24 Jul Louise’s Story of Hope
My name is Louise Wedge, and I grew up in Portland Oregon where I own my own home. I am a mother, a grandmother and a great grandmother! I vote and I pay taxes.
I recently retired as a drug and alcohol counselor and have been able to help many people in my career. I worked at Hooper Detox for more than 12 years. I know that numbers are boring, but stay with me and I will make this as painless as possible.
In my 12 years, I worked more than 550 weeks, each week I completed full assessments on about 20 clients.
That didn’t include the people who “Needed Attention”
- Maybe a melt down
- A health problem
- A problem with anger
- Or an “I don’t want to do this, but my family said I can’t come back in the house until I complete this program!”
Okay here are some more numbers, I gave a full assessment to more than ten-thousand people and served even more than that.
When I applied for my last position, my past was truly an asset. My clients were able to identify with me. They couldn’t say, “But you don’t understand!” I could understand because I had been there—And they knew that!
Granted, I have a colorful past and committed many crimes— my felony convictions were a direct bi-product of my drug addiction. When I left the prison drug program at Columbia River Correctional Institution, they told me that if didn’t use drugs and didn’t commit crimes, I would never have to go to prison again.
I took them at their word, because my counselor had been incarcerated with me many years ago. I knew if she could do recovery, so could I. Through her example I was willing to try the things that were suggested to me.
Guess what? THEY WERE RIGHT!
After 35 years of active addiction, I was so well known in the drug and alcohol world and had been to prison many times; people were shocked to see the changes I had been able to make in my life. I was a living, breathing example of change. People saw me and knew that if I could do it, anyone could.
I know that I have been instrumental in helping people change their lives. After the reuniting of their families, they have come by my work and introduced me to their children. As they reclaim their place in the world, they are able to achieve their dreams. One of my clients sent me several books of poetry that he had written and published. Many of my clients have come back to show me their college degrees, One of my most grateful moments was when my very first client came back as a counselor and I was one of the people who helped teach her the process .
I have touched many people in my life, but in the last sixteen years I have been a positive influence. Today I am known as Ms. Wedge the counselor, Louise a woman in recovery, a good neighbor and friend, a mother, a grandmother and great grandmother. Today I am here asking us to come together as a community and make change to this law.
As a retired women these are my new jobs. I am the mentor coordinator with Highland Access Re-entry And Recovery Program- (HARRP) – in my church I sit on “The Mother’s Board” and am an usher/greeter. I also volunteer one day a week as the receptionist – I still like to be helpful to people needing assistance.
Recovery is Amazing