The story of Rebecca Smith is much more than a success story, it’s a miracle! Using her painful life experiences and fearless drive to better herself, this Alcohol and Drug Counselor found a purpose in life to not only help others inflicted with the same demons, but to heal the wounds she had sustained throughout her tragic life. The road to recovery and redemption was not an easy one however. Growing up, life had dealt Rebecca a raw deal. Suffering from chronic abuse and neglect from her mother, she found herself bouncing back and forth between what few friends from school she could.
“By the time I turned 12, I found my own places to live and when I could not find a place, I would stay on roof tops or in cars. I found odd-jobs and luckily did not resort to anything too awful to support myself,” said Rebecca Smith.
Living alone in Hollywood proved to be a challenge, and though her mother would periodically take her back in, she would not experience one of society’s core foundations, an honest education.
“My mother never cared about school and did not make it seem important. I did not realize how important it was till I was much older.”
At 15, with no schooling past the 6th grade, she found herself living in a car with a 24 year old boyfriend, and becoming pregnant for the first time. When her relationship dissolved, she found herself searching for love and the family she never had. Eventually, she wound up getting in and out of multiple relationships, and had 2 more children along the way, but suffered from abuse that was all too familiar for her.
“I had to go into a battered woman’s shelter to escape the hell I was in with my children. I got into drugs heavily and I was a poor parent sober, and blamed my mother and did not take any responsibility for my life being in the state it was in.”
Determined to get her life in order, she decided to apply for the G.E.D., and work on establishing a new relationship with her mother. As difficult as the test was, with no formal education, she eventually passed with great success and went on to find a husband with whom she was happily married to for 7 years, and had a 5th child with. As things looked like they might turn for the best, another obstacle presented itself that shook the very foundations she fought so hard to restore.
“My husband’s business went bankrupt and we lost our home and everything with it. We both gave up hope and faith that things would be ok. After nearly 7 years of being clean, we both went back to using drugs and wound up doing time in prison.”
After doing 2 years in prison and getting into a 6 month rehab program, Rebecca was able to get clean again and back on track. At the age of 36, and the mother of 5 children ranging from the ages of 6, 7, 14, 16 and 20, she made the choice of going back to school to find employment that would benefit her and her large family.
“I had always been told I was stupid and believed it for most of my life. I found out they were wrong. I decided to go to school for alcohol and drug counseling and I chose ICDC College. While in school I did really well and got straight A’s in all of my courses.”
Completing nearly 600 internship hours (double the hours required), she found herself the dream job she had always hoped to land. Sending out nearly 100 resumes, she eventually got hired by Malibu Beach Recovery Center and put her life experiences and new found education from ICDC College into full-effect. After overcoming such adversity, things only got better as the center hired her husband after he had suffered from a motorcycle accident.
“He works the overnights and I am a counselor during the days. ICDC College helped me so much, it changed my life, not only mine, but my family’s life as well! I love my life today and my family is happy and stable. I have never had this before. I have never been happier in my life. Thank you ICDC College!”
Rebecca continues to defy the odds while sharing her story with her patients. Rebecca takes great pride in giving the kind of care she received as an addict, and improving the lives her patients on a daily basis. She has shown that even in the face of what seems like an endless abyss, anyone who has the will-power can crawl out of it and greatly improve their lives for the better.
For more information about our graduation rates, the median debt of students who completed the program, and other important information, please visit our website (http://icdccollege.edu/programs/associates-degree/alcohol-drug-counseling-associates/).