WHERE IT ALL BEGAN

Words by Tracy Brumfield

Addiction is a real disease that usually causes the afflicted to act in ways he or she normally would not, and I was no exception. Toward the end of my active opiate addiction, I experienced incarceration, homelessness, and was I panhandling to survive.

So how does someone go from living like that to thriving in our community? It didn't happen overnight. I really wanted to be sober and turn my life around, but I knew I couldn’t do it on my own. So I reached out for help. That’s a small sentence, but a tall order.

 Maj. McGuffey, Former Hamilton County Justice Center Commander (left) and Tracy Brumfield, Founder (right) at the RISE launch event in 2017.

Maj. McGuffey, Former Hamilton County Justice Center Commander (left) and Tracy Brumfield, Founder (right) at the RISE launch event in 2017.

Realizing I was powerless felt very scary and vulnerable. Fortunately, I got lucky. I found a place that understood what I was going through and really helped me to start healing. With intense counseling, substance abuse treatment and a desire to stay sober, I committed myself to recovery.

After working for over two years at recovery, I began to volunteer and mentor women who were incarcerated in the Hamilton County Justice Center. I also began working as an aide at the Center for Addiction Treatment. Between volunteering and working for a recovery center, I built a life of purpose, and that has been the key to keeping my disease in remission.

While volunteering in the jail, I realized many people were not getting support or access to community resources. So, I had the idea to create RISE. I wanted to let people know that they're not alone, and that there is hope and help waiting for them when they get out of jail.

Thankfully, People’s Liberty and the Haile Foundation recognized the importance of providing this kind of information to incarcerated citizens, and now I have a great team helping to make this project a reality.

So welcome to RISE! For the first time anywhere in the United States, we are able to distribute a newspaper directly inside county jails. We publish stories of hope, recovery, and inspiration. We provide community resources that are vetted to make sure they're consistent, and we help reentering citizens plan for a better future.

Please join us in our efforts and share your story, your time, or any other talent you'd like to contribute. It’s our community. Let’s work together to make a difference!

-Tracy