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Brawley mom completes rehab program

February 15, 2002|By JENNIFER RALTON-SMITH, Staff Writer

Today is the first day of the rest of your life …

Remember that mantra from the '60s?

The saying may be a little time-worn but its meaning resonated loudly and clearly with Dodie Grigsby, of Brawley, on Tuesday when she graduated from the Imperial County Department of Behavioral Services perinatal program.

The program is a six-month course that aims to get mothers and pregnant women who are substance abusers back on the right track while providing life skills education through a variety of sources.

Grigsby, whose early progress in the program was featured in a story run by this newspaper in September of last year, was all smiles as program counselor D.J. Shipman handed her a certificate of completion.

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"I've finally achieved something in my life — and it means a whole new life for me," Grigsby said after the presentation.

Life has never been quite as good as it is now for Grigsby. Her past included a mother who supplied her with drugs when Grigsby was a teen-ager, a father who sold drugs to Charles Manson, multiple pregnancies to men who never hung around long and a more than passing acquaintance with the inside of a lockup.

Interviewed in her office shortly before the ceremony, Shipman said, "In 13 years as a counselor, my experience is that only one in 10 go on to graduate. I'm so proud of Dodie … she's got applications in to do volunteer work and she's asked us to organize ongoing outpatient treatment for her."

Shipman went on to say that Grigsby's recognition of the fact that her addiction is not a curable disease and that she needs the continuing support of weekly counseling are signs that Grigsby will continue to do well.

Five days a week for the past six months, Grigsby has driven her $100 down, $50 a month car to the program center on Clark Road in El Centro.

Shortly before graduation, Grigsby's car gave up the ghost but with the help of her landlady, she kept coming to class. She is hopeful she'll be able to save the money for repairs — and when she does, she's looking forward to volunteer work at Pioneers Memorial Hospital in Brawley.

For more information on the perinatal program call 337-7767.

>>Staff Writer Jennifer Ralton-Smith can be reached at 337-3442 or dingo87@earthlink.net

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