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Louisa-Lawrence Co, KY

In God We Trust - Established 2008


February 8, 2018

I grew up always feeling like I was different, even though to the outside world everything appeared “normal.” What was normal for me was living two different lifestyles. While a good show was portrayed to others looking in, the inside was very disturbing.

My parents divorced when I was two years old. From what I understand he was an alcoholic and was very abusive to my mother. My mother, older brother, sister, and I lived very poorly for a year or so, until my mother married my step dad. Between the two of them working we were able to have all of our needs met. Like my father, my step dad was an alcoholic who not only beat my mother, but us children. They had two more children, as well as a daughter he had from a previous marriage. I can remember many nights being kept awake by their arguing and fighting and calling 911 scared, only for the cops to show up and be told that we had exaggerated and they had just had an argument, then be punished for calling 911. It felt like the police showed up every week at our house. I remember hiding the blood before it could be cleaned up one time so that we would have proof we were telling the truth.

My brother was living with my dad in Ohio and stayed there for several years until he became a teenager. My aunt would help keep me and my older sister a lot while mom worked. My aunt had married a man who around that same time moved in with her. This is when the sexual abuse started. I think I was around four years old. I had two other cousins, one boy and girl, that were the same age as me that also lived in the home due to their parents divorcing and who were being abused as well. What seemed like eternity had passed but I believe was only a year or two. My cousins had come forth about the abuse but they were ignored. That is when I made my stance, sharing that it was true because it was happening to me too. Yet once again I was told no, and the topic ignored. The verbal and physical abuse continued on for years, way up into my preteens. My brother had moved back in with my mom and because he was my protector he seemed to get the grunt of it. My life was one that I hated. Growing up I was raised in church, however I had begun to question God, wondering what I had done so bad that I had to live the life I was in. I welcomed death and tried to commit suicide on many occasions. I thought because God would not let me die he was punishing me to live a hell on earth.

I just wanted to be dumb. I didn’t want to feel or think, and I found that in liquor at the age of eleven. I kept up that double life though. I was intelligent, in advanced classes, all school activities and clubs through the week and partying hard every weekend. I started experimenting with other drugs soon after. In seventh grade I was in a bad car accident that kept me out of school almost that whole year on homebound. My eighth grade year would be the last time of my childhood that I cared to live. I was captain of the cheerleading team, president of speech and drama, and played basketball that school year. By the time I went into my freshman year of high school, drugs and alcohol were taking over. I no longer wanted to be around others who were not partying and any other activity took me away from the only thing that gave me relief.

It was the end of my freshman year and the night of prom. I was dating a senior so my brother and I made prom a double date. We had arranged to get acid and meet up with some of our friends after prom and have a party out in the woods, and that we did. As dawn started to break, everyone started coming down from their trips. So we felt it was a good time to head out. It had started sprinkling at this time. It had been hot out, so the rain just made the oil come to the service of the road. As we pulled out we hydroplaned and hit a rock which caused the tire to pop, making the car flip. My brother was halfway ejected from the car that landed on its top. The only way for me to get out of the vehicle was to move his body. My brother died, and so did I. I was fifteen years old and had seen what no one should ever have to witness in their life.

As you can imagine my life took a very downhill spiral from there. I got more involved with drugs and just wanted to escape reality. The next ten years of my life I cannot really recall, it’s like a dream that doesn’t make sense with a timeline that is all over the place. I started getting in trouble with the law, catching charge after charge. The amount of drugs that I was consuming on a daily basis to function was unreal. I was selling drugs to afford my habit. I had secluded myself from everyone.

Already having done a large quantity of pain and nerve pills I went to make my normal trip to the store to keep up with appearances, as I had been taught to do. I didn’t know it then but this was the going to be the day that changed my life. I finished my shopping and was exiting the store when I was asked to stop. I was met by a member of security who took me back to a room. They started an interrogation and called law enforcement. I was relieved when the officer that showed up happen to be and old school mate. See, on my way to the store I picked up a large quantity of pills. I was already on probation for trafficking and knew if they found those pills on me I was going to do some time. I manipulated the officer into letting me go to the bathroom. Not wanting to destroy or flush what I had on me I decided that the best thing for me to do was take them all. I thought I would get some small bond amount set and be able to get out. Little did I know God had a plan. I was placed on no bond. It took about a day for my body to start absorbing the ball of medication I had ingested. I became delusional and combative. Quite frankly I lost my mind. It was when I started having seizures that I was taken from jail to the hospital. I was not responding and they thought I would be a vegetable for the rest of my life. Because I came from jail my family was not allowed to come see me and could only be told if I was stable or not which I was not most of the time. I’m not sure how long I was in the hospital, but from the information I have gathered it had been about 2 weeks since I was arrested. Once I became somewhat coherent and was able to breath on my own I was taken back to jail. The judge of my case requested I complete treatment, and after about two months I was released to be taken to Liberty Place Recovery Center for Women.

