“I couldn’t imagine getting clean. I always knew I deserved better, but I had no self-esteem. I was afraid of the unknown.”
Courtney Taylor, age 37, shares her story without reservation or shame, with pride and humility.
She’s been a victim of physical and mental abuse. She’s been battling addiction for 20 years – and keeps on winning, generously sharing her journey as a light for others.
“I was in and out of jail for seven years. I didn’t know how to make a living if I wasn’t selling drugs.”
A Fresh Start
How do you get clean? How do you find someone to give you a second chance? For Courtney, it happened in relationship with people who saw her in ways others were unable or unwilling to see.
It was a chaplain at the Forsyth County Jail who told Courtney about a 90-day program that would seclude her from friends and family. Her next step was enrolling in Providence. With a work history in bars and restaurants, it seemed like a logical step within her comfort zone.
“After the first six weeks, I found myself prepping the salad bar. I kind of took charge. I had worked in a warehouse while in prison and that experience helped a lot. The program (Providence) is amazing. They taught at a buildable pace, giving me something positive I could get under my belt that I could use to maintain my sobriety as well as earn a living. There’s a lot of support too. People were willing to listen to my story so they would know how to help me.”
A program is only as good as its people. Meet some of Courtney's supporters…
“Chef V (Vanessa Lanier) took my number and gave me hers, saying if I ever felt like I was going back to my old life, I needed to call her, and she would come get me. Chef Bacon found out I had no transportation to the church we both go to and made sure I was able to go."
Through hard work and determination, last December (2022) Courtney became the House Manager of The Well Center. By March she was elevated to Program Director, all while participating in a Providence internship at 6th and Vine, a beloved local eatery.
She’s also focusing on repairing her relationship with her daughter. “It has been a struggle, earning back the trust. I’m showing her this is who I am now. She is hesitant, and I don’t blame her.”
Courtney is a great communicator and speaks on behalf of The Well Center at community events. She’s also traveled to Raleigh for certification as a Peer Support Specialist.
How did that make her feel? “It put letters after my name, so I was excited about that.” Courtney has become the support she needs.
On the value of her Providence experience, Courtney says, “I’m glad there is a program out there for people who need a second chance. There is hope out there, that’s why I got my Peer Support Certification. I want to show people there is that hope. I want to be a tangible hope. Knowing my past, others can see where I am now and know it can happen for them, too.”