Chelsey and her mother Judith (Judy) Cain visited our class last Tuesday prepared to discuss their personal journeys through the world of drug addiction and recovery

Cain, like many others who have experienced an opiate addiction, started out with prescription painkillers but when that became too expensive to sustain, switched to heroin. However, because her tolerance for heroin increased so quickly, that also became difficult to keep up. Chelsey virtually survived by moving into her mother’s basement.

“I just didn’t pay attention to it, ” remarked Judith (Judy) Cain

For months, friends and family had been telling Judy that her daughter, Chelsey had been using drugs and she never listened. To her, it wasn’t even a possibility let alone an ongoing occurrence. Eventually, after ignoring the issue for so long, Judy was forced to kick her daughter out of the house. However, Chelsey did not resist. For Chelsey, it was something that had to be done. Though she still needed support, she recognizes the financial toll she was putting on her family and willingly removed herself from her mother’s household.

Chelsey found she had hit rock bottom after being arrested for stealing guns she had planned to resell for drug money. She was sentenced to 18 months in prison where she found that she finally had an opportunity to reflect on her actions and change her life for the better. Cain goes as far as to say that her imprisonment saved her life and gave her the slap in the face she needed to feel the consequences of her actions.

Though it took a while for Chelsey to get a job position following her release from prison she eventually did get one and enrolled in community college after that. Currently, she is pursuing a Ph.D. in Temple’s Criminal Justice program.