As a child Brenda was left at home by herself for hours –sometimes days — at a time. As her Mom walked out the door she was asked if she could be a big girl while she was alone. She always said, yes, she could. But no one told her what being a big girl really meant. So she had to imagine what a big girl would be like.
From a young child’s perspective being a big girl meant doing what she wanted to do; she had little concept of what she needed to do, or ought to do. So Brenda raised herself — not much attention to school, too much attention to boys; little focus on responsible choices, lots of focus on poor, even illegal choices. By the time she was 22 Brenda had two babies with no way to take care of them………the only big girl thing about Brenda was her body.
An aunt took custody of Brenda’s daughters when Brenda went to big girl prison. Being locked up and left alone reminded Brenda how much she felt like a little girl inside, and how unprepared she was to be a big girl. When she made parole, and after years of stops and starts, at age 35 Brenda was ready to grow up.
Choosing to live at Killingsworth is one of the first really big girl decisions Brenda made. For eleven months Brenda practiced making responsible grown-up choices; handling frustration and disappointment without relapsing and with much less stomping or pouting than was her custom. Brenda set goals and is sticking to them; she has also been going daily to Narcotics Anonymous meetings as she committed to do, and is determined to hang on to a difficult job because big girls have good work histories.
One of her biggest decisions was to earnestly practice the first step in the 12-step recovery program, and she has turned her life over in faith to God. There is much evidence that Brenda is becoming the big girl she always wanted to be — for real this time. The week she moved into her own grown-up apartment she opened her first big girl bank account. Brenda is growing mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. It’s a good thing: she is now the big girl role model for her daughters — an example of what it means to be a healthy grown up.
Killingsworth is a community of big girl wanna-be’s who by the grace of God are becoming grown up responsible women.