My name is Paris Branch and I am a recovering addict. I am 28 years old, was born in Denver Colorado—and I was raised in San Jose California. I spent several years in the foster system, tied between a mother’s love and her inability to care for me. I am a survivor of child abuse and sexual abuse. At a young age I experienced some rough challenges that I had no control over. I was in need for a love I could hardly find, not within myself or in others. Guidance was necessary. In and out of the foster system caused me pain and much emotional suffering. The inconsistency in living a healthy life almost seemed impossible—I was doomed.
Growing up a ward of the court, I could never find stability. I hated myself, and found love in other places, people and things. I became interested in things that would allow me to pretend, and deviate from my feelings. When I feel, I get emotionally overwhelmed and would sometimes rather commit suicide. At a young age I was introduced to drugs and alcohol. The best alternative to feeling and living in my reality. Being honest with the truth about myself was hard to accept—learning to pretend and hide behind my fears came easiest to me. I thought I could find love in men since I couldn’t find it within myself. I became a young mother at nineteen years old, and survived a domestic violence situation.
The inability to love myself put me in many unhealthy and dangerous situations. I found my moment of desperation where my life hit rock bottom. Losing my children, failing in the goals I had set for myself is where I found shame. I entered into (Hope House) woman’s recovery program on September 26, 2016. I graduated February 15th 2017, desperate for change. I wanted to love who I was, so I could love those whom I felt didn’t love me. I wanted to escape that feeling of the world being against me. I wanted to face those truths about me that kept me searching for solutions that were unhealthy for me and find a new way to live.
During my time in program I learned new tools and new ways to manage my feelings and emotions in a healthy way. I was able to heal from past trauma, and find love within myself to endure life’s challenges without using drugs and alcohol. Acknowledging myself for my strengths and assets, and practicing this new way of thinking. Picking up new habits and making healthier choices for myself that will anticipate the greater things in my future— that are yet still to come. Reciting my personal beliefs, owning my recovery and being a soldier in this entire process is where I have gained much strength. Along the way, I gracefully met a beautiful human being whom has been a blessing in my journey. (Kim Kubal). She has showed up and suited up to support me in every step of the way. I am honored to have met her. I don’t know if the outcome of my experience would be the same without her being placed in my life. She has been someone that can I can relate to, cry too, and lean my shoulder on in my time of need. She has definitely made a difference in my life and could say the work she does changes people’s lives. She always reminded me of my strength and ability to thrive when I felt no one else would see it. She has shared her story with me, and I am enlightened to be a witness of the transformation that has taken place. She always said, “If she can do it, I can.” “Thank You Kim” I believe in myself today and continue to press forward to do all things that I put my mind too. Nothing is Impossible!