Darlene #SuccessBells

March 1, 2017

IMG_1783Darlene’s eyes sparkle with excitement when she is asked about her job. She can’t wait to go to work each morning where she is greeted by the yips and kisses of her puppy patrons. She is able to channel her kind and calm demeanor to pacify even the most nervous of K9s. When she’s finished, the pampered pups are returned to their families smelling fresh and groomed to perfection – evidence of Darlene’s steady hand and attention to detail. She explains that after years of receiving support from others as she battled addiction, she decided that she was ready to give back and bring order to her life. Her job as a groomer is one outlet that is allowing her to be of service to others – both humans and their animals.

In 2013, when her daughter accepted a career opportunity on the West Coast, Darlene didn’t hesitate to follow. She valued being close to her daughter and felt optimistic about finding a career in the pet industry. But a heartbreak from a recent separation led to bouts of depression, and when her prescribed treatment wasn’t working, Darlene found other ways to make herself feel better. Her need to self-medicate led to an addiction to meth coupled with a gambling problem that would consume her life. Pursuing her passion of working with animals was put on hold.

The final straw came when Darlene’s parents decided to cut all ties with her. It brought Darlene back to reality long enough to realize that she needed to go to rehab. After 83 days of sobriety, Darlene came to Chrysalis motivated to start her job search, excited by the prospect of a structured work environment in which she could serve others.

She dove into our core program with resolve. Despite having solid previous work experience that made her a strong candidate on paper, she didn’t have confidence in herself and felt skeptical about her ability to conduct a self-directed job search.

This is one of several barriers that Chrysalis is equipped to help clients overcome. For female clients, our Women’s Empowerment Program (WEP) is one offering that provides a safe and welcoming space for clients to work through, sometimes, heavy emotional blockades. When Darlene found out about the program, she started running on all cylinders: “I had to attend,” she earnestly recalls, the sparkle in her eyes even more apparent. Because of WEP, “I am confident and committed to excellence now,” Darlene explained.

With a new sense of vitality and a scholarship from Chrysalis to assist her with enrollment at West Coast Grooming Academy, Darlene tackled her job search like she would a dog’s bad hair day – from all angles. And it wasn’t long before she got hired to be a pet groomer! In addition to her day job, Darlene co-manages a sober living home and frequently speaks on panels for substance abuse groups. We were thrilled to welcome her back at this year’s WEP kickoff where she spoke to the newest group of women participating in the program.

Darlene is empowered and employed thanks to the vital resources she received from Chrysalis, along with the support of her family and her community. Her transformation reminds us of the ripple effect of change. In Darlene’s words, with comprehensive resources like addiction treatment and job preparation services, “anyone with the right tools and mindset can change their life.” For Darlene, that gift of giving back is one she will continue to pass along. And as she thinks about how far she’s come, she hears the voice of her daughter saying, “I’m proud of you, Mom.”

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