“My anxiety is less, my panic attacks are gone, my depression is way down,” she says, “and I’ve never been able to control that ever in my life.” She no longer feels the need to self-medicate, as much of her pain was brought on by high stress levels. It’s a fairly common paradox of drug use - her long-term dependence on marijuana and other substances came about largely as a way to cope with pain and stress, and in the end only made things worse. She still carries a folder of all the techniques she learned at Micah House as a self-curated toolkit for life’s new trials. “I’m able to get out there, live my life and put these things to the test,” she says as she flips through the well-worn pages. One of the lessons includes learning to let go of past wrongs, and making way for repairs in interpersonal relationships. “I learned how to forgive