At 31 years old, Jade Baldwin says she’s a work in progress and there have been years of shame leading up to the person she is today.
In 2015, Baldwin hit rock bottom. She was charged with DUI, assault and three counts of possession — eventually leading her to her breaking point. After several stints at the Daviess County Detention Center, Baldwin now openly shares her story.
“My own mom declined coming to get me from jail,” Baldwin said. “She said I was going to have to learn at some point. I knew I had to do something different but I didn’t know what the journey was going to look like.”
Baldwin’s childhood was troubling. She struggled with being the child of divorced parents, codependency, being bullied, promiscuity and — eventually addiction. At age 18 she started smoking marijuana.
“I just wanted to fit in with friends and that’s how it began,” Baldwin admitted, adding that over the years she has used marijuana, prescription medication and alcohol.
That all began to change when she received court-ordered community service and was connected with Owensboro Christian Church (OCC). She volunteered in their rec center, cleaning the building, gym and restroom facilities. Then Baldwin was referred to Celebrate Recovery, a Christ-centered recovery program held at OCC.
“[Recovery] is the hardest thing I’ve ever done,” Baldwin admitted. “I didn’t have money for other rehab options or a babysitter for my kids. Although I didn’t grow up believing in God, I started going there to Celebrate Recovery and found out you cannot kick addiction by yourself, but through God anything is possible.”
Baldwin said, she now has strong women in her life that serve as positive role models.
“For the first time I have women friends. Godly mentors that hold me accountable,” Baldwin said. “That’s a must. I love it. It’s just like family.”
But her journey leading to recovery was oftentimes filled with feelings of shame — a feeling she said can often discourage others from seeking support.
“I think a lot of people don’t know there are a lot of places for help,” Baldwin said. “There are places you can go. There is help out there.”
Baldwin has now been sober of alcohol for two years and sober of drugs for over three years. She and her husband now host the recovery meeting Made Over Through Him (MOTH) at Mount Calvary Baptist Church on Monday nights at 7 p.m. and are also both leaders at Celebrate Recovery on Thursday nights at 6 p.m.
“There are so many people that show compassion,” Baldwin said. “Don’t be afraid to talk to someone. I found that support at Celebrate Recovery and realized everyone there has done something. Everyone just understands each other. We’ve been there.”
Baldwin even attributes her strengthened relationship with her own children to the changes she has experienced through the recovery process.
“I went from being on autopilot and checked out to being present in the moment,” Baldwin said. “I feel like this person is who I should have been then but I didn’t know how to be.”
Baldwin said that recovery for addiction is an ongoing process.
“It’s not just a one-time commitment. You have to wake up every single morning and decide on recovery again and again,” Baldwin said. “When you begin in recovery you have to let go of your past. Your past people, places and things. You have to choose every day to live in recovery, in your new life. You cannot get pulled back into what once was.”