Edna’s journey to recovery at Triumph
Edna poses with her two children Daniel, age 7, and Azula, age 6.
On a recent Saturday morning Daniel, age 7, and Azula, 6, are giving the McDonald’s PlayPlace, the restaurant’s kid-friendly obstacle course, all they’ve got. Their squeals and shouts of delight fill the room.
Edna Pina-Garcia, their mother, sits close by. “I’ve been to five treatment centers — that I can think of,” she says, one eye always on the kids. “I come from a very good, hard-working family. I’m the first addict of that proportion in my family. They didn’t know what was going on.”
Neither did Edna, at first.
“I was college bound, and I was working three jobs to get there,” she says. Then, when she was 21, an invitation to her manager’s birthday party changed Edna’s life.
“I was working at a Burger King in Des Moines, and I met Anthony at the party. I told him I wasn’t looking for a relationship. But he kept after me. I didn’t he know he was a drug addict . . . I didn’t know where he would go, why he didn’t answer my text messages. Even when I did know I didn’t touch it for the longest time.”
They were together for three years, and as she says, “a lot of damage was done in those three years.” By the end, Edna was hooked on heroin. At first smoking the drug and later shooting up. “When I was pregnant with Daniel I kept getting sick and sick and sick. I thought I was dope sick and so would use again. But I was pregnant.”
By now Edna was 23. Going to college, or even holding down a job weren’t even possibilities. “At first we were living with Anthony’s cousin, then there was his mom’s house, then there were tents. We did all sort of stuff to keep up our addiction, what we call boosting, (slang for stealing).”
They broke up because Edna, now a mother, entered treatment in Everett, WA. “I knew he wasn’t going to get clean,” she says. “I went to treatment so I could get Daniel back, and that’s when I found out I was pregnant with Azula.”
That first time, she stayed clean for 11 months, but as she says she “was not cured.”
“I wasn’t ‘done’ yet. My thought process was I’m going to get my son back, have my daughter, and start using again.” And she did.
“The kids were itty bitty. Azula was months old. There were other treatment attempts in-between, but I hadn’t had my fill yet, even though there was so much stealing, sex work to get that next fix. It’s all you can think about. You want to crawl out of your own skin.”
Finally, she found herself at Intercept Associates in Federal Way, WA, which provides intervention, treatment and family services to those in need. They told her she needed to try in-patient care once again. “They told me that Triumph, in Yakima, had a bed waiting for me. But first they sent me to detox for five days: I never want to live that again.
“On May 21, 2021, I entered Triumph for six months. I remember sitting outside waiting for my intake, just taking it all in. When you’re in addiction it’s like everything is all in gray. But when you’re clean you see all the colors, the leaves were vivid green to me; I remember watching the mourning doves.”
So what was different about Triumph? Edna pauses to think. “I don’t know,” is her first answer. But she does know. “I learned so much about myself at Triumph. And my counselor was ammmaaazing. I love that woman with all my heart: Judith. She’s unlike anybody else. She knew how to talk to me even when I messed up. I had addiction symptoms while I was there; I was stealing things. She sat me down and explained what I was doing and told me it had to stop. She told me I was still in the survival mode of an addict. The light went on. Ever since then I stopped.
“Triumph helped me get strong. I have a great relationship with my family now. I have so many cousins, and aunts and uncles. I got my head out of my butt and I’m reconnecting.
“I would tell anybody else trying to get clean not to give up, even if they relapse. Keep trying. The other side is so much better. And there are people waiting for them when they get better.”
Edna has been clean for two years now. She and the kids live in Triumph-supported housing, and Edna is literally back on the road to college, driving for Uber Eats. In fact, she just finished her first two quarters at Yakima Valley College.
“I’m going so I can become a substance abuse counselor,” she says. “Going to Triumph made me want to do that. I’m so grateful. I’m so attached to Yakima now. This is where I got clean. This is where my life really started.”
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