Portraits of Recovery in Alaska

By Robert DeBerry –

The Salvation Army Alaska Division is highlighting the stories of real people battling addiction in the state. The individuals featured are in recovery at The Salvation Army Clitheroe Program, both in the Alaska Department of Corrections and the women’s residential treatment facility in Anchorage. These individuals are just like you—mothers, fathers, sons and daughters—sharing their stories as part of their recovery and to show others there is hope.

“My dad passed away when I was here in the hole in 2016. I was ready to write off that I was going to be in jail. I just didn’t care anymore. But when he passed away it kind of gave me a newfound respect on life and that things do change out there still. You tend to block that out in here. Then I had to really start thinking about things, and thinking I have been really selfish for my son that is 14. I feel like it has helped me in the things I needed to change. To keep my sobriety I need to keep checking myself.” – Catherine Fredrick, Hiland Mountain Correctional Facility

“Addicts need to be defeated in order to feel ready. I felt defeated. I am becoming a good prisoner and that is sad. I want to be a good society citizen. I want to be your neighbor and not with a number attached to me. I want to pay taxes and complain about it. I want to mow the yard. The little things.” – (Left) Christoper Pedzewick, Goose Creek Correctional Facility

“I was at my rock bottom. I was at my lowest point in life. My perspective was very skewed. I was tired of letting people down, letting myself down. I am struggling from rock bottom. I am struggling every day.” – (Right) Lloyd Davis, Goose Creek Correctional Facility

“The reason I started doing drugs was to escape emotion. Escape life in general. I thought it was a sense of freedom when really it is your own personal prison. The hardest part of treatment and everything of that nature has to be the realization that I did mess up, but I can change it. That I can actually make my own tomorrow. Life is literally what you make of it. What you put into life is what you’re going to get out of it.” – Ingrid Whitaker, Clitheroe Women’s Residential Center

“Instead of feeling alone and having the cards stacked against me I know there are other people out there that are willing to help me if I am willing to help myself.” – Desiree Fuller, Hiland Mountain Correctional Facility

“I spent most of my life being mad about everything that happened to me and feeling like I had no control over it. But the one thing I did have control over, myself, I totally mismanaged. When I realized that all I am responsible for is taking care of myself and making sure those expectations I had of everyone else, that there was no way they were going to achieve, that if I tried to hold myself to those same standards that I expected everybody else to comply to then I would end up being a better person.” – Chris Davis, Goose Creek Correctional Facility

“I’ve been clean and sober for five and a half months. I have been a drug addict most of my life. My drug of choice was crack cocaine. I think this time around I am doing it because I want to do it. I am not doing it to fake it. I made a promise to my kids. The hardest part of the recovery has been the trusting because I have been hurt and abused so much in my life.” – Shirley Rawlins, Clitheroe Women’s Residential Center

“I knew I needed something. I was scared. I am still scared. I want something more for my life. Thank God I have never overdosed. I don’t want to go there. I knew something had to change.” – Elizabeth Graves, Hiland Mountain Correctional Facility

“It is hard to find sober people anymore because I have been around that my whole life. A lot of people I know and look up to unfortunately get high. My biggest thing is my family, but they are all drug addicts. It sucks. That’s the main reason I am a drug addict. I am not blaming it on them. I just grew up in it.” – Vinnie, Goose Creek Correctional Facility

“I got to that point of feeling down and out and I was walking the streets and I threw my hands up with a bottle of R&R in my hands and said I am through, and that day I went to jail. I was so thankful for God to send me to jail, give me a chance at recovery. A chance of clarity. I was thinking in my head to make my next move my best move. At that point every chance I had to get high I said no.” – Elena Harper, Clitheroe Women’s Residential Center

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