The 2020-2021 RCA Hope for Addiction Scholarship winner is Danielle Caldwell, from Hillsboro, Oregon. Danielle attends Purdue Global University and is majoring in Psychology with a focus on Addiction Studies. She is also taking classes to obtain licensure as a certified drug and alcohol counselor and hopes to earn a doctorate degree in clinical psychology when she enters graduate school.
Danielle battled addiction for decades and is now over five years into her recovery. In her essay, she compared addiction to the true story of a tiger named Mohini that lived in the Washington D.C. Zoo and paced all day long in his 12x 12 cage. Even when given an enlarged, improved habitat, Mohini continued his 12 x 12 pacing pattern for the rest of his life. "The allegory of Mohini the White Tiger resonates with me as the demonstration of a life in active addiction. Like Mohini, the endless pacing, or seeking of a substance becomes a conditioned behavior for the addict. And like Mohini, the addict, when faced with freedom, will continue to pace the small space that confines them. The addict will continue to subconsciously imprison themselves until they are physically imprisoned, institutionalized or, sadly, until their death. Their deaths are made sadder still because freedom was always a choice. But the urge to stay confined to the pain they knew, or the cage, is greater."
Click here to read Danielle's complete scholarship essay and see a short video.
Pamela is pursuing an associate's degree in Behavioral Health Support from Ozarks Technical Community College. She plans a career as a drug and alcohol counselor. "…I was addicted to almost every substance you could name. I am living my life now so much for the better and I plan to do something powerful in my future with the strength and knowledge I have gained from my failures and now my accomplishments."
Pamela struggled with substance use disorder starting as a teenager tracing her low self-esteem to trauma that struck her life as a young child and then again, many times after "… as it does for most addicts." Today, Pamela is over two years into her recovery journey and is thriving in college.
"After overdosing twice, losing my children, being in countless abusive relationships, and experiencing chronic homelessness, I turned for help. I cannot tell you the day or the hour I got clean like some can. I only know that I got clean approximately two years ago after hitting rock bottom and seeking treatment…"
Click here to read Pamela's complete scholarship essay and see a short video.
"We are so inspired by Danielle and Pamela and all of the RCA scholarship applicants who shared their stories of recovery with us and their unique plans to help others overcome addiction using their education. Danielle and Pamela overcame some of the most difficult obstacles that can be experienced in life. Yet they are optimistic, dedicated, and focused on using what they learned in service to others in the battle against substance use disorder. We need these talented women as we work to end the nationwide addiction epidemic and RCA is thrilled to be able to assist them," said Terri C. Malenfant, Director of Public Relations for RCA.
About Recovery Centers of America Recovery Centers of America (1-800-Recovery) is based in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania and provides evidence-based addiction care at 10 inpatient treatment centers, 8 outpatient facilities, and 5 opioid treatment programs spanning Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Indiana, and Chicagoland. Four RCA substance use disorder treatment facilities were recently named as 2020 best U.S. treatment facilities that focus on addiction by a leading national statistics firm and media outlet. RCA has also pioneered a successful comprehensive telehealth treatment program to expand services to patients. For media interviews, contact Terri Malenfant at [email protected].