“I think my story is nothing short of a miracle,” shares Elisha. “If it weren’t for TROSA, I wouldn’t be here today.”
Elisha's mother battled lifelong mental illness and addiction, and young Elisha was often called-upon for support. “It was a really complicated and unstable household,” shares Elisha.
Elisha welcomed any opportunity to get away—physically, mentally, or emotionally. “When I was about 12 years old, I would take my mother's pain pills, and I liked the feeling of not being in reality...of being able to escape.” Elisha continued to use drugs and alcohol into adulthood.
“I wanted to change. I got married and had two kids. I wanted to be the ‘perfect’ mom, but I still had trauma I didn’t recognize. Not being able to stop using—even for my kids—was devastating. I had such shame and guilt. I used anything and everything so I could be numb.”
Elisha tried several treatment programs and detox facilities, but nothing seemed to work for her. Then, she heard about TROSA.
While participating in TROSA’s cost-free multiyear residential program, Elisha committed to changing her life—even if it meant challenging herself. Instead of resisting, she opened herself up to the possibility of change and trust. She decided to follow someone else's rules for a change.
At TROSA, all needs are provided cost-free so that participants can focus on their recovery. This means free housing, meals, clothing, counseling, health services, and more. Residents participate in community assignments that help guide one’s day and provide life skills and vocational training. Elisha’s community assignments included assisting the Switchboard and Admissions departments, and providing administrative support for the President’s Office. She received counseling and formed strong, healthy relationships with TROSA peers. “Before TROSA, I would never talk to someone about my feelings and anxieties. Counseling was so important...learning to forgive myself and move past my shame and guilt. And I’ve met some amazing people here. Learning to connect with others was huge for me. In my addiction, I was always searching for that connection and place where I belonged.”
Elisha graduated the two-year program and successfully applied to stay longer as a senior resident. “My kids were proud of me and they understood what I was doing. They could see I was getting better." Elisha continued to grow. She acquired new skills, further strengthened relationships with her children, and joined TROSA’s staff in 2014 as the Executive Assistant to TROSA’s President and CEO.
Today, Elisha is Special Projects Manager for our Programs/Clinical department. She is responsible for trainings, certifications for graduates to pursue counseling credentials, individual treatment plan meetings, and resident volunteering. She also assists TROSA’s Development department, which connects TROSA to supporters who help ensure TROSA remains cost-free for men and women who want to change their lives.
Elisha discovered her talents for helping others at TROSA. She became a certified Peer Support Specialist and Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor, and has been providing one-on-one counseling for TROSA residents for several years.
She also facilitates TROSA’s Grief and Loss class. “Many residents have experienced loss, but have not yet addressed feelings of pain and guilt,” shares Elisha. “Being able to feel comfortable and safe in a space with others is significant...it provides an opportunity to heal while in recovery.”
Elisha’s strength and talents are an inspiration to all at TROSA...and beyond. She was honored as a Durham Magazine “Woman of Achievement” in 2014 and is a 2020 Leadership North Carolina alum. She also obtained credentials for yoga instruction. And—most importantly—she enjoys a meaningful, close relationship with her family. “I am remarried to a fellow TROSA graduate. And my kids have a mother who is now fully present in their lives. My son is a senior in high school and my daughter is a freshman in college and on the dean’s list. They are amazing!”
Elisha marvels at how her life at TROSA “has truly come full-circle.” After years of struggling with her own substance use disorder, Elisha has this message for those who may want help to change their own lives: “Don't give up. Don't ever, ever, give up. I remember how it felt to just survive—every day feeling hopeless, anxious, alone, and trapped. Take that first step, and there are people out there who care and want to help you. You can rebuild, and you can be who you were meant to be.”
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