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Our 57th spotlight in the FACES OF HOPE: WE DO RECOVER series will focus on Franci Middleton’s story, Long term Discovery.

 

  

If someone asked me if I would go back and be a kid again the answer is NO WAY! Childhood was a horrible nightmare for me. I loved my sisters, and that part is such a blessing, but it seemed I was always in trouble for something, including some things that couldn’t be helped. I remember being in the first grade stealing things from my teacher’s desk. I will never understand why I did those things. I remember my neighbor, a young male, starting to molest me at probably five years old. I was unlike most I hear speak about it today, I had feelings for him. I thought in my messed-up mind he was showing me love. I guess that’s why once I met addiction prostitution came easier for me than I thought it should.

As a young teen I was seeking love in all the wrong places and stealing to provide for myself and others. I got good at it and was very proud of the fact I could go in a store and come out with a whole season of clothes, makeup and whatever else I wanted or needed. I started drinking, smoking pot, huffing gas, and getting high on whatever I could. I started then with self mutilation, cutting my hair, shaving my head, and getting into trouble with the court systems, My first incarceration came at 14 years old for assaulting my mother. One of my biggest regrets!

I ended up getting pregnant at 16 years old. I thought he would change my life forever! The love I felt for that child in my mind was my saving grace! I thought everything would change for the better, and that I would be a wonderful mother, PTA and all. Sadly, that wasn’t the case. I lost my son to my mother before his first birthday. This was the moment I felt in my heart my life was over!

I went on seeking love anywhere I could, hoping that if I gave all of myself to whomever I was with that night, he may save me, and I was willing to settle.

I was homeless, sleeping on any couch I could, gas station bathrooms, and buses. I felt I owed a debt so I always gave myself up to whoever would keep me for a night in hopes that he was my savior. My body was payment, mind you this was before my addiction to opioids. I walked the streets seeking a party or anything to escape my reality.

I went on many drug induced journeys with many different people and two more amazing children. I was in and out of jail for PI (Public Intoxication), shoplifting, unpaid fines, and child support. My name is carved in almost every cell in that jail house. I would sit and sing day in and day out. I will never forget the night that was the first time I felt the spirit of the LORD. It was crazy how He graced that cell that night. I began to have dreams of being on a horse with a sword, and at the time I had no idea what it meant but I do today. My criminal endeavors continued for years.

In 2007 I got a knock on my door, it was an old friend wanting to hang out. She asked me if I would ride with her to pick up some nerve pills, and I accepted her invitation. Little did I know my life would forever change that day. We wrecked going almost 70mph and hit a tree on my side of the car. All week I had a feeling that I was going to die and I had not slept but maybe 3 hours all week with a feeling of dread. I remember the last words that came from my lips before impact were “Lord, forgive me for my sins!” That day I survived, but it crushed all the bones on the right side of my body. This was the day I met opioids.

I learned to walk again, and still today live with severe pain. I remember sitting in my room feeling my body ache and being so sick I could hardly hold my head up. I knew that day that I was an addict. I began doing anything and everything to get my dope. I met the needle and in my mind I had found my GOD. I will never forget being so sick that I started speaking to the devil to bring me dope or I was going to turn my life over to GOD. It would be a matter of minutes and the dope man would be at my door!

I ended up in the life and all that goes with it. I finally ended up with trafficking charges where I, was a long process, accepted into drug court. I met my husband through it all and met a man people called Pastor Kyle. He told me I could live a life of joy and that all the things I had done in my life could be used to help people. He told me that Jesus loved me right where I was. He said God had a plan for my life and that he wanted to use me in a mighty way. I surrendered my life over to Jesus! I started going to Church and this was a place like no other I had ever been. They loved me and accepted me. I had always felt condemned in other places. I knew without a doubt I was on the path to my destiny.

I relapsed after 4 years in recovery and met heroin. By the grace of God I made it back after two years of pure hell! Today I am almost 3 years into recovery, but I call it Discovery because things that are happening to me today are all new to me.

I have 3 BEAUTIFUL grandchildren and I’m on the board of Behavioral Health in Frankfort KY. I am also on the board for KPFC, and the director of an amazing faith based ministry called Rewired. God used my Pastor, husband, and many others to pull me out of the pits of destruction. I learned to keep my mouth shut and my ears open to lock into recovery and plug into GOD.

My aha moment

The moment I realized that GOD would not relent! He kept calling me back to Him and He used every necessary means to wake me up. The last time was February 10th, 2015. I sat on my bed and said, “Okay, LORD.” I called Pastor Kyle and said, “I’m ready.” He immediately said, “Let’s get you help.”

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Feelings and emotions in active addiction:

Nothing mattered anymore. I felt I could never change. I was trapped in the clutches of the devil. I tried to commit suicide many times. I had given up.

I was desperate for change but was full of fear.

The driving force that keeps me going when times get tough.

I know that no matter what, GOD has my back. I have such a great support system and I will pick up the phone. I always keep in my mind that I do not have another recovery in me, and if I hang on this too shall pass. Pray, worship, and read my Bible!

Advice for the addict still struggling.

If you are hopeless let us who are doing this thang be your hope. I am the mountain that GOD moved. I am living proof that you can live a life free from having to have a drink or a drug to function. You can be washed clean from all things in your past, He did it for me and many others; He will do it for you. Stop holding onto something that is dead! Find who you are, who you are truly meant to be!

What obstacles or road blocks have you faced in your recovery?

Court stuff mostly, and GOD moved on all of it! I also kept stepping back into who I was and it held me back a lot. I finally learned that I am a new creature in CHRIST and every morning remind myself of that.

What is something you want people who never struggled with addiction to know.

The stigma of addiction is that we never change and that its’s a choice. I was 5 years old stealing even though my mother brought me up in church. It’s not about who raised you or what kind of life you have lived, it’s about finding something that gives temporary solution to feelings and emotions that you cannot cope with.

Addiction can be overcome! Everyone can be free from its clutches but it was not easy, and no, we cannot just quit one day and that’s it.

What advice do you have for family members of a person in addiction?

I know we have put you through Hell, I am so sorry for that. Know that they can change and can be free, get connected with a Family support group to learn what you can do for them and you. You need support as much as they we do.

Closing Thoughts

I pray that anyone reading this begin to feel the want and willingness to change!

Christ came to give life abundantly and I declare life over you! YOU can be FREE from addiction! Long term help is out here. Get connected today! Don’t put it off. Now is the time to become who you are meant to be. God will restore you and your family! You can be a good Mother/Father/ to your children, you don’t have to keep living in the hell of addiction. Make that call!

If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, please call Addiction Recovery Care at 606.638.0938 or visit them on the web at www.arccenters.com.

 

There is hope. There is help.

October 19, 2017

Fort Gay Mayor Joetta Hatfield, along with the 'A New Day in Fort Gay' committee including 'Coalfield Development' played an important role in the vote held on October 16, 2017, at Independence Hall in Wheeling, W.Va.  to have the Old Fort Gay High School nominated on the state level and declared an official Historical Site.

The old Fort Gay High School has been  Declared a state Historical Site.The old Fort Gay High School has been Declared a state Historical Site.

Letters of support for the mayor and the nomination for the school to be declared and added to the historical site registry was written by Delegate Robert Thompson and Congressman Evan Jenkins.

Five groups make up the 'New Day in Fort Gay' committee  including Town of Fort Gay, Coalfield Development, Wayne Co Housing Authority, Neighborhood Association, and Wayne Co Community Service Org. Hatfield and a representative of Coalfield Development were present when the vote took place in Wheeling, and the results were all 'Yes' - none opposed.

In the statement from the Mayor she said;

Ft. Gay mayor Joetta Hatfield received the official letter in SeptemberFt. Gay mayor Joetta Hatfield received the official letter in September“What a great day in Wheeling, W.va. FGHS received the nomination from the WV Archives and History Commission to be placed on the National Register of Historic Places. This being on the state level for the nomination and next will be on the federal level.  The vote on the federal level will be soon. These things take time but I’m committed to my town.”

 

Story and Pictures by
Tammy S. Napier

October 18, 2017

LOUISA, Ky.,  –  Lawrence County Fiscal Court on Wednesday received $19,836 from Kentucky Power to help fund a feasibility study for a sewer expansion project.

Kentucky Power External Affairs Manager Jacob Colley, right, presents Lawrence County Executive Judge John Osborne and Economic Development Coordinator Catrina Vargo with a grant for $19,836. The grant will fund a feasibility study for a sewer project.  Kentucky Power External Affairs Manager Jacob Colley, right, presents Lawrence County Executive Judge John Osborne and Economic Development Coordinator Catrina Vargo with a grant for $19,836. The grant will fund a feasibility study for a sewer project.



The grant is part of the Kentucky Power Economic Development Growth Grants (K-PEGG) program. K-PEGG grants are funded through the Kentucky Economic Development Surcharge. For every 15 cents collected monthly from customers, company stockholders match customer contributions dollar for dollar to generate more than $600,000 annually for investment at the local and regional levels.

Information is posted at kentuckypower.com/development/. Kentucky Power, based in Ashland, Kentucky, provides electric service to about 168,000 customers in eastern Kentucky counties. The program is available in all 20 counties served by Kentucky Power.

“Our K-PEGG grants support our communities as Kentucky Power leads the charge to revitalize eastern Kentucky through economic development,” said Kentucky Power President Matt Satterwhite. “We welcome the opportunity to work with local, state and regional leaders on this and future projects and will continue working to bring investment and jobs to eastern Kentucky.”

In its application, Lawrence County Fiscal Court sought funding for a feasibility study for a sewer line extension from the city of Louisa’s existing sewer plant to approximately 8 miles north of Louisa on U.S. Route 23. The sewer line extension would serve a proposed industrial park.

“Lawrence County is in desperate need of jobs with high-end wages to replace jobs lost due to the declining coal industry and to reduce the number of people who are moving out of the area for work. This industrial park is sure to attract a major company, and jobs with substantial salaries and benefits,” according to the application.

“We understand the need and the importance of an industrial park in Lawrence County,” said Lawrence County Judge Executive John Osborne. “We want to assist by providing a feasibility study for the project but do not have sufficient funds at this time.”

The grant allows Lawrence County to pay for a feasibility study to be conducted by Summit Engineering as well as legal advertisements. The proposed 85-acre site includes the location of the former Big Sandy Unit 2 cooling tower, which was demolished in 2016 after it was closed.

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Kentucky Power, based in Ashland, provides electric service to about 168,000 customers in 20 eastern Kentucky counties, including Boyd, Breathitt, Carter, Clay, Elliott, Floyd, Greenup, Johnson, Knott, Lawrence, Leslie, Letcher, Lewis, Magoffin, Martin, Morgan, Owsley, Perry, Pike and Rowan counties. Kentucky Power is an operating company in the American Electric Power system, one of the largest electric utilities in the U.S. with nearly 5.4 million customers in 11 states.