After struggling with weight and addiction for much of her life, Paula’s journey of recovery has led to a true transformation. In fact, those who have known her for some time might not even recognize the ‘new’ Paula.

Since entering recovery in October 2018, Paula has literally turned her life around – and in a number of ways. The 32-year-old mother of two has not only found help with her substance use disorder, she’s acquired and maintained employment, restarted her college education, and has lost an astonishing fifty pounds!

“You know, I just started taking things one step at a time,” says Paula. “I got clean and then I got a handle on my health…I got to thinking about my life and my kids and I knew I had to make some serious changes.”

Paula, who had been incarcerated for eight months on drug-related charges, was pregnant with her second child when she was ordered to New Life Recovery Center, the residential treatment program operated by New River Valley Community Services.

“I had wanted to quit [using drugs] for a long time,” she adds, “but I couldn’t find my start to stopping.”

“New Life was the best thing to ever happen to me,” notes Paula. “They taught me coping mechanisms, got me connected to groups like NA (Narcotic Anonymous), and helped me realize that I’m not in this by myself and that it really was possible to be successful in recovery.”

The clarity that came with being in treatment allowed Paula to focus on other aspects of her life. She began to make better choices when eating and eventually got back into making workouts at the gym part of her routine.

“I’ve struggled with weight since I was probably in middle school,” she explains. “I’ve also been in some bad relationships and I tend to be a stress eater and eat when I’m bored…but up until I started New Life, I was worried more about doing drugs than I was my own health.”

Paula has worked at a local manufacturing facility for over a year now and was recently promoted to a quality control position. She’s also just recently started taking classes through an online university, with plans to obtain a bachelor’s degree in project management. She’ll soon celebrate another achievement when she successfully completes the Pulaski County Adult Drug Court Treatment Program in October 2020.

“I’m proud of what I’ve been able to accomplish,” Paula declares, “but I say that with great humility because I know I could lose everything just like that if I go back to where I was.”

“But I’m not looking back – there’s nothing there for me,” she adds. “I’m moving straight ahead, forward and upward.”