Real Stories are meant to provide our community with real life stories regarding substance use.


Real stories can help educate the community about they WHEN, WHERE, and WHYs of substance use so prevention work can be meaningful for individuals and communities. 

Real Stories are real. Vulnerability is not shameful, and neither is asking for help when you need it. 

Real Stories are about people struggling with substance use, working through recovery, and those impacted by loved ones who struggle with substance use and are working through recovery. Substance use and addiction go beyond the individual - it changes a community. 

Every Real Story is powerful. Many find sharing their story to be healing. If you're interested in sharing your story to help others, reach out to let us know

Jenna & Makayla

Substance use disorder shaped the lives of Jenna and Makayla. Even though they do not struggle with addiction themselves. 

Jenna went to school to become a substance abuse counselor and began volunteering with the Winnebago County Drug & Alcohol Coalition's Prevention team because sharing her story and helping others was helping her heal at the same time.

Makayla went to live with Jenna at the age of 13 and still struggles with anxiety after living in a household with substance abuse. She has found her voice through focusing on the positive, doing what she loves, and volunteering to help others throughout the community.

Andrew Edwards

Andrew felt out of place and uncomfortable with himself from an early age. He started drinking alcohol and using drugs when he was just 12 years old, feeling like it helped him 'fit in' and be comfortable with himself. Before he knew it, he was a high school student dependent on opioids and losing control of his addiction and his life. 

Andrew believes if he would have had a connection to addiction resources or the recovery world throughout those years, where he was trying to stop on his own, he could have been successful in recovery sooner.