Being told it was a 4-6 month program, I set my mind to manipulate my way into completing it in three months. However, that was not what God had planned. I stayed in treatment for 19 months. Once I completed treatment I met a man and became pregnant with my daughter. She brought about a drive in me and a desire for the best of life. Today I have over nine years sober. I know today that God has used my pain to help many others, because of my past I am able to be a light for others when all hope is lost.

What was your aha moment?

I had been in treatment a little over a month. Every day and multiple times a day they would go over the disease concept. It was just like any other day but for some reason when it was broke down that day it made sense. I finally understood why I had stayed in the vicious cycle.

Feelings and emotions in active addiction:

I was such a torn person. I had been someone who had hopes, dreams, and ambitions. I hated who I had become but I didn’t know how to stop. I would keep myself completely numb so that I would not have to feel. When misery, loneliness, and sorrow would creep in, I would seek oblivion. I was a prisoner of my own mind and body.

The driving force that keeps me going when times get tough:

God, and my daughter. Today I know I have a purpose, that God has had a plan for me this whole time.

What obstacles or road blocks have you faced in your recovery?

I have had many obstacles in recovery. My daughter’s father and I split up while I was pregnant, that devastated me. I had this ideal of a white picket fence and because I had grew up in a divorced family I didn’t want the same for her. Being a single mother, receiving no assistance, I lost my job due to a shut down and had little to no help.

What is something you want people who never struggled with addiction to know?

I never wanted to be what I had become. People who suffer from this disease are as much at a loss as to why they can’t stop as you are. They become so frustrated that their children, family and friends are not enough. That on their own will power they cannot stop.

What advice do you have for family members of a person in addiction?

Be patient. Sometimes we want help but are just scared to do something differently. Don’t enable them to continue their ways. Advocate for them because they cannot for themselves.

Closing Thoughts

If you are struggling and don’t know where to turn or what to do, I’m here to tell you there is a better way. I have not given up on you. I may not know you but because I have been where you are I know what you are going through. Take that first step, it may be the hardest thing you have ever had to do but it will be worth it.

If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, please call Addiction Recovery Care at 606.638.0938 or visit them on the web at


There is hope. There is help.


February 8, 2018

Disgraced attorney Eric C. Conn, left, and attorney Ned Pillarsdorf.Disgraced attorney Eric C. Conn, left, and attorney Ned Pillarsdorf.

According to U.S. Rep. Hal Rogers, the Social Security Administration has said an additional 1,965 former clients of Eric C. Conn will face redetermination hearings to prove they are disabled and deserving of government benefits the SSA alleges were only won because of Conn’s fraud. 

A total of 1,787 people were notified that they would undergo redeterminations in May 2015. At that time, the SSA initially gave individuals 10 days to gather medical evidence in support of their cases and sought to immediately discontinue paying the benefits until the hearings were held.

Prestonsburg attorney Ned Pillersdorf, who has led a variety of legal battles on behalf of the former Conn clients at the individual and group level, said those first notices led directly to at least two suicides.

Of those 1,787, around 1,500 actually underwent hearings, and nearly 800 had unfavorable decisions, meaning a loss of their benefits and a request from the SSA that they repay years’ worth of income. Pillersdorf said that those with legal representation had a higher success rate in their hearings than those going without. 

“Now, they’re going to harass 2,000 more people,” Pillersdorf said. “It just strikes me as arrogant, given that we already had one federal judge who said these hearings are unconstitutional.”

Several other U.S. District judges have put their cases on hold pending a decision from the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals as to whether the initial 1,500 hearings were Constitutional and timely enough to satisfy the SSA’s own statutory policies.

Rogers’ office said last week that for these 1,965 new cases, the SSA would continue to pay benefits until the hearings are held, and individuals are being given 30 days to gather evidence and find legal representation. The notices and hearings will also be staggered, with 12 administrative law judges being assigned to the cases.

“It is heartbreaking to witness the tragic impact that Eric C. Conn’s fraud scheme continues to have on the lives of people living in Eastern Kentucky, who had entrusted him with this vital source of income,” Rogers said in a statement. “While I appreciate notification from the Social Security Administration, I question the need for additional redetermination hearings while litigation is still pending in the federal court system.”

Already, the Appalachian Research and Defense Fund, which helped organize dozens of lawyers from around the nation to volunteer their time to help represent Conn’s former clients in the first round of redeterminations, is gearing up for the nearly 2,000 new cases. 

Pillersdorf said of these new redeterminations, approximately half are based on information gathered in an existing investigation, and half are based on information from Conn’s plea agreement with prosecutors.

“I got the impression from Rogers’ office that (the first round of notices) were about to go in the mail,” Pillersdorf said. “I don’t know. It is what it is. We’ll keep fighting.”

By Aaron K. Nelson
Floyd County Chronicle and Times


February 2, 2018

Larry Cordle, Angaleena Presley among performers at benefit for 'Himler House'


March 1 will be 'HUNGARY FOR APPALACHIAN PICKIN', a concert to benefit The Himler House Project in Martin County. The lineup includes emcee Angaleena Presley, 2018 Grammy nominee Larry Cordle, Nathan Stanley, The McClain Family Band, and much more. Presented by the Martin County Historical Society.

Tickets on sale now at


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