Most Viewed Stories
Salvation Army honors 8 who beat drugs
After years of methamphetamime and heroin use, Stacia and Robert Denison remember their first nights of sobriety were so rough, they spent them crying.
Living at the Salvation Army Depot — their five children taken away by Child Protective Services — with a pledge to be substance-free for the first time in more than a decade, they knew the path ahead was not going to be easy.
"It was the environment I grew up in," Robert Denison said. "It was the only way I knew how to get through life."
But now he knows. Overcoming addiction happens, he said, through creating a support system, staying clean and being a positive role model.
"It was so worth it," Stacia Denison said, noting that on Oct. 4, the Yuba City couple will have two years of sobriety. "We are loving life. It's better this way."
The Denisons were among eight people recognized Friday for achieving a year or more of sobriety through the Salvation Army Depot's substance abuse treatment program. In an intimate gathering at the Salvation Army, the awardees and their families were celebrated with certificates, dinner and cake.
"This has been the hardest thing I have ever done in my lifetime. I am so proud of me right now," Cassandra Gonzales said, waving her certificate.
The Olivehurst resident said her addiction spiraled until she lost her apartment and her car, and she and her children became a thread away from being homeless. She sent her kids to live with family and moved into the Depot.
"I told myself when I started using, I could stop when I wanted to, but I couldn't, even though everything around me was falling," she said. "Then I reached a point of being sick and tired of being tired."
Today, she works as shelter support at the Depot.
"I like the feeling of being able to give back. I want everyone there to have what I have. I like to give them hope," she said.
Celebrating one-year anniversaries are important because it shows skeptics that recovery works, said Capt. Tom Stambaugh of the Salvation Army. Families have been reassembled, jobs secured and lives are back on track.
"They are making life happen," Stambaugh said. "Recovery is rewarding them for their hard work."
Tammy Johnson was sober 12 years until she had a four-month slip, picking up her methamphetamime habit where she left off. Quickly facing a 61⁄2-year prison sentence for stealing to feed her addiction, she was grateful to be offered drug court and a residential program at the Salvation Army instead.
Today, she still has ups and downs, but she's trying as best she can to stay clean, if for nothing else, for her kids, ages 14 months to 18 years.
"So I can show them a different life than I had, and I can teach them to grow up and be successful and loving individuals," she said. "And I'm gonna hold on to it, because I feel different about my recovery this time."
Tina Hursey said she was so proud of her sobriety certificate, she planned to go home and hang it on her wall for everyone to see.
"It feels amazing," she said. "It's been hard, but I'm real proud."
Before the Depot, Charrissa Hurst, 34, would lay on the sofa high on methamphetamime or marijuana most of the day, or socially use the drugs in certain company. But after a run-in with police during a domestic dispute, she entered parenting classes and the residential treatment program at the Salvation Army. Now, she has custody of her children back and a job.
"It's hard now, but I'm making it. I'm doing it," she said. "The Depot treatment, everyone thinks it's hard. But life is hard, and once you get clean, those hard things seem so minimal. And it's not life until you get clean."
CONTACT Ashley Gebb at email@example.com or 749-4783. Find her on Facebook at /ADagebb or on Twitter at @ADagebb.