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Trudy's story of recovery and restoration of hope

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Trudy's story of recovery and restoration of hope

As children, we all have big dreams of becoming doctors, teachers, parents, college graduates, and so much more. No one dreams of becoming an addict, drug dealer, or criminal. Trudy Drew has graciously agreed to share her story of substance use and circumstances that led her down a destructive path. She shares what ultimately led her to her recovery and her unforgettable experience with Peer Recovery Specialist Brandee Downs.

“I was born and raised in Washington, Indiana,” Trudy began. “I had a somewhat normal childhood, but my teen years were filled with rejection and abuse which resulted in low self-esteem, anger issues, and self-harmful behaviors. My first experience with drugs was around age 13 when I used diet pills. Soon after that, I tried marijuana and alcohol.”

At age 16, Trudy was pregnant and married. By age 18, she was the mother of three children and in a very toxic situation. She turned to drugs as a way to “numb” all of her feelings and became abusive to those around her.

In November 2011, Trudy’s brother died in a fight at a local bar. His death was devastating to her and caused her life to spiral out of control. She was facing multiple drug and assault charges while she continued to deal drugs to pay for her habit and became involved with a very dangerous group of people.

In 2020, she found herself is a dangerous situation when the police used tear gas to force a suspected felon out of her house. She was arrested at that time and faced up to 40 years in prison for state and federal charges.

“I was terrified to think that I might spend the rest of my life in prison,” Trudy recalled. “That arrest and time spent in jail changed my life in a way I never expected. Through the help of the RARE program and people in the corrections department, I turned my life over to God for the first time.”

While in jail, Trudy met her Peer Recovery Coach Brandee Downs when she signed up for an anger management class she was teaching. Every week, Trudy looked forward to the classes and appreciated that Brandee took time to listen to every inmate and showed true compassion.

After signing a four-year prison plea, the Judge allowed Trudy’s time to be served on Community Corrections house arrest at the Lighthouse. Peer Recovery was notified, and Brandee became her recovery coach. During their meetings, Brandee and Trudy talked about feelings and events for the week. Brandee was with her during court and even helped Trudy plan her wedding.

“As Peer Recovery Specialists, we are able to use our personal experience to have compassion for those who are often overlooked,” Brandee explained. “Through our support and encouragement, we restore their hope. Peers help inspire others by living out their recovery and introducing others to the recovery community, setting them up with resources, and holding them accountable.”

“To this day, Brandee continues to be a real inspiration to me and continues to be by my side,” remarked Trudy. “I want people to know that there is hope and help available. If I can do it, anyone can.”

About Peer Recovery Services

For millions of people recovering from addiction to drugs and alcohol, recovery can be an isolating process. Peer recovery coaches are on their own path to recovery and are a great source of support as they help guide people through addiction recovery.

A Peer Recovery Specialist:

  • Works with the individual to shape their personal pathway to recovery
  • Supports all pathways to recovery
  • Maintains confidentiality
  • Clarifies each step to reach each goal
  • Identifies and removes barriers to recovery
  • Connects individuals with a full range of peer support groups, treatment options, mental health support, education, transitional housing, shelters, food pantries, and recovery support groups.
  • Supports positive change and provides encouragement and celebrates each success
  • Works with people who have active addictions, people who are already in recovery, and any friend/family member concerned about someone’s substance misuse.
  • Helps navigate the human services, judicial, and healthcare systems.
  • Develops Recovery Plans, individualized for every participant.

If you or someone you know needs assistance, contact the Peer Recovery office at: (812) 254-2760, ext. 4178.