Against The Odds—Brittany's Story

Mar 25, 2024

In a profound interview that sheds light on the universality of human struggle, Brittany shares her compelling journey through adversity, underscoring the message that challenges can beset anyone, regardless of their background or upbringing.

Growing up in St. Louis, Missouri, amidst a tumultuous family life marked by alcoholism and drug addiction, Brittany faced considerable hurdles from a young age. Her story, while uniquely hers, reflects a broader truth about the resilience of the human spirit and the transformative power of seeking help.

Through The Salvation Army's intervention, Brittany's narrative takes a hopeful turn, illustrating how, with the right support and resources, individuals can begin to surmount the difficulties that once seemed insurmountable. 

Brittany in her own words

“My name is Brittany. I'm from St. Louis, Missouri. I have a twin sister and come from a family of seven. My mom and my dad were both alcoholics. Mom was a drug addict on top of it. I had a very troubled childhood and I suffered from alcoholism since I was 16 years old. I grew up in Kinloch, Missouri. It's one of the first African American cities and I have a lot of memories there, some good and some not so good.”

“My mom was bipolar and schizophrenic. With her drug history and drinking problems, things were challenging for all of us. The pressure of bringing up a family, along with those mental health issues, is too much pressure for anybody. I moved to Black Jack, Missouri, and spent some time living with my grandparents. There wasn’t much stability and I felt like I was being bounced around all the time.”

Can you remember your first interaction with The Salvation Army?

“I remember meeting bell ringers for The Salvation Army when I was very young. I had no idea it would become so important to me later in life. Meeting Lt. Karen Felton and Major Gary Felton at The Salvation Army St. Charles is one of the standout moments in my life. I had been living in a truck in St. Charles with my fiancée when I first heard about the support they offer. We started going along to the corps and they were just so kind to us. If we were hungry, they gave us food. They gave us clothes. They treated us with love and respect and made us feel welcome. We started going to church again. Lt. Karen and Major Gary have been such a positive influence in my life, and they’ve always been there for me. I don’t think I would be here if it wasn’t for them.”

How did things progress for you from there?

“Lt. Karen and Major Gary helped me to access alcohol and drug treatment at the Midtown Service and Treatment Center in St. Louis. I was a little nervous at first, but they helped me to realize that I could get better. All I had to do was give it my very best shot and not give up on myself. They made me realize that I could achieve anything if I put my heart into it. They changed my life.”

How would you describe your experience at Midtown Service and Treatment Center?

“The people there at Midtown are wonderful. Most counselors have personal experience with addiction or have a deep understanding of it. The counselors and staff made me feel like I could trust them, they really worked with me to deal with my addictions and some of the issues I have been going through since I was very young. The treatment services helped me to turn my life around. I feel like a different person now, I feel happy, I’m confident, I’ve got my life back. It can be hard at first, but you’ve got to want to be there, to get better, and you have got to stick with the program. It’s worth it!”

Brittany and Lt. Karen Felton of The Salvation Army St. Charles Corps

What are you looking forward to in the future?

“One of the things I’m most looking forward to is building a successful career. I plan to stay in touch with The Salvation Army my whole life. I want to be an advocate and help others in their journey. It’s safe to say that if it wasn’t for The Salvation Army, I wouldn’t have a future.”

Lt. Karen Felton:

“I think our partnership with Midtown Service and Treatment Center has been a game changer. Having access to that resource saves lives. Unfortunately, there's nothing like that in St. Charles. There's no housing, no treatment that is free. There's no detox that is free. Resources are few and far between. It used to feel like a hopeless situation, but then we started partnering with Midtown. Brittany was the 10th person that we've sent through Midtown from St. Charles. It's been amazing. We're so grateful for Midtown Service and Treatment Center – they do amazing work there!

I must share a short but powerful story and celebration of Brittany. The availability of Narcan in our communities is an important issue. It saves lives. It’s a drug that reverses an opioid overdose. I’ve personally administered it several times to people who may well have died without it. I remember an occasion when an individual in our community had an overdose. We saved the individual thanks to Brittany’s quick thinking and her access to Narcan.  Brittany has personally played a part in saving someone's life. We are a Narcan distribution site; we are approved to provide it to anyone in the unhoused community or anyone who wants it. I hope we will see a wider availability of Narcan in our communities. It doesn't encourage drug use, but it will save the lives of people who suffer from it.

Brittany is an amazing person with so much to offer the world. She is passionate about helping others and she will be an incredible advocate for those who are unhoused and suffering from addiction. Her testimony is powerful, and we are so grateful to have her as part of our community.”

Visit the links below for more information about The Salvation Army St. Charles Corps and the Midtown Service and Treatment Center.



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