Helping people out of addiction is the right thing to do.
Meet the Arnold Family
Before the age of 24, Nikki Arnold had been in jail five times. “I was born to alcoholic parents who divorced when I was three,” Nikki says. “I moved in with my grandparents at age 11 and started hanging out with the wrong people.”
Nikki and then-boyfriend Jason were doing drugs when Nikki was taken into custody for a probation violation in 2010. “I found out I was pregnant when I was in jail,” Nikki adds. “Turns out, it was the best thing that could have happened.”
Through counseling and Montgomery County Drug Court, Nikki battled her addiction, determined to have a healthy baby and stay out of jail. She found the strength to rebuild her life through drug court. “The program introduced me to a completely different lifestyle – structure, foundation, stability – and kept me accountable to be where I needed to be,” Nikki explains. “If I didn’t have counselors, I don’t know where I’d be. Actually, I do: I’d be dead.”
Shortly after Nikki went to jail, Jason entered rehab. “We both needed to work on overcoming our addictions. And we both needed to grow as individuals,” says Nikki. Their drug court, counseling and rehab programs are funded through Pennsylvania’s Department of Human Services. When their daughter, Avery, turned one, the couple reunited. Today, Jason and Nikki are married. Avery is six, and their son, Gavin, is almost two.
“Family is the most important thing for us,” Nikki says. “Being here, being accountable for raising our children, is everything.” Jason works full time and Nikki plans to re-enter the workforce after Gavin enters school.
Nikki can’t imagine how she would have turned her life around without the counseling services that saved her life. “You already feel so alone,” she says of the isolating life of an addict. “If no one’s there to help, there’s no hope, no way to figure out how to live and become productive members of society.”
Nikki worries about the overdose deaths she sees in the news and on social media. “I want to say to these people that there is a way and it’s closer than you know,” Nikki says. “Don’t give up. Your life is worth fighting for.”