Millie Jones will be the first one to tell you that she never thought she’d end up sitting in a jail cell without enough money for bail. She grew up in a stable home, but even though her family relationships were solid, she struggled to keep meaningful relationships with her friends.
“I came from a really nice family, loving parents and a younger brother. My parents have been married for more than 40 years,” she shared. “For a long time, I was just really lonely and sad. I was in my room all the time. Nobody ever wanted to be around me.”
Her isolation and several other factors in her life led to substance use disorder as a young adult, first with alcohol and then with a variety of drugs.
“Eventually, I was arrested on drug charges, and my bail was so low – it was only $150 – but I couldn’t pay it,” she said. “I didn’t have enough money, and I had burned so many bridges in my life, no one wanted to help me get out of jail, so I tried to manipulate my way out.”
She told her parents that she’d go back to another detox program or a recovery house if they would pay for her to get out of jail, but instead, they worked with the judge to negotiate an agreement with Millie – get out of jail and go directly to Healing Transitions or serve your time. Millie chose to start the recovery program at Healing Transitions, and she says it was the hardest – and best – decision she’s ever made.
“I was at such a low point in my life,” she recalls. “I had tried a few other rehabilitation programs in my twenties and thirties, but they never worked. I was obsessing over where I was going to get drugs every day. Wondering how I’d get enough money to pay for drugs. Staying isolated in my room at my parents’ house all day with my dog. It was awful.”
She continued, “When I came to the program at Healing Transitions, I didn’t realize it at the time, but I was done manipulating people. I didn’t think I could do one more scam or one more thing to try to get drugs or money. I was so tired of all of that.”
Spending so many years in addiction, isolated and without meaningful relationships in her life, really took a toll on Millie’s self-confidence. It took some time at Healing Transitions, and two mentors in her life, for Millie to start seeing some personal growth and healing.
“By the time I got to Healing Transitions, I had lost all respect for myself,” she shared. “I was assigned to help out in the kitchen, and Chef Trisa and Chef Mary really took an interest in me. Those two women had such a huge impact on my recovery.”
Slowly, Millie started to become more confident and loved cooking for the women in the program.
Over the next few years, she completed the program and then turned around and started mentoring other young women just beginning their recovery journey. Mille taught classes in the long-term recovery program and said, “I loved meeting the new girls, even when I had time off, I would go back to the campus and try to teach some classes. I just loved it.”
Today, Millie is pursuing her associate’s degree and planning to apply to nursing school soon. She’s also able to care for her aging parents, something she never thought she’d be able to do.
“I’m the person that my family depends on,” she said with a smile. “My dad is going to have a double hip replacement soon, and I love knowing that I can take care of him when he needs me. That’s just been amazing.”
When she thinks about where her life is headed, Millie says it’s hard to imagine what her life used to look like.
“I was at a point in my life where I could not imagine my life being any different. Sometimes, I can’t even recognize that person,” she acknowledges. “It’s crazy to me to see how much my life has changed in five years. I have hope that I never had before.”