It doesn’t matter who we are, we are all going to go through some sort of struggle in life. Some of us may contend with those struggles for years, but eventually, we may be able to overcome them and achieve great things in life.
That is exactly the experience that Ginny Burton had, and you will find her story to be inspiring. Not only did she have a troubled life at a young age, she was a meth addict by the time she was 12 years old and had 17 felony convictions.
Life can be difficult for anyone, and sometimes a person may try to find a way out through drug use. Ginny began experiencing this at the age of 12, when she got addicted to meth. It was a serious situation, but even prior to that, she was smoking marijuana by the time she was six years old. She was introduced to meth by her mother at the age of 12 and was smoking crack at the age of 14.
When Jenny was 17, she attempted suicide for the first time after being raped. She ended up in an abusive marriage and had two children, and then she got addicted to heroin when she was 23.
She said: “I am that person. I have 17 felony convictions. I am the person you used to clutch your bag when I walked by you. I am the person that would randomly attack somebody in public. I was not a savory person. Everybody was a victim, and everybody was prey.”
She also spoke about her life on the street, including how she and a male accomplice would rob drug dealers at gunpoint. She said: “When you’re stuck on the street and you smell like feces and you haven’t showered in forever and you can’t make it into a social service during working hours because you’re too busy trying to feed your addiction, and your addiction is bigger than you… and you’ve compromised your integrity a number of times over and over and over again, and you’re starting to be victimized by the people on the street… you’re hopeless.
“You can’t stand your life. You would rather be dead than alive. I spent most of my addiction wishing that somebody would just blow me away.”
She had a difficult time breaking free from the addiction, even though she knew that she was in a downward spiral. She ended up in prison in 2008 and was there for more than two years.
After getting out of prison, she stayed clean for six months and then had a relapse. In 2012, she was arrested for a final time after stealing a truck and trying to run from the police.
At this point, she was at the end of her rope and begged to be put on a drug diversion court program. She went through the necessary rehabilitation treatment and this time she was able to stay clean.
She then took up social service and eventually, realized she wanted to go to school. She said: “It made me recognize how much time I had wasted in my life. And I also recognized that I was actually good at learning. something I enjoyed.”
She decided to go back to school, studied political science and was in university at the age of 47.
She wrote: “Today I’ve let go of feeling insecure about my age, the lines on my face, my genetics, my failures, and imposter syndrome to recognize that no matter what, if I’m still breathing, I can do anything I set my mind to. Graduating at 48 from the Political Science department at the University of Washington Seattle is a real accomplishment for this former quitter.”
She went on to say: “I think it will be used for everybody else. Maybe I can be some kind of Pied Piper, to help peoprecover their own lives. That’s what I care about. There are some days that I wish I could just slip away here, with a garden, and open up a little cafe. But in reality I know it’s my job to continue to create hope.”