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Before & After: Charlotte’s Story

 Before  POWER

Charlotte was a typical, happy little girl until the age of six, when she was sexually molested by a friend’s grandfather. Sadly, Charlotte didn’t have counseling and kept what she calls the “indescribable pain” inside. “My spirit was broken,” she says.

In her early teens, she discovered alcohol. “It took me outside of myself and made me feel OK,” Charlotte says. She entered rehab for the first time at age 15, but nothing changed. One night at a party, a friend of Charlotte’s got upset with her, drove away drunk, and had an accident in which a person was killed. For years afterward, Charlotte blamed herself. “I stuffed the pain with alcohol and other substances,” she says.

Her substance abuse grew progressively worse over the next 10 years. Charlotte managed to hold down a job – but just barely. Some days she’d get dressed for work but couldn’t make herself go. Finally, at age 23, Charlotte became homeless. On Christmas day, she found herself on the streets of downtown Pittsburgh with nowhere to go. She recalls, “I will never forget the moment when I realized that I was in the midst of a large city that was totally silent and still. I was all alone.”

Her family had not given up on her and put her in touch with a woman who convinced her to enter rehab for the third time. From there, she went to POWER.


Charlotte says POWER changed her life forever. She learned about living life “on life’s terms”.  With POWER’s help, she began to deal with long-repressed feelings. Often the work she needed to do caused her pain but, as she says, “They were growing pains.”

After POWER 

 Today, with 15 years clean and sober, Charlotte is married and has a 10-year-old son. Three days after graduating from POWER she got a job and was soon promoted to the company’s management team, a position she still holds today. She is active in 12-Step programs, her community, and her church. She still loves a song that was popular during her stay at POWER : “Because You Loved Me” by Celine Dion.  Charlotte says, “That song completely describes the way I feel about


As we celebrate 20 years helping women like Charlotte, please consider a donation to help women get from their Before to After. 

Your contribution will support:
The Ready to Leave, Ready to Live Campaign, providing POWER clients with the experiences and skills that will prepare them for living safely in their communities after treatment.


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