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a journey for nina

As an infant, Nina experienced both difficulties and lucky breaks, though of course she didn’t realize it then. On the down side, she needed to go through detox when she was born, courtesy of her birth mother. Nina was the third child for the 17-year-old drug user, and she was adopted by a wonderful couple who had earlier taken in her half-sister. That was the bright side of things.

Nina recalls her childhood as perfectly normal, if not privileged. “Mom and Dad went to prom together,” she says. “They were happily married for more than 60 years.” Her household was financially stable, and the family went on ski trips and other vacations.

Into and Out of the Life

But Nina was more susceptible to becoming dependent on drugs than the average person, given her start in life. She experimented in high school and it didn’t take much for her to fall into the life. She used drugs off and on and became pregnant at 19. During her first daughter’s early years Nina held jobs but struggled, finally getting back into using hard drugs and losing custody of her little girl in 2014.


Nina remembers the day she decided to get clean for good: July 29th, 2016. Child Protective Services had let her know she was on the verge of losing her daughter to adoption, and she checked herself into a detox facility. Six days into her newfound sobriety, Nina discovered she was pregnant again. “It was a gift of desperation,” she says. She gave birth to her second daughter in March of 2017.


Nina battled hard to handle the cravings. She used the 12-step strategy, attending regular meetings. She also went to counseling and relied on outpatient care. It took about a year, but she won her older daughter back.

Gaining New Skills

While Nina was firmly on the road to recovery, she did not have the skills she needed to support her family. She came to the Anacortes Family Center. Employed and active in her recovery, she was accepted into the program and remembers that “The staff, Dustin, and I got to know each other on a level of trust, support, compassion, and motivation. They were always there for me.”


At first, Nina thought the program was “a little much,” meaning overly structured. “However, I quickly realized the structure is exactly what I needed.” She did not know how to budget, and as she put every expense on paper, she learned how much she wasted on “stuff.” Fancy coffee was one of the first habits to go. Nina still loves elaborate concoctions, but when she learned how they drained her budget, fancy coffee became an occasional treat, not a daily purchase.


Nina enjoyed the mandatory life skills classes. She gained knowledge and appreciated the “feeling of unity with the other residents, which made me feel like I wasn’t alone.”

After completing 30 days in the Emergency Shelter program, Nina moved onto the Transitional Building. At this point she knew her hard work was paying off and she could continue building a stable foundation for her family. She celebrated one year clean and sober, and her older daughter finished the 2nd grade and was truly happy. Having lost the youngster’s trust three years earlier, Nina was overjoyed that the new sense of security her daughter felt showed in her behavior.

The Community Resource Manager

Today, Nina has more than seven years of sobriety to her credit and is still active in her recovery. Her daughters are doing well; both are healthy and happy. She's now married and she and her husband have purchased a home!


“I still have a good relationship with AFC,” Nina says, which is obvious since she was hired as Community Resource Manager na few years ago. She assists with the Emergency Shelter program, and she’s instrumental in outreach to people struggling in the community as well as those who walk in the door needing help of all kinds. After all, Nina has a sense of what that means.


Nina has nothing but good things to say about her colleagues at AFC. “I feel like I wouldn’t be where I am today without their help.”

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