Bellevue Reporter Features 2018 Invest in Youth Breakfast
‘Wild’ author Cheryl Strayed shares story of abuse, addiction and heartbreak at Youth Eastside Services breakfast
The first time author Cheryl Strayed used heroin, she thought “here’s the cure.”
It was the “cure” for relief from the suffering she experienced from her grandfather’s sexual abuse, from the domestic violence her father inflicted on her and her family and, ultimately, from her mother’s death at age 45, leaving Strayed an orphan at 22.
“I thought here’s the cure, here’s the world that I can live in because this other one without my mom, I can’t live in,” Strayed said at Youth Eastside Service’s annual fundraising breakfast. “Of course, I was so wrong about that and that feeling only lasted a day. Soon, heroin really brought me down a very destructive path.”
Strayed, author of bestseller “Wild,” recently spoke at Youth Eastside Service’s Invest in Youth breakfast at Meydenbauer Center March 21 to share how her story of overcoming her personal struggle is similar to those of teenagers and young adults Bellevue-based Youth Eastside Services helps.
The nonprofit, which is celebrating its 50th year, currently provides youth and family counseling, substance abuse treatment, psychiatric services, early childhood behavioral health and more to youth on the Eastside. They have offices in Bellevue, Redmond, Kirkland, Sammamish and serve the Lake Washington and Bellevue school districts.
While Strayed, the keynote speaker for the breakfast, didn’t have access to Youth Eastside Services when she was going through her hard times, she knew she needed a way to restore her strength, so she decided to hike more than 1,000 miles from Mexico to Portland, Oregon on the Pacific Crest Trail in 1995 – a journey she details in “Wild.”