by Karl Nelson II, Intern Media (3 Min Read)
Baltimore native Carressa Christian is living proof that one person’s pain can be another person’s healing.
“A lot of addicts think they’re alone, and by her sharing her story made me know that I wasn’t alone,” Cassandra White, a client of Carressa’s, told me the day that my videographer and I shot this short story.
Carressa entered the Chrysalis House in Crownsville, MD in 2001. At the time, she was struggling with her addiction to crack cocaine and heroin — an addiction that began to develop when she returned home to the McCulloh Homes Projects after having been in the U.S. Air Force.
Carressa’s drug addiction brought pain upon not only her life, but the lives of those around her — her parents, daughter, extended family and friends, and others. Drugs kept Carressa from being fully present in her daughter’s life, at one point. Drugs led her down a dark path of drug trafficking and arrests. Drugs prevented Carressa from being able to attend her father’s funeral.
“Our relationship came a long way,” Kierra Christian, Carressa’s daughter, told me regarding her relationship with her mother, a relationship that is still in the healing phase today. “We have our ups and our downs. Some days I don’t want to be around her. I get angry with her. Then, some days she’s my best friend, and I couldn’t imagine life without her.”
It took years for the healing process to begin for Carressa and those that loved her dearly, but the important thing to note is the fact that the healing process did eventually start.
When Carressa entered the Chrysalis House, she expected her time there to be temporary, not knowing she’d be there for several years to come. At the time, she had no idea that her battle with drugs would become a living testimony for the many women who would later enter the Chrysalis House as well.
The day that I sat down with Carressa’s friends and clients is the day that I learned just how much Carressa’s testimony means to the lives of other women. When Carressa decided to own up to the pain she caused many people and made it her mission to help other women struggling with addiction, that’s when her story went from pain to healing.
Not only has Carressa experienced healing in her life and relationships, but her mother, daughter, friends, and now clients have been able to undergo healing in their lives because of Carressa’s testimony.
Carressa’s company Streets 2 Executive Suites (S2ES) is a perfect representation of her testimony. For several years, Carressa was living for what only the streets could offer her. However, for nearly two decades now, she has been sober and changing lives one day at a time.
“S2ES came about because my vision is to be a motivational speaker,” Carressa told me in a sit-down interview. “I lived the streets and now I’m up in the executive suites. It describes me as a whole.”
Today, Carressa is the Program Director and Director of Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) and Supportive Housing at the Chrysalis House.
She’s also a certified Addictions Counselor, which means she’s now able to help other women fight addiction long term.
As you watch this Intern Media-produced short story about Carressa’s life, you’re going to hear from a lot of women who have dealt with a great deal of heartache due to drugs. I ask you this, as I always do when covering a person’s journey, choose to be inspired. | KMN.
You truly are a living testimony. You’ve thanked me several times for highlighting your story on my platform, but I want to publicly thank you for being courageous enough to own up to the pain you caused yourself and others. The beautiful thing is you didn’t allow that pain to be the ending to your story. The life you’re living today isn’t even recognizable to the old Carressa, and I’m proud of you for that. You’ve inspired me. You’ve inspired those around you. I guarantee you that your story is going to inspire my audience as well. Congratulations on your victory, Carressa. You’re special.
Karl Nelson II, CEO/Founder of Intern Media