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Thursday Edition

Meet Erika Ball the Survivor

And Learn about Her Journey through Recovery

By Bandit and Canvas Rebel Magazine

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Hey, Erika Ball is my daughter in law and I’m proud of her on several levels. Plus, I know that pride will continue into the future with her efforts with my son, Frank to help addicts recover and find strength and their futures.

Check out this article from Canvas Rebel Magazine in Austin Texas.

We recently connected with Erika Ball and have shared our conversation below.

Erika, appreciate you joining us today. Let’s go back in time to when you were an intern or apprentice – what’s an interesting story you can share from that stage of your career?

EB--For my undergrad internship at UNT – Dallas I worked at a women’s shelter for refugees of foreign countries and their children. These were women who were survivors of human rights abuses, including human trafficking and domestic violence. Since I am fluent in Spanish, and both my parents are immigrants from Paraguay, I was able to help Spanish-speaking women with translation, courtroom appearances and legal consultations.

I provided crisis hotline support, conducted intake interviews, distributed food, clothing, and bus passes and ensured residents’ living quarters were kept clean and orderly. The time I spent with these women was invaluable; I picked up so much wisdom and inspiration just by listening to their stories of perseverance and hardship.

Awesome – so before we get into the rest of our questions, can you briefly introduce yourself to our readers.

EB--My name is Erika Ball, I am the Cofounder of We Are Those People a grassroots nonprofit organization dedicated to individuals and families affected by Addiction also known as Substance use disorder. My husband Frank Ball is the Cofounder. We are both people in long term recovery. We create awareness and advocate for mental healthcare reform by sharing people’s personal stories of long-term recovery through films, photos, and community outreach and sharing those stories to help others.

How about pivoting – can you share the story of a time you’ve had to pivot?

EB--I had to make some serious pivots and adjustments recently. Like the rest of the world, during the pandemic lockdowns, I was furloughed from my job as a Mental Healthcare professional and the powers that be restricted us from any in-person meetings in the recovery community.

I found myself with a lot of time on my hands and the internet was my only tool to connect with the rest of the world and the recovery community. That’s when I started to focus all of my energy on our nonprofit and began working on it full-time.

We received an overwhelming response from the community worldwide. People needed support and this gave me a purpose and allowed me to continue creatively working in the recovery community. We received support from people in Canada, Australia, Argentina, Germany, and throughout the US.

People share their lives and success stories of hope in recovery. There was a need, and we had the opportunity to fill it. People were isolated in their homes, feeling hopeless and disconnected. Even though I was also disappointed and feeling a bit uncertain of my future, WATP gave me a purpose to help support those who were struggling.

These unavoidable setbacks provided me with the perfect opportunity to turn a side project into a full-time profession.

What’s a lesson you had to unlearn and what’s the backstory?

EB--The lesson I had to unlearn was that no matter what my past was like, no matter what my age, and no matter what my present circumstances are there’s never an excuse to give up on my dreams.

I lived a lot of my life making compromises because I gave into negative thinking and limiting beliefs.

The back story was at age 40, after achieving some sobriety, I once again burned my life to the ground. I was forced to restart my life from the ground up due to a relapse.

I faced a crossroads I was either going to continue giving in to a destructive life or I was going to choose LIFE and believe that recovery was possible and that even at my age I could achieve my dream.

Unfortunately, I had to learn this lesson the hard way, like many others. This lesson was one of the greatest lessons of all my life. Step by step I walked away from my negative thinking, and I have built a life beyond my wildest dreams.

Putting sobriety first and believing in myself I have achieved what seemed to be impossible for most of my life. I took responsibility for my thoughts and emotions blaming no one else, not my childhood, not past traumas, not blaming the government, not blaming the church, not blaming my age but just believing.

Since making this choice and choosing recovery, I have been able to build a beautiful, healthy relationship with a man who is now my husband. We recently bought our first home in Austin, Texas. I was finally able to receive my bachelor’s degree, and I became a mental health professional helping those with addiction issues. We created a nonprofit, created a documentary about addiction recovery, and I did a Ted talk on this very subject. I mended my family relationships, and most recently at age 48 was accepted into graduate school where I am currently working on a Master’s of Science for Nonprofit administration.

I will graduate on my 50th birthday. All of this to say that, if someone who perceived themselves as broken as I did can make this change, I truly believe anyone can. I’m excited about the future and I embrace all of the possibilities.

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