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by Erica Rivero July 28, 2017


Brenda, Logistics Supervisor pictured in our new 12,000-SF manufacturing facility.

Brenda celebrates her four-year sobriety anniversary this month. Today, she reflects on life’s greatest blessings and how her time at Thistle Farms has impacted her life and her relationships with her children.

“I’m a country girl at heart. I grew up in the countryside of Huntsville, Alabama. As a child, I remember running through the fields chasing butterflies, picking berries, and climbing trees to gather apples, peaches, and pears. For me, there was no place like home. The country was a safe place for me.

Later in life we moved to Nashville. I was always under the protection and care of my grandmother. She was there for me most of my life. When she passed away, I began to suffer from separation anxiety and depression. I began to lose my way. I wandered aimlessly in addiction for some 20+ years. It was the darkest time in my life.

After getting clean and then relapsing, I reached out to Thistle Farms’ residential community, Magdalene, and was accepted into the program in July, 2013. It was there that my healing began. I discovered Magdalene was not just a place of recovery but a place to heal. Magdalene told me that I mattered, and all my defects and impurities were being addressed. Love does heal. There were a lot of rules and regulations that I didn’t realize that I needed in order to commit to myself. I bought in, and I’m grateful that I did.

I have two beautiful children, a loving son and daughter. It’s such a joy to be an active part of their life. I reached the point where I am not only their mother; I am also their friend. They trust and rely on me to be a parental figure now. I’ve always wanted to be a grandmother. As my journey continues, I am looking forward to being a grandmother and an active part of my future grandchildren’s lives.

I can say that going through Thistle Farms’ Magdalene program provided me with the tools to be responsible for myself and others. I graduated and completed the program, am a full-time employee at Thistle Farms, have my own place, my own car, and I look forward to paying my bills on time. I have a savings account and a cushion. Sometimes rainy days do come, but I have the tools to handle that. I am good!

It feels good to be responsible for myself again. I am a Logistics Supervisor. Customer satisfaction is my favorite part of my job. I am grateful for the love and support of all the customers, patrons, and volunteers that help to make our mission a reality.

Thistle Farms has afforded me the opportunity to regain my hope and my strength to be a better person. Today, I’m committed to being a productive member of my community, a loving and devoted mother to my children, a sister, and a friend. I am a member of NA. I have a sponsor, and I actively participate in my recovery. It’s a unified effort. If nothing changes, nothing changes. I had to change.”

Erica Rivero
Erica Rivero