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Ashley Reny

I’m 33 years old. I grew up in Sabattus, Maine in a very loving family who gave me everything I could have ever needed. Tragically, my father committed suicide when I was 19, and about a year after that, I started using substances to numb myself from the pain. Fast forward 10 years, and nothing scared me any more. I was chasing drugs and getting chased by probation. I found myself sitting in jail, knowing that I was hurting myself and the people I loved, wishing I was dead. And then, on my last day using, I overdosed and almost lost my life.

The next day, I moved into a recovery house in Portland, terrified and in withdrawal. A year later, I picked up my one year chip and moved into another recovery house where they asked me to become the house manager. I was scared and nervous, but I accepted the job.

In retrospect, it was one of the best things I’ve ever done.

These days I work as the Executive Director of Journey House Recovery, a statewide nonprofit organization that operates four low barrier recovery residences across Maine. Every day, I get phone calls from desperate men and women looking for a shot at recovery, and I work with our wonderful team of young recovery leaders to offer them a safe, supportive and sober place to live. I’m now 4 ½ years sober, happily engaged and the mother to two beautiful children.

I love doing this work and seeing others succeed, reach goals, and just live a happier healthier lifestyle. It’s so satisfying to help people in the way that I was helped and to give them hope that there is a better way of life.

Through all of this, the most valuable lesson I’ve learned is that, if I want to help other people, I’ve got to keep working on myself, one day at a time.

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