Jessica, a valued member of our team, currently excels as a Partner Success Representative, a role she stepped into after making significant contributions as a Certified Peer Recovery Specialist. With an inspiring journey of 5 years in recovery following three decades of active addiction, Jessica shares her story to motivate others in the early stages of recovery. Her experiences underscore the empowering potential of meaningful employment and the profound impact it can have on one’s path to healing and growth.

Tell us a bit about your recovery story - how did you begin your recovery?

My recovery journey started a long time ago. My first time in treatment was in 1995 as an adolescent. Over the last 30 years, I’ve undergone many treatments and had some success in maintaining recovery. In 2018, I found myself back in jail, facing another lengthy prison sentence. I was completely defeated and, honestly, suicidal. That’s where my current and most remarkable recovery journey began. I joined an outpatient program in the jail after I had been there for about 6 months. This is where I really began to change and have been committed to growth ever since. I ended up being in county jail for 15 months altogether and transferring to prison for an additional 4 years. There was a lot of substance use in jail and prison, but I kept programming and getting involved in anything that would help me gain insight into becoming the person I desperately wanted to be.


In December of 2022, I came to the Twin Cities and have continued that mindset! I have lost so many things that were important to me due to my addiction. I have also tried any and all ways to continue doing what I was doing and not face the consequences, to no avail! Honestly, I never believed I could have and live a life like the one I have right now! I would not give it up for anything. Being a Certified Peer Recovery Specialist (CPRS) was a game-changer for me. I had no idea I could feel so much fulfillment and belonging doing something, and what a blessing that it was my job!

What are some obstacles you overcame at the beginning of your recovery journey, and what do you think are the biggest challenges that people in recovery face?

I grew up in an atmosphere of drinking and using drugs, which impacted me in many different ways. I have always struggled with my self-worth, relationships, and communication. Looking back on my other attempts at meaningful recovery, I noticed that I would complete my treatment, do all the things like get a job, a place to live, etc., and wait for my life to get better. There were many things I did not want to do. I did not want to pursue my recovery like I do now. During my last incarceration, I finally accepted that changing my thinking and myself as a whole was going to take effort on my part. In the past, I was not willing to put in the effort; I just thought if I was sober, that was all I needed to worry about. For me, that is not true.

How has your life changed throughout your recovery?

My life has changed in so many ways. I have relationships with my family now, who I did not speak to for 25 years. I am making amends with friends and people who love me, whom I had hurt throughout my addiction. This is all possible by maintaining my commitment to my recovery. I am taking an active role in my life, earning an honest living, and being a blessing to people I am around, using my experience to help others, not harm them. There really is not much that has not changed!

What does success in recovery look like to you?

For me, it means being able to navigate through my days, good and bad, in a healthy way. It involves reaching out to my supporters, being rigorously honest with myself and others, being very diligent with my boundaries, staying grateful and humble, and paying close attention to my life and being intentional about the things I am doing!

Is there anything you wish you could share with anyone who is at the beginning of their recovery journey—or at any point in their recovery?

This is a loaded question! LOL. It’s important to know that it’s normal for a person to feel alone, discouraged, and overwhelmed when thinking about all that comes along with getting clean and dealing with the mess we may have made. It’s very scary to think about sharing all of that with someone, but it’s imperative. We cannot do it alone. You do not have to! That’s why I am so passionate about peer support and our mission. This is the bridge that addicts have needed for a long time.

How did you find Kyros?

I was referred to Kyros by my mentor from the Basilica of St. Mary’s Prisoners or Patients Program in Minnesota.

Interested in reading more about addiction and substance use disorder recovery? Check out the other recovery stories we have on our blog.

Similar Posts