Kim Faulds, Hero Award nominee is congratulated by Kevin Moore, the Director of the Department of Mental Health and Addiction for the State of Indiana
Kimberly is a Hamilton Center (HCI) consumer whose success story has been openly shared by her in many settings. Even before her court-appointed addiction therapy concluded, Kimberly was the only member in her group to raise her hand when asked about staying sober, based on the startling statistic that only one in 12 will succeed. The challenge was presented, and she became determined to beat the odds.
At five months sobriety, having completed all of the court’s requirements, a spark was ignited for Kimberly during her exit interview when her counselor gave her an ‘excellent’ prognosis and invited her to return in seven months to share her story with others in the outpatient groups.
Grateful for the opportunity to have a tangible goal, Kimberly stated, “Just the fact that someone believed in me made me want to succeed.”
“I started to look at sobriety as something more than just getting out of trouble. I started to see it as having real, lasting purpose.” She said.
Sure enough, Kimberly returned to the group at one year of sobriety with the incredible feeling of accomplishment. She shared her story for the first time.
At over three years of sobriety today, she has lost count of how many times she has spoken of her journey. The opportunities presented include a variety of venues: Hamilton Center’s addiction groups in both Vigo and Clay counties; to Indiana State University Psychology Department doctorate students; Hamilton Center Foundation board members; and most recently, she was featured in a video developed by the Hamilton Center Foundation. The video was debuted on October 27, 2015 to over 500 people at the Hamilton Center annual awards banquet that included the pubic launch of the Foundation. The video can be viewed at www.hamiltoncenterfoundation.org under the tab, Lives Changed.
She is actively involved in the HCI Trauma Informed Care (TIC) Consumer Committee in Vigo County and has served as chairperson. Through this organization, Kim advocates for consumer driven care and promotes TIC both at HCI and in the surrounding community. Kim openly shares her story as a behavioral health consumer and thoughtfully discusses the concepts of what hurts and what helps within the mental health system. Her courage, input and participation has been instrumental as HCI has transformed into a trauma-informed and client centered organization. Kim provides a voice for consumers and promotes consumer driven care in her community combating stigma and helping consumers understand that they are not alone in their struggles.
In addition, Kim has twice participated in a creative writing contest sponsored by HCI depicting her feelings of stigma and Lighting the Way for others. She provides information to local organizations about HCI, TIC and her recovery. She is active in membership and sponsorship in her local recovery community. Her outreach has extended beyond these structured organizations to friends and family members who know they will get honest answers to their questions, as well as a profound sense of caring from her.
“My sobriety is the most important thing in my life. There is my faith, my family and my career; but I would not have any of those things without my sobriety. I know this from experience,” she relates with a grateful, sincere heart.
“The paradox, ‘in order to keep it, you have to give it away’ is true. I think that verbalizing my experiences, and then hearing the words in my own ears, is the best reminder of where I have been, what happened, and where I am now. I try to set realistic goals to avoid discouragement, and I try to keep my expectations of others to a minimum.” She said.
What’s next for Kimberly? Her latest goal is to write a book. “It will potentially be 365 short, inspirational stories based on truths I have acquired on my journey to a better life, designed for daily consumption.” She intends to self-publish the book and had no expectation or goal of make money from it. “I have found self-expression to be profoundly instrumental in the healing process. My practices of secrecy, deception and self-doubt are long gone. Today, I am free to be me.”