Karen was born and raised in D.C. She started using drugs in high school, as the pressure to be cool and fit in began to escalate. She graduated high school, but what began as a casual habit with friends soon spiraled into a serious drug addiction.
“My goal was to go to college, and I could have done it if I hadn’t started using.”
Karen started doing whatever she had to in order to get her fix. She lived on the streets, ending up in jail several times. She kept using until she tried to kill herself.
“I woke up in detox, not even remembering how I got there. I had tried to take my life.”
Wanting to continue to focus on her sobriety, the detox program recommended that Karen go to N Street Village. She moved into the Village’s Recovery Housing Program and immediately connected with the other women in the program. Her bright smile and friendliness soon became well-known throughout the community.
“I wanted to stay clean, at least I thought I did. I loved it while I was at N Street Village, but I had a hard time staying out of trouble.”
After completing the recovery program, Karen moved back home. Surrounded by her old friends and without the support of the Village, she soon found herself in the same cycle and old habits. One day, while she was out on the streets, she ran into an old friend from N Street Village who reminded her that she always had a place at the Village. Having hit rock bottom again, Karen knew she couldn’t do it on her own.
With the help of her N Street Village family, she once again started down the long road to recovery. In 2012, Karen was welcomed back to N Street Village as a permanent resident.
“This is my third – and longest – time I’ve ever been clean. The first two times I did it for my family. This time, I’m doing it for me.”
As of May, Karen will be celebrating 10 years of sobriety.
Today, Karen is an active member of the community, volunteering her time at N Street Village’s welcome desk and generously sharing her story with the many groups and individuals that tour through the Village.