Symbol of hope from depths of addiction

The week before her 22nd birthday, Courtney Allen overdosed three times.

For a decade, she had struggled with poverty, trauma and addictions to alcohol, heroin, Ritalin and cocaine.

“I belonged more to the dead than the living,” she recalls.

On that February 2015 birthday morning, she woke to vague memories of a fight and the police arriving to quiet the disturbance. Courtney panicked and worried about what may have happened to her sons, Wyatt, 8, and Aimin, who was nearly 3. She ran to their room and found them watching TV. Their eyes were wide and their frightened expressions jolted Courtney awake.