Submitted By Pam R

Desperately Keeping My Struggles Hidden

If you’d met me in 2003, you may have described me as an energetic, talented, mother of three beautiful daughters and wife of an excellent man. I was working as development director for the YMCA, was an accomplished member of the local running community, and was well respected as a mom, a professional, and an athlete. In truth, I was anxious, arrogant and fearful, self-medicating with alcohol, trying desperately to keep my struggles hidden. As my alcoholism slowly took control of my life, I began spiraling out of control. Ultimately, I received three DUIs within 18 months.

Planting Seeds in Jail

Desperate, empty and defeated, I finally entered treatment on April 17, 2006 – and took my first steps into sobriety. The foundation of recovery that saved my life was not built without extreme difficulty; I still faced the consequences of my DUI convictions, which included a three-month jail sentence. My program of recovery and my renewed faith sustained me, and even grew me, through that experience. When I walked out of that jail on Dec. 31, 2006, the seeds had been planted that would ultimately grow into my desire to help those fighting battles similar to mine, and to show them there is hope, there is redemption, and there is recovery.

Helping Others Every Day

Today, I serve as the Director of THP RUNS, an initiative of former NBA basketball player Chris Herren’s foundation, The Herren Project (THP). THP RUNS engages people to run, walk, and participate in healthy activities, helping each other, and others, live stronger, healthier lives. The initiative raises awareness and funding for THP’s mission, which includes providing addiction recovery resources, education and prevention initiatives across the country. I’ve relished the opportunity to run more than 65 marathons and ultra-marathons over the past 8 years, including participating in the Icebreaker Run, running across the country with 5 others to raise awareness for mental health issues and resources.

Ask and You Shall Receive

Without asking for help and finding my own recovery, none of my running success, let alone my personal or professional wellbeing, would be possible. The fact that I can work and run at all now, let alone do it while raising awareness and funding for recovery resources, is an outrageous, gift to me. Whether I’m sobbing or celebrating, my mantra is, “It is well with my soul.”

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