Former addict shares message of hope after college graduation: ‘Stop selling yourself short’

Good News Notes:

Virginia “Ginny” Burton was 6 years old when she was introduced to marijuana by her drug-addicted mother. At the age of 12, she was usingcrystal meth. By 14, Burton, a student in an accelerated learning program, had dropped out of school and was smoking crack.

“I went from being a really sweet kid to an angry and aggressive one,” Burton, 48, told TODAY Health. “I didn’t want to be in a classroom. I just wanted to get high.”

Burton found herself bouncing from one juvenile detention facility to the next. By 2012, Burton, a mom of three, was homeless,addicted to heroin and had served multiple prison sentences. Her children were taken away.

“My kids would grab my ankles when I went into the kitchen because that’s where I smoked crack,” Burton revealed. “My life was a nightmare.”

But it’s not anymore.

In May, Burton, who is more than eight years clean aftergetting sober while incarcerated, graduated from the University of Washington with a degree in political science.

Last month, Burton shared side-by-side photos of the milestone moment on Facebook. The picture on the left is a haunting mug shot taken in 2005, and the other shows Burton beaming in her cap and gown.

“How about that for motivation? I honestly thought I’d die on a park bench with a needle in my arm or by gunshot to the head. I never would’ve in a million years thought my life would look the way it does today,” Burton wrote. “Stop selling yourself short. You don’t know what tomorrow might bring so you might consider starting today.”…

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