INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Rachel Washington, 41, has spent years battling drug and alcohol addiction, fighting for custody of her daughter and putting her college education on hold.
She now pays it forward by providing treatment and support to other local women and mothers dealing with drug addiction.
Washington is the executive director of Landmark Recovery in Carmel, but she walked a dark path before landing the job.
She started smoking cigarettes as a teenager in Kentucky and her addiction gradually progressed to stronger substances.
Washington dropped out of college and was in and out of trouble.
She was arrested and lost custody of her teenage daughter Kaylen in 2013.
While in Kentucky, Washington said she checked herself into rehab and started writing a letter to her daughters Kaylen and stepdaughter Daphne once a week.
The mother received custody of Kaylen a few years later and has been sober since October 10, 2013.
She shares advice with other mothers who are considering enrolling in Landmark Recovery.
“You’re not a bad person and you’re not a bad mother; you are a sick mother and there is help for you. This place is there to guide you, to help you, to give you therapy, to understand the science of your addiction. You have the opportunity to be a mom again and to be a very good mom.
Washington now has four associate degrees and has just completed her bachelor’s degree in psychology and earned her master’s degree at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) in social work.
Washington added that she was grateful another Mother’s Day came to support her daughters and stay sober.