PRINCETON, WV (WVNS)– Recovery is never a linear journey. Every story is different, and every individual overcomes different hurdles in order to come out the other end.

Southern Highlands Community Mental Health Center offers life-saving services and resources to the community. For many of the staff, their journey began just like the people they now try to help.

“My recovery journey started with a little help from the court system, it started when my father passed away and I started using to cope with that,” said Brandon Lafferty, an administrative director at Southern Highlands.

Katie Slaughter, who is an assistant director of the QRT lead program, said she also got arrested and almost lost her daughter at the start of her journey. Both David Delida, the director of QLA, and Brandi Farmer, an assistant director, share similar stories of corrections and struggles with addiction.

For each person, they reached a point where they felt alone and without hope.

Delida shared, “It’s very hard to transition from living a life of solitude and being alone and really being beat down, to trying to do the right thing.”

They all said Southern Highlands was crucial in turning their lives around.

“It’s scary at first. You’ve been pushed down and knocked down for so long that you really just don’t know that there is hope, you don’t know that there can be a better life, and now like I said it just blows my mind. It completely blows my mind that I can even have a job, that I’m involved with my family, that I have a healthy, happy marriage, and that I work in the same place I got sober- that’s the coolest thing ever.”

Brandi Farmer, Assistant Director, Southern Highlands

Now, they focus on changing lives for others. Slaughter said they offer personalized recovery plans and programs that are best suited to each person.

“Everybody’s recovery is different,” said Slaughter. “Some people can go through it like I did with nothing, others have to have a little help with medicated-assisted treatment, some need in-patient treatment, and then others want to use 12-step.”

In the end, all four staff members want others to know that there is always help, and there is always, always hope.

“Recovery is possible. To me, back in the day, I always told myself that I’m an addict, I’m always going to be an addict, and there was nothing that was going to change,” said Slaughter. “Once I seen that, it helped me realize recovery is possible and everybody needs to know that.”

Farmer added, “I just want them to know to never give up on people who are struggling because sometimes it does take five and ten times before somebody actually gets it, but it’s obviously real and it happens. That’s just what I want people to know. Don’t give up on them, don’t stigmatize them, don’t make them feel like they can’t- because they can.”