Meet Us Monday: Karen, Graduate

Karen Frazier, an outpatient Lifer shares, “This life that I’m living now is awesome, I wouldn’t trade it for the world!” Karen’s infectiously positive attitude is one that everyone who has met her can see immediately. Her kindness and devotion to sobriety is unmatched and she is a true inspiration to others around her. Karen has been through a lot to get to this point in her life!
In 2016, she lost her mother. Karen explains that her mom was the glue that stuck her family together, and losing her was a very tragic time for everyone in the family. Karen says that “I just kinda lost it. I was in a deep depression.” With the sadness and coping, Karen lost her job, her car, and had to move into a hotel because of her utilities being shut off. Thankfully, as Karen describes it, an angel was sent to her. A good friend of hers wanted to give her a special birthday present. Instead of jewelry or clothing, her friend gave her enough money to move back home and get her back on her feet. 
Unfortunately, shortly after this, though, Karen was badly injured falling off of a ladder. The pain was so great and unbearable that, after trying for a long time to cope with the pain, Karen fell into using drugs to cope. With friends and family providing easy access to these coping mechanisms, Karen explains that it was an easy way to fix the pain. She began selling drugs, as well which after a short time caused her to get arrested, right before she was able to get her injury looked at by a doctor.
Even through all of the pain that she was experiencing, Karen explains that she kept her hopes high while in jail. She prayed daily, and put all of her faith in God. She prayed to God saying, “Lord I’ve tried it my way, and my way has not worked. I’m going to give it all to you now.” She began helping the younger girls that were around her and became a mentor to these girls. She would pray for and with them, help them write letters and documents to their lawyers and families, listen to them and encourage them. She found that this was her purpose and calling, and knew that she was doing what she needed to do in that moment. One of the girls described Karen as her angel, saying that she changed her life for the better with her kindness and empathy. 
After reaching out to a lawyer and getting a court date, Karen was released and able to go home. She had been in the WAITT program at the VA Peninsula Jail, that was run by REAL LIFE; she knew that she needed to continue the program; she says that the work grounded her and was such a big part of her recovery process. While she couldn’t continue the program from the jail, she got in contact with director Sarah Scarbrough and asked to continue in the program. After being accepted, Karen was excited to continue the REAL LIFE curriculum and attend meetings as soon as she was released. Karen says that the support from the REAL LIFE staff was exactly what she needed, and that this is what helped her stay focused on her recovery.
Throughout her time with the program, she has had back surgery as well as hand surgery, both of which she went through without relapsing. Having been prescribed narcotics for the pain, Karen insisted that she would rather feel the pain than slip back into the cycle of addiction. It is remarkable how steady and dedicated Karen has been throughout these times and she is truly a role model for so many struggling with addiction. Tauchanna Bullock, REAL LIFE’s Motherhood Pathway Navigator says, “She has been an avid and enthusiastic participant throughout her time with us.  She has not relapsed and maintains her sobriety after having been in addiction for most of her life. I am PROUD of Karen!” We cannot say enough kind words about Karen – she has truly made an impact on the lives of those around her.
Karen is now volunteering at multiple organizations including the Humane Society, and is a very active member of her church. Karen sings in the choir with her many family members at church, which brings her so much joy being able to connect with the community and her family. She explains that she has mended relationships with her family members, and that the family has become so close over the past year. “I finally see light at the end of the tunnel”, she says. She feels that she has purpose, support, and a well-rounded and meaningful life and she is so excited to continue her journey. She is so grateful for all of the blessings that she has received and is forever thankful for the second chance that she has been given. While Karen is thankful for what others have done for her, she truly should be proud of how far she has come independently. None of her progress would be possible without the dedication and patience that she has constantly held throughout her recovery. 
Karen’s plan for the future includes going back to school to become a counselor to young adults. Anyone who knows or has spoken to Karen knows that she will excel at this profession, and that she will continue to inspire people with her story. It is a true gift to be able to share the story of your life with others to help them through a difficult time; this is exactly what Karen hopes to do.  We are so proud of how far she has come, and cannot wait to see how she is able to continue to grow and help others!