Bridge to Employment: Laura's Story of Confidence Renewed

 "My entire life became about working non-stop to buy pills. My relationship with my son suffered, and my health really suffered.

"I didn't know that you could get addicted to painkillers in as little as three days of taking them," says Laura, who was prescribed opioid-based medication to treat a post-pregnancy back injury and subsequent surgery. What ensued was a more than decade-long struggle with addiction that sent her life into a state of constant dread, anxiety, and loneliness. 

A second surgery a year later accelerated her opioid use. "I was a high-functioning addict who worked non-stop to feed my habit." After she failed a drug test, her doctor stopped giving her prescriptions for pain medication. Laura resorted to buying pills on the street. "My entire life became about working non-stop to buy pills. My relationship with my son suffered, and my health really suffered," says Laura.

In 2023, surviving primarily on coffee and pills for many years finally caught up with her, and she suffered a stroke. "I had worked a 15-hour shift and collapsed in my kitchen, where my uncle found me on the floor. It was my rock bottom. I knew something had to change." She decided to get sober.

Laura saw a flier for Her 2nd Chance at a local medical rehabilitation center and applied for a job. Since then, she has been trained to make products sold at the organization’s social enterprise, a gift shop on Etsy, and has become a master at producing tumblers and ornaments. Laura has also offered helpful ideas on perfecting the process and trains newer women on the technique. She is most proud of figuring out better, more efficient ways of doing things that can help others.

Laura credits Her 2nd Chance with helping her "come out of her shell," which was evident during a recent program workshop called Making Difficult Conversations Easier. "In the beginning, I didn't want to speak at all. I was nervous and emotional," explains Laura. As the workshop progressed, she felt more comfortable. "By the end, I was sharing and opening up more."

"You walk in the door of Her 2nd Chance feeling lost, defeated, and like no one cares about you," says Laura. She felt comforted that her co-workers understood what she went through because they had been there themselves. "I love being back and engaged in life with a clear head. Working at Her 2nd Chance has shown me I can have a future. I have valuable skills. The support is amazing. Everyone builds each other up in positive ways." Inspired by support from the Her 2nd Chance team, Laura recently summoned the courage to apply for a job at UPS.

Give the Gift of a Second Chance