By Kim Andresen
She’s battled drug addiction, homelessness, an abusive marriage, and chronic health issues.
Her powerful story ignited a passion for helping others fight addiction. That passion led to her joining the Rayce Rudeen Foundation in July 2022 as its new Executive Assistant.
“I was looking for a job that made a difference,” Andresen said. “This is the first time my career aligns with my passion.”
Andresen helps with the daily operation of the Foundation and its outreach, including organizing the Fall Family Fest held in October.
“It’s hard to give a job description because every day is different,” Andresen said. “Which is one of the things I love about working here.”
Andresen’s journey to addiction began at age 12. Unable to determine the cause of her chronic pain, medical professionals prescribed Tylenol with codeine. Doctors resorted to prescribing more potent painkillers as the years progressed with no diagnosis. By the time she was 16, she had become addicted to oxycodone.
“Doctors were tired of looking for what was causing my pain, so they diagnosed me with fibromyalgia,” Andresen said. “Which gives them carte blanche to throw painkillers at the symptoms.”
Her addiction led to an abusive marriage and homelessness. Her ex-husband’s abuse forced the couple from their home in California to the cold streets of Ohio.
“My ex-husband got us kicked out of every homeless shelter,” Andresen said. “He wasn’t a good man.
“It was pretty bad for a while,” she added. “You learn quickly how not to victimize yourself. You become thankful for the struggles. If I hadn’t experienced what I experienced, I wouldn’t be as motivated as I am now.”
Andresen quit drugs immediately after finding out she was pregnant. She got help by attending trauma recovery classes at a local church.
“That was the last day I abused any drug,” said Andresen. “At that point, it’s no longer about you.”
After her ex-husband left, Andresen worked three jobs and got off the streets. She moved to Spokane in 2016 to be close to her family.
“I wanted to build a life for my son,” Andresen said. “One where he was safe.”
Andresen, who has a passion for singing, went on to earn a degree in music. Over the years, she taught children to sing as a private instructor and preschool teacher. Now no longer teaching, she writes and records music.
In addition to music, Andresen loves to spend time reading to her son and expressing her creativity through diverse hobbies.
Addiction can sometimes feel hopeless for those struggling with the disease, and for their families and loved ones. These stories speak to the overwhelming challenges of addiction—and offer hope for healing and recovery. They are the stories of our neighbors in the Spokane community, told with immense courage, with the hope of encouraging others in their fight. We are in this together.