Courtney grew up in Dallas and at the age of 14 ran away from an alcoholic mother. Her mother had the police visit the house where she ran away to daily. “I had moved in with my 18 year-old boyfriend and it was hard because I had to leave every day,” Courtney said. To say she had to grow up fast is an understatement, because in her young age Courtney also became a mother. “I got pregnant at 13 and ran away at 14,” she said. Although the father of her baby took good care of them, Courtney learned he was not truthful –he broke her faith and trust. She later went to stay with myriad friends and family including a new boyfriend who was abusive.
By the age of 16, she had three children and was abusing drugs, after being introduced to crack cocaine when she was only four years-old. She was not only lost in a ‘system’, but Courtney knew she was completely lost in life. When raised in an environment of unhealthy living sometimes healthy alternatives are not only unheard of, but at times unavailable or simply just unknown.
“I did drugs for 24 years and was locked up in jail and prison,” she said. Later Courtney became involved in prostitution – and her trust in mankind rapidly diminished. “I finally hit bottom and got sick and tired [of living the way she always had].” Her last time in rehab was ordered by a judge who had her attend Phoenix House’s program for 10 months. “I have completed all of the outpatient care and after care program,” Courtney said. She was also ‘let off’ probation four years earlier than her original sentence.
“I’m going to continue my probation though because there is a lot of support, I’m also attending classes through New Friends New Life,” Courtney said. In working to rebuild her life, Courtney's schedule is so full with probation, New Friends New Life, Narcotics Anonymous, and GED training classes, she only has one day off.
New Friends New Life has not only encouraged her but she is involved in their support groups, career classes, and Wednesday evening church services. Courtney was recently selected to a paid internship through New Friends New Life’s Second Chance Jobs Program, which partners with local businesses in the area to offer exceptional protégés, like Courtney, an opportunity to learn and grown in a professional environment. Courtney is grateful for the caring support of New Friends New Life, “ I wouldn't have been able to do it if it wasn't for the help of New Friend’s New Life’s program - I love those ladies, I really do,” she said.
Written by: Diana Merril Claussen