by Clarissa Mendiola, Donor Cultivation Coordinator
Janean Reed, GLIDE Health Services Substance Abuse Case Manager, is celebrating her 25thanniversary in recovery this week, an accomplishment beyond her own imagination. “I never thought I would get to 25 years in recovery because I have always focused on living one day at a time.”
When Janean Reed came to San Francisco in 1987, she had no idea she was an addict. “I just thought I was having a good time.” But as her drug addiction progressed, and she became more and more absent from the lives of her two young daughters, a supportive family member had to step in. Janean’s uncle brought her kids to a safe place where he knew they would be welcomed, loved, and supported – GLIDE. In a reflective moment, Janean describes addiction as “a demon that does not want you to have any values.” And while she was out using, GLIDE was taking care of her children.
Folks in recovery sometimes speak of a moment of clarity, a pivotal moment in their addiction that ignites a spiritual awakening. For Janean, that moment occurred the day she asked her mother to loan her twenty dollars. Janean had played the situation out in her mind, “If my mom said yes, great. If she said no, I decided I would rob her. I would physically hurt her and rob her.” When her mother agreed and handed her the money, Janean broke down. “I could not believe I had considered hurting my own mother for my addiction.” This was the start of Janean’s decision to leave her life of drugs behind, and begin a new life in recovery.
Later, when Janean graduated from a month-long recovery program, her mother stood in the audience in support of her rediscovered strength. “When I saw my mother walk through those doors, that was all I needed.” Knowing that she needed more support as she navigated the next phase of her recovery, Janean entered another program and made a promise to herself: if she was able to successfully complete this program, she would come back to GLIDE to give back to the community.
Throughout her program, she attended GLIDE Sunday Celebrations and continued after graduation. Then she began participating in GLIDE’s open mic night (now known as SpeakOut), and when GLIDE began offering recovery circles, she joined those, too. Eventually, Rev. Cecil Williams noticed Janean’s commitment to recovery and to the community and asked her to lead an open mic. The rest is history.
Today, Janean leads GLIDE’s Recovery Circles, offers one on one recovery support services and case management, and is the face of recovery at GLIDE.
As she celebrates this profound milestone, 25 years in recovery, she remains grateful to her GLIDE family, “GLIDE did something for me that can’t be paid in money. GLIDE saved my babies, GLIDE saved my life. If I had not come to GLIDE and received the love that I had been yearning for since I was a little girl, I would not be here today.”