Ellen

I entered RAP, Inc. in 1970 when the program was located at 1904 T Street, N. W. I had just turned 16; had dropped out of school; and had gotten arrested for shoplifting. I was from a middle class family in Fairfax, Virginia. This was the first time I had gotten into that kind of trouble but I was a wild and crazy, spoiled little girl.

As a therapeutic community, RAP required everyone to help with the work of operating the facility. I worked in the kitchen department. Also, we did all kinds of work in the community like distributing free clothing and food to disadvantaged families. And all kinds of people came to the facility to give seminars and to encourage us in our recovery. Arena Stage came to visit and when I left RAP after two years, I went to work there.

Later I worked in the theatre in New York, traveled through Europe, finally got my GED, got married, and went to college. It took me 10 years to get my Associate’s Degree. But I did it. Some fifteen years ago, I was offered a job doing halfway house work starting as an addictions counselor. I became a clinical supervisor and eventually was offered a partnership in the Martinsburg Institute.

I will never forget the experience at RAP or the concepts that I learned. Recovery is about doing the next right thing. I’m living proof that when the road gets tough we have to keep on stepping.

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