Raised in a small Tlingit village in Hoonah, Alaska, Jeni has been in recovery for more than three years. She began misusing prescription opioids and using alcohol as a teenager. At age 21, she realized that she was using alcohol and opioids to mask the pain of the sexual assaults she survived as a young teen. Following a car crash, Jeni was prescribed opioids to treat back and neck pain from her injuries. Soon after, she began taking more than prescribed, which led to addiction. Then Jeni transitioned from misusing opioids to using heroin and methamphetamines.
She was arrested multiple times and she knew that something needed to change. She says that she backed away from her culture and family and hit “rock bottom” the night before her last arrest. Prior to her incarceration, Jeni attended a 40-day residential treatment program in Sitka and attended Narcotics Anonymous and Alcoholics Anonymous. Today, Jeni attributes much of her success to reconnecting with her traditional culture and family. She participates in peer recovery programs and is training to become a peer counselor to work with other women who have been incarcerated.