My Story: Andi Petley

In January 2005, I never would have thought of myself as an “overcomer.” My children had been removed from my home and were placed in foster care. I was admitted into inpatient treatment for meth abuse. The 15 years of drug abuse had taken their toll. I’d lost everything I cared about. I absolutely loved my kids, and I was determined to do whatever it took to get them back where they belonged.

As I participated in the treatment program, domestic violence classes, and parenting workshops and I began taking on more and more responsibilities, my perception began to change. I started to get that glimmer of hope that I could really do it. I could make the necessary changes to my life and overcome this addiction and put my family back together. This is when I discovered the philosophy that guides me to this day: “Do it afraid.”

After completing three months of inpatient treatment, I went through nine months of outpatient treatment, and I regained custody of my kids. My classes and supports taught me to be a better mother. I was determined to make sure I didn’t lose custody again.

As I was putting my life back together, I became involved with Oregon’s Self Sufficiency Jobs Program and eventually found my way to the Supported Work Program at Goodwill Industries of Lane and South Coast Counties.

Although I was working in the production center at the Seneca store and doing a good job, I knew I couldn’t make a living without real work skills or history. I didn’t know what to do. I started to pray for direction when my employment specialist Dyana suggested that I try skills training. I’d never considered myself in that role, and I was afraid to try it. But I trusted Dyana and decided to do it on a trial basis. “Do it afraid,” the mantra that brought me through recovery was put to use one more time.

I realized that I really liked working with the referred employees and that I was good as a skills trainer. Sometimes I’d wonder if I was really doing a good job and thinking that any day I’d be given the “I’m sorry it’s not working out” speech from my supervisor. But it never came. My efforts were rewarded when I was offered a full time job.

In September, 2011, I was promoted to wage and hour technician. I am grateful to the staff and management at Goodwill who encouraged me and made me think I could do anything. And confidence has spilled over into the rest of my life. I am a leader and speaker in both my Christian 12-step program and in domestic violence support groups. I believe in reaching out and giving back to those who helped me so much in my recovery and assisted me in my success.

I plan to return to school to work toward a human services degree, to become a case manager for people with developmental disabilities and to be that voice for those who have no voice of their own. I believe that I have a long way to go. But I am always looking forward, always focusing on my next challenge so that I can, “do it afraid.”