only ten percent ever receive treatment.
September is National Recovery Month. Every year, C4 Recovery Point helps more than 1,200 women and men get sober. If you know someone in need of help, call 773.769.0205 or write firstname.lastname@example.org. Better yet, pass this e-mail along.
Community Counseling Centers of Chicago (C4)
4740 N. Clark
Chicago, Il 60640
773 769-0205 Crisis Line and All Services
Find out more at c4chicago.org