15 Oct Penny’s Recovery Story
To the person on the street, I am just another Marysville resident who grew up and now lives back in my hometown. I can be seen out and about at local events, selling woodworking products, or helping a friend move furniture across town.
Since 2008, I have served as the Director of the Wings Enrichment Center and I have a passion for helping people succeed in a life of recovery.
A normal day at Wings may feel like absolute chaos to others. But I can handle the constant phone calls, visits from consumers, and administrative tasks with a little relaxed nature. I understand how important it is to spend time listening, being patient, and accepting others where they are, because I was once in their shoes.
I was just 12 years old when I began using drugs as a way to escape the pain of living in a dysfunctional family. I started selling those drugs to buy school clothes because I desperately wanted to fit in with other kids. This eventual spiral of my use and trafficking led to incarceration, loss of relationships, employment, and my health. Eventually, I found myself homeless in Phoenix, Arizona, weighing less than 100 pounds.
In February 2005, with nowhere else to go, I hit rock bottom and returned to Marysville. In March of that year I began a path of sobriety and recovery. As part of my treatment, I began attending activities at the Wings Enrichment Center.
I started volunteering on a daily basis, finding support in a place that was safe and where I wasn’t judged by others. Working with my hands through landscaping and woodworking, I developed self-confidence and began to heal from years of pain and addiction.
Eventually, I took on more and more responsibility at Wings. I became the Executive Director of the Wings center in 2008. My persistence and dedication has allowed me to succeed professionally and personally. I oversee about 20 volunteers and coordinate services for over 150 consumers each month. In the spring of 2014, under my leadership, Wings went through rigorous CARF accreditation and approval from the Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities to formally provide employment training and placement for mental health consumers.
On a personal note, I celebrated my ninth year of sobriety this spring. My recovery isn’t determined by a doctor’s clean bill of health, but by a conscious decision each day to be sober. Today, I am healthy and happy and have recently become a homeowner for the first time!
The road to recovery is not a straight path. It has been a long journey for me to get to this place of contentment. I try to serve as an example that resiliency often means proving to yourself that you can overcome adversity and displaying that through kindness and service to others.
Wings Enrichment Center is located at 729 S. Walnut Street in Marysville and can be contacted at (937) 642-9555.