Success Story: Missy Hill
Missy grew up in a Christian home with her mother as a local minister. When she left home to go to college, she found herself in a very curious world. It was a culture shock, really, and she made all the wrong decisions and did all the wrong things—and many do.
Her world fell apart when one night at a party she was sexually assaulted. Missy felt like no one would believe her if she reported the crime, so she coped as best she could.
Her life quickly became more than she could bear. Missy dropped out of college, returned home, and slowly began medicating for the mental trauma. She became a drug addict. For the next fifteen years. Living was about feeding the addiction. “One thing you’ve got to understand is that addiction is always angry,” she shared, so her life became consumed.
A serious car wreck became Missy’s next terrible event as she sustained a traumatic brain injury. The doctors told her family that she would never live a “normal life” again. But Missy’s mother never stopped praying for her; she never lost faith that Missy could be whole and well. “All the horror stories are true” about what happens to a person living in addiction, Missy shared, “and they are much worse than you can imagine.”
Missy miraculously recovered, and day after day, finding ways to feed her addiction exhausted her to the stubborn determination to change. Missy was only a ghost of her former self. She focused her mind on the word “accountability” and moved into her mother’s house to seclude and fight for sobriety. Physical withdrawal and suffering happened. All the while, Missy’s mother prayed over her body daily and nursed her to health.
An old friend came back into Missy’s life who was also a recovering addict. She remembered the younger version of him, and she was hopeful they could have a great future. She fell in love.
Her life became dark again as she sustained daily mental and physical abuse. “At this point in my life, I gained empathy for abused women because I became an abused woman.”
The physical fights escalated until one day, Missy’s fighting back literally put her in the position to end his life. With her hands wrapped around his neck and her fingers pressing harder and harder, she watched his lips turn increasingly blue. And then bluer.
Something stopped her. In that second of breath, she heard a voice, certainly not her own, say, “No, this is not you. This is not who you are. You will not kill.”
Missy instantly jumped away from him and allowed air to reenter his body. She bolted out of the house and never returned. She had fought this man for three years and once again found refuge with her mother—who prayed her safety into existence.
This was Missy’s rock bottom.
Her sister moved home from out-of-state. She forced Missy to go to church that very evening. These sisters grew up in the church, as the minister’s kids, and, despite everything, Missy’s faith was still automatic. She couldn’t stay motionless or emotionless for very long. Before the first verse of the first hymn was finished, she was lying prostrate at the altar. Tears and repentance, prayer, and hallelujahs welcomed her back into the fold.
So… Missy began her life again. A strong mountain woman from a praying momma who knew the dark depths of pain, she thanked God for being alive and able to start over.
The nearby hospital offered Missy the opportunity to work as a housekeeper. She was floored they would give her a chance with a known history like hers, but someone saw Missy’s value and the purpose she needed in her life.
Humbled and grateful for a job, she fell in love with serving others. Missy gained purpose, and she was humbled that someone believed she could be more than a “useless addict.”
During a normal workday, Missy walked by a flyer hanging on bulletin board a thousand times a day. The flyer advertised Appalachian Regional Healthcare’s (ARH) WAVE Program (Working While Advancing Vocationally and Educationally), a completely free program with BSCTC to earn nurse aid certification (CNA). Missy wanted to take this next step, but she didn’t feel like she was good enough.
The idea occurred to Missy, “My story is not that different, but I’ve decided I cannot continue to live in shame of my past mistakes.” Her husband, who also works at the hospital, talked her into applying. The WAVE Program accepted Missy, and she graduated with her CNAs. She didn’t just pass her CNA certification; she was at the top of her class.
“My CNA certification is the first thing I’ve ever finished in my adult life, and even when it gets hard, I can’t quit anymore,” Missy explained with strong and wide eyes. She continued, “I’ve not had a lot of times when I’ve been proud of myself… this is one of them.”
These are surreal times for Missy, as she is now a BSCTC CNA graduate. Her passion is patient care—and she has increased her paycheck! “I was not unhappy being a housekeeper, but I want more interaction with people in need. I believe there are a lot of people who could benefit from knowing there is hope. No matter how deep you are in addiction, you are human,” Missy added.
Even though Missy just started work as a CNA with ARH, she now contemplates her next educational goal. Nursing school is definitely in her future! Missy smiled and finished her thought, “anytime you want to change your stars, you can.”
For more information about the CNA program, WAVE, or any other question about education and training, call 606-788-2818 or message BSCTC Workforce Solutions on Facebook. Let’s get the conversation started!