Published: Saturday, 20 May 2017 11:33
By Marty Trese, KnoxPages.com Editor
MOUNT VERNON - Sobriety stories were shared and applauded Friday morning at the first Women in Recovery Breakfast sponsored by Women United, a United Way of Knox County program.
Georgette Burritt, Women's Program Coordinator and Licensed Social Worker at The Freedom Center, introduced two women she counsels in recovery. Bayliss said, "Every woman that comes in there (The Freedom Center) is an inspiration to me. I've seen them overcome struggles and hardships..and become a better person than maybe they would have been if they had never had some of these challenges in life."
Erica Bayless, left, and Freedom Center counselor Georgette Burrit at Friday's Women in Recovery Breakfast - KP Photo
Erica Bayless, 31, of Mount Vernon said she has been 9 months sober after many years of substance abuse, jail, and rehab. A bright, enthusiastic woman, Erica told KnoxPages.com that she was happy to openly talk about her experience without anonymity. Erica came from a good home with a loving mother. Her parents were divorced and owned a local bar. In 2008, Erica had a 3 month old baby and a good job when she fell at work and received a doctor's prescription for pain pills. She stayed on the pain pills for eight months and then turned to street drugs. In 2010 she was charged with her first felony and a judge sent her to rehab, where she stayed for three months and walked out. In 2011 she was charged with a different felony and put in drug court in Franklin County and put on medication assisted therapy, or MAT, to help her get through cravings and triggers. Despite that she went back to using.
In 2015 Erica said she was empty inside, broken and beaten and faced another felony for drug possession. She took off.
"When they found me the judge said you need to see the inside of a prison," said Erica. She was sentenced to 18 months and while behind bars she went through withdrawl and her mind became clear. She asked herself , "How did I get here again? something's gotta change - I have two young kids."
Following that revelation she was rleeased after 4 months, sent to a relapse prevention class and a halfway house in Mansfield. After 4 months there she was allowed to go home. Now she visits the Freedom Center regularly for counseling and has been sober for more than a year. She started a new job as restaurant server a couple of months ago and likes it.
Another woman in recovery, Barb, shared that she is feeling free now that she is in recovery and said she loves Knox County.
Published: Thursday, 18 May 2017 12:01
MOUNT VERNON – Got shoes? New and gently used shoes can help a Newark family adopt three children from Ukraine by raising funds through an organization called funds2org.com. The shoe drive has been organized by Mount Vernon’s Arley Clinedinst. She is helping Caity and Brett Blacet adopt by collecting at least 2500 pairs of shoes by the end of May.
The adopting couple is traveling to Ukraine at the beginning of June.
Among the local businesses collecting shoes is Duke’s Quick Lube and Quality Auto Service at 311 S Mulberry St. Several hair salons are collecting as well.
Both adult and children’s shoes are being collected.