Finding Self-worth

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I am definitely an alcoholic, chronic alcoholic. I am 51 years old and have 5 children. I’ve been an alcoholic all of my life. I started drinking pretty steady by the time I was 12 years old. I had a pretty crummy childhood. I lived in total fear of my dad and had a couple of sexual assaults when I was young. Drinking at an early age was a survival technique for me. Then I got into needles by the time I was 14 and was doing a lot of speed. My drug use increased steadily; I did drugs while on probation, I did drugs during required urine analysis. That’s how addicted I was.

Hitting Bottom

I’ve been through treatment 13 times. Still, I totally hit bottom. I ended up homeless—seriously homeless. By this point my kids wouldn’t even take me in overnight. They didn’t even want to talk to me. They were waiting for that phone call saying mom didn’t make it this time. I had truly hit bottom… And then I came to PV.

Progress Valley made it kind of easy for me. They provided the structure and set the rules. At first I thought the rules were ridiculous. But, I look back now and realize that the rules are in place for a reason. You follow the rules and you start to take those baby steps toward moving forward. PV is also the place to learn new skills. I learned coping skills, how to deal with my feelings, and much more. Sometimes it hurts to feel, but PV is a safe place to deal with feelings openly and honestly. They help you to get everything out in the open and then to build a platform for your life.

Now I’m sober, I’m back in school and I’m working. I’ve never been so proud of myself! My kids are actually talking to me again; they’re in awe of me right now. My life has totally turned around.  


Progress Valley not only told me, but convinced me that I WAS worth it. I think that was a big part of my success, they told me that I could do it. Before I came to Progress Valley, I really didn’t know if I could stop using. I thought I’d always be an alcoholic and a drug addict—I still am, but now I don’t use.

I’ve learned how important it is to be who you want to be, to be who God wants you to be. Life can be tough; it’s not always a piece of cake out there. But, it’s also a beautiful world and we’ve wasted so many years of it. You only have this one life, make it a happy one. Be happy! 

Thanks to Progress Valley, I’m clean and sober and I know I have something to offer this world!

 — Karen



Start your journey here.

Life can be hard, and the road ahead isn’t always clear. But you don’t have to walk it alone. Find your next step at Progress Valley. Contact one easy number, 952-956-3100, for new clients and existing clients scheduling their next appointment.

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Founded in 1972, Progress Valley is a Minneapolis-St. Paul area-based nonprofit provider of services for people with emotional and mental health challenges and/or substance use issues related to drugs or alcohol. Community members can find therapy and mental health counseling at our Bloomington Mental Health Clinic. Clients from all over Minnesota and the nation can find help with substance use challenges with us as well.


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