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Client Testimony: Jennifer Replogle

Published on December 2, 2015

This is an inspiring account of one mother’s battle with addiction and her story of recovery. Jennifer Replogle was born and raised in Arizona for the first thirteen years of her life. At the age of fourteen she moved to Oregon with her mother. Shortly after arriving in Oregon, Jennifer began hanging out with a crowd that carried an unpleasant reputation, subsequently, at the age of fourteen she started using methamphetamines. At her Grandmother’s home where Jennifer lived, her mother and brother were also using meth, contributing to the turmoil of her blossoming dependence. Her mother assured her it was “okay” to use meth and Jennifer succumbed to addiction.

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When Jennifer was seventeen, years into her addiction, she developed motivation to change her life and made some positive changes. She became the “Turn Around Student” at Kalapuya High School in West Eugene, obtained employment at Alpine Court Memory Care Community where she remained for more than five years caring for the elderly. Caring for the elderly at Alpine Court was an enjoyable experience for Jennifer, she thrived in the atmosphere and achieved awards for her contribution to the agency. Internally, Jennifer was inspired by her ability to make a difference in the lives of people she cared for.

Despite the progress she had made, five and a half years of sobriety did not prepare her for the invitation she received at a party where meth and alcohol were prevalent. In retrospect, Jennifer “didn’t know that (she) couldn’t handle it.” She was admitted into inpatient treatment but was still unable to maintain sobriety. Unhealthy relationships and the inability to let go compounded the problem. In her past, Jennifer’s attempts to remain clean and sober were driven by a commitment to her children rather than to herself which weakened her overall fortitude; this time, things were going to be different.

Today Jennifer explains the difference between previous attempts and her present situation in that she is making the decision to live sober for her children, but primarily for herself. She is now at a positive period of transition where she is opening up to Mental Health therapeutic processes that have allowed her to confront her history of abuse and begin to reconcile that part of her past. Jennifer’s oldest children, son Isaiah 9, and daughter Jasmine 7, are currently in foster care with friends that support her recovery. They have been accommodating and compassionate, allowing visits whenever possible and offering encouragement along the way. Jennifer’s youngest son, Nathan who is 4, is presently living with his father, however, Jennifer has profound hope that with time she will have the opportunity for reunification with her little boy. While she was in residential treatment at Willamette Family, Jennifer was able to have her son Nathan with her at the facility, providing a sense of hopefulness for this process.

Although children often exhibit behaviors that can be challenging during this difficult time, as Jennifer experienced with her eldest son, with the assistance of Willamette Family and its related programs such as the Child Development Center, parents are able to understand and support their children’s emotional needs. Jennifer has expressed gratitude for the many skills she has gained as a direct result of these programs. She has gained useful strategies that she uses regularly when parenting her children.

With graduation from Willamette Family on the horizon, and an appointment to transition into community college, Jennifer is thankful for the opportunity to continue to change her life permanently. She aspires to help victims and survivors of abuse, with an ultimate goal of working with children who are products of such violence. In the future, Jennifer plans to maintain her sobriety so that after two years she can return to Willamette Family and serve the community in some capacity. When she reflects, Jennifer realizes that the mistakes she made have made her stronger making her story a compelling one. She recognizes the importance of doing “the next right thing” and continues to focus on making daily improvements. Jennifer’s message is one of choice, change, and commitment to a better life.