Peer Support Specialist for Clackamas County
Crystal grew up in a family of addiction and began using meth at the age of 13. She fought to survive every day and lived through several forms of abuse. Crystal got pregnant at 18, and lost her daughter to DHS because of her addiction. She was in and out of abusive relationships and did not believe she could change. The lie finally came to light when Crystal got pregnant with her second child and she entered inpatient treatment. There, she found hope and discovered there was another way to live, and that treatment was just the beginning of the transformation of healing. Self-love and forgiveness was foreign to her but building a great support system and giving back through her own experiences gave her pain a purpose.
Crystal’s first job was at Lifeworks as a Recovery Mentor in 2005. In 2006, Bridges to Change hired her on as a Mentor in Corrections, where she worked for several years. She then moved on to work as an Outreach Worker at the same DHS that she lost her daughter to 22 years ago.
“My life hasn't been easy; I have experienced relapse, disappointments, tragic trauma, and great losses throughout the many years of my recovery. But I have learned a huge, valuable lesson: I am worth fighting for, and we are not the mistakes that we have made. I am not a victim, but a survivor that fought a war against all odds. I have been blessed to work in this amazing field for 14 years and love it like its the first day I started.”