Susanne- even with the challenge of being deaf- is in recovery!

Suzanne and girls

Susanne- even with the challenge of being deaf- is in recovery!

Hi My name is Suzanne, I was born and raised in Portland, Oregon. I’m deaf myself.

I was adopted by white folks and raised very well. My parents were very strict with my hearing loss and making sure I had hearing aids and went to speech therapy from the age of three until I was eighteen years old.

Of course I went to mainstreamed deaf and hearing programs when I was little, but by the time I was seven, they transferred me to hearing school. Of course I got so frustrated and my very first time that I had interpreter when I was junior high school. I graduated high school and attended to Gallaudet University from 1988-1993.

I majored in Production/Performance Arts and minored in Dance Therapy. I have been dancer since I was four and traveled all over the country including Egypt with Gallaudet Dancers. During my senior year, I withdrew from Gallaudet because I couldn’t deal with my father’s serious illness. I went back home, took care of my dad; he passed away 1998, I couldn’t handle it anymore and began using drugs. My drug choice was Meth. Met the father of my girls who now is deceased, we hit off alot of drugs like crack cocaine and meth.

I lost my last job, got pregnant with my first child and then 19 months later, my second daughter was born.

My mom helped us a lot with my housing, cars and money. I have owed her so much money that I still feel guilty.

In 2007, I got my first arrest; I was pulled over and they found I got drugs in my car.

I was sent to outpatient treatment and I refused to go because of lack of interpreter. I kept going to jail over again. I lost my apartment and my children and I stayed with my friends who were also using drugs.

I hit bottom and crashed a big time, my mom took my kids and I finally asked my PO for help. I crawled into VOA (Volunteer of America) Women’s Residential Center. I got really scared and left out because I was only one deaf there.

I made through treatment without having interpreter! But I LOVE IT! They saved my life! I completed and graduated from VOA. I got my apartment where I’m still living, for over 4 yrs now. I got my kids back.

But in 2009 , I relapsed because I felt that I missed out a lot of information during meetings. NO INTERPRETER.

2yrs ago, I got off probation partially because I was attending Deaf 12-step meetings in Vancouver. I am so GRATEFUL for.

I really want to go meetings in Portland where interpretation is provided. Iron Tribe is the meeting I miss the most, however they are not interpreted. My recovery would be enhanced by attending meetings where I could “hear” the message through interpretation.

I really need help to get interpreters provided here in Portland. I don’t see many opportunities to attend meetings with interpreters. I really would like my deaf friends from Vancouver to be able to attend the Portland meetings with me, but it’s very important to have interpreters for us.

Hopefully we can get some help; maybe a foundation might help to get interpreters. If you know of someone that might help, please tell the people at Hands Across the Bridge Project who to call.

I have not used any alcohol or drugs since March 17, 2010.

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