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Riley Breaks a Family History of Addiction

Lidia Harding
Substance Abuse Success Stories Youth and Family Counseliing
Portrait of Riley recovered from her family's history of addiction

When Riley was just two years old, she was left in the care of her grandmother because her mother suffered from drug addiction. She grew up feeling lost and abandoned.

“I felt abandoned. I felt like I didn’t belong. I began to have panic attacks.”

In middle school, she began to use drugs and alcohol to cope with her emotions. When she reached high school, her mother died due to her addiction.

That’s when Riley reached out to Youth Eastside Services. She wanted to work through her grief and trauma but couldn’t pay for counseling.

Riley found the support she needed

But thanks to YES donations, Riley received mental health and substance use services, even though she couldn’t afford to pay. She began seeing a co-occurring disorder counselor, who treated both her substance use and mental health challenges.

Alongside her counselor, a YES psychiatrist helped Riley manage her bipolar disorder and ADHD.

She found additional support from her peers as they worked together through their challenges during a 16-week Dialectical Behavioral Therapy group where Riley learned healthy coping skills.

“I never really had the chance to sit and think things through. Now, after my sessions with my counselor, I spend the week thinking things through and journaling. It gave me something positive to work on. It helped me be more aware of what’s going on with me, rather than focusing on other people’s opinions.”

Celebrating recovery and thriving

Riley is now sober and has learned new, healthier coping skills to manage her trauma and emotions. She’s continuing her education at Bellevue College while working at a local restaurant. She enjoys helping her grandmother, caring for her pets, and creating vibrant artwork.

Riley has a great deal to be proud of, thanks to you.

As for Rileys’s future…

“I want to find a meaningful career. I love animals, so maybe doing something with animals and caring for my grandma as she gets older.”

*At YES, we respect everyone who comes to us for support, and many are working on improving their lives. So while their stories are true, client names and images may have been changed to protect their privacy. Thank you for understanding.


Recovery stories like Riley’s are made possible through the generosity of many YES donors. Supporters provide ALL children, youth, and families in East King County with a chance of recovery.

You, too, can be a lifeline in a young person’s life today by making a gift to provide families with hope for a brighter tomorrow! Whether you donate $5 or $500, every gift will make a difference in the life of a child or youth seeking hope and recovery.

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