This morning we had a young woman come into the studio for a model call. My inspiration for the shoot was to bring encouragement, positivity, and confidence to this lovely momma of four. We brought in a makeup artist and hairstylist from Bella Chez Salon in Salem, IL and this beautiful lady got the royal treatment. What I didn’t know when I reached out to Michelle was that she is a recovering drug addict. She shared the honest truth about her story with me and I was blown away by her progress. She is 14 months clean and has taken huge steps to stay clean.
“I started smoking pot at 12. Worked my way to harder drugs by 16 & was a functioning addict.. I held jobs, went to school, and raised my children. I graduated in May of 2011 with my A.S. in early childhood education and I am 3 classes away from my A.S. in criminal justice. I got pregnant at 19 and again at 23 and was able to remain clean during both pregnancies. I am working my 12 steps in a small women’s step study in Centralia on Sundays. I’m one week away from completing it! When I started using IV drugs I lost control and the dope took over. We nearly lost everything and the main reason we are clean now is because my husband got into trouble and we knew we couldn’t be together with one of us clean. We had wanted to be clean for a long time, but that was the push we needed. Since then we have gotten our home out of foreclosure, gotten all our bills caught up, bought a nicer vehicle, we have custody of all of our kids, and I’m back working full time.
One thing Michelle shared about is the Celebrate Recovery meeting she attends at the Apostolic Church locally. With a little research I found that Celebrate Recovery is a world-wide program that helps pull people out of addiction. What an awesome resource for those struggling with dependency. Michelle said that it’s an amazing place to share safely with others & hopes that others who are struggling can find out about this program. From a CR advocate, “While Celebrate Recovery is known for addressing addiction it also addresses any type of hurts, habits, and hang-ups. That’s the beauty of the program.”
We are so thankful God brought Michelle into our studio today.. it’s truly a God thing that pulled this idea out of nowhere & made such an amazing impact on me. I truly hope that her honest openness and her incredible story can help someone else who is in a dark place and needs hope that change CAN happen. Thank you Michelle for being so transparent and allowing me to share your story with others.
She has been through so much and LOOK at her. She is stunning! I had to share the black & white version of each of these images because there is something so classy about a good ol’ black & white photo! I can’t tell you how proud I am of this young women for recovering from the addictions and awfulness of drugs. God is going to do amazing things with you, Michelle!
I noticed Michelle’s tattoo on her collarbone – it says “One Day at a Time” and she said it’s something they say in meetings and that it’s a personal reminder to her. One day at a time. She said, “I also suffer from anxiety and it’s a small reminder.. just one day at a time.. sometimes I think one hour at a time one minute at a time.. even one second at a time.”
Thank you for stopping by & checking out the work of Rachel & Garren • Photo and Film – Southern Illinois based husband and wife photography and videography team.
Contact us today for more information about booking your own photo experience.
Rachel & Garren King – 3440 Lazy Acres – Salem, IL 62881 – 618.740.1700