Together, we’ve made significant progress over the years. Our schools are number one in the country. We’ve driven down violent crime to its lowest level in over 30 years and we’ve decreased infant mortality deaths 16.3 percent since 2007. All of these achievements relate to our 15 strategic goals.
But often when sharing these statistics, it’s easy to lose sight of what they actually mean.
Crime is not the weather. It does not go up and down by itself. It is driven down by the hard work of our law enforcement and through effective policies. Our schools aren’t number one because of an arbitrary set of factors. The homicide rate going down is a great statistic but what it really means is that more moms don’t have to stand over a child’s casket.
We set these goals because the things that get measured are the things that get done. And the reason they get done is because of people. There are thousands of people working on these goals and millions more who are affected by them.
As we close the year and reflect on the progress we’ve made together, we wanted to share the stories of the people behind the policies. We’ll start with a touching story about a young woman who finally got the help she needed after years of substance abuse.
“I am Worthy”
My name is Audralina and I’ve been a resident of Montgomery County for about thirty ears. When I was fourteen years old, a light switch flicked on and my life changed.
My mind began to move faster and colors looked brighter than ever before. Everything in my life was amplified to a degree that I was experiencing both moments of clarity and pure chaos. The once introverted child was now living on the edge and struggling to make sense of it all.
When I entered middle school I began to act out. My parents got help for me but at that time the psychiatrist classified me as being rebellious (I was later diagnosed with Bipolar disorder.) As time went on my situation became worse and shortly after being assessed by the doctor, I tried to commit suicide. My parents found me.
When I was in my last year of high school I decided to drop out and live on the streets with my boyfriend. My life was out of control and I could not hear anyone. Soon after, I became pregnant with my son. His father and I both decided to get jobs and life seemed to be going fine until one day something changed – his father became physically abusive. He had always been abusive but I overlooked it because I had a problem with loving myself. I thought that he was the only one that would love me. At 19, we broke up.
I returned back home to my family who supported me and my son. Then I got a job where I was introduced to cocaine. It became my best friend. I kept it a secret for a while because it seemed fun but the fun periods became shorter and the painful times became longer. I used for over twenty years and was disconnected from my family for most of that time. I was running from myself the whole time; I was afraid of who I would find once I began to look inside of myself.
One day, I decided to get help.
Today I am different because I participate in my wellness program. I know how to ask for help, and I’m now helping others with addiction.
I am not existing today – I am living, and life has offered many solutions.
My family has been supporting me since I began this journey when I was a teenager. I have been blessed along the way to have an extended support network.
The women’s outpatient program that I still attend has been a steady support system for me. I will never forget all of the programs that I attended and utilized in Montgomery County that always let me come back and never gave up on me.
I recently celebrated two years of recovery and it is truly a blessing and I know that I did not do it alone. Loving myself was something that I thought I was not worthy of, but now I know that I am worthy.
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