Meet Us Monday: Cheryl, Recovery Navigator

Meet Cheryl, a Recovery Navigator with REAL LIFE. In this position she shows Lifers that recovery is possible by modeling proper behavior and sharing her experiences, strength and hope. She is a Peer Recovery Specialist and is preparing to take the test to be a Certified PRS. In her position she helps others in the development of their wellness-recovery plan.
Before coming to REAL LIFE, Cheryl was incarcerated and felt hopeless when it came to being able to do the correct thing to stay out of trouble. Her lawyer suggested REAL LIFE to her and she never turned back.
The structure of REAL LIFE helped Cheryl be successful. At first she was doing all the necessary things in the program because of the threat of a lengthy prison sentence if she failed. One day her motivation switched from the threat to a desire to do better. She credits her great group of housemates in the REAL House in helping her progress.
She loves the feeling of belonging with her peers and the integrity of the group. She finds herself doing the right thing without thinking about it. Cheryl credits Tauchanna, the Motherhood Pathway Navigator, with helping her achieve her success. Tauchanna gave her a sense of being nurtured, trusted and making her believe she could succeed.
Cheryl had a very traumatic childhood and her family fell apart when she was 12. She moved to Florida with her mother, who got her hooked on cocaine. Her grandmother brought her back to Virginia when she was 14; her grandmother tried to get her to do the right thing, but she was too determined to do things her way. This got her into a lot of trouble with the law, living on the street and being an addict. Cheryl wishes she had listened to her grandmother.
She now lives with her husband and children. Her long-term goals include graduating from college and becoming a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. She would like to work with adolescents with addiction issues because she was lost in the system as a teenager.
Cheryl’s position on the REAL LIFE team gives her the chance to share her experience with others and help them get back on the right path. Helping others helps her to remember where she came from and how good her life is today. Cheryl would like to help people be free of addiction, feel renewed hope and happiness. She has a natural high on life and wants the same for everyone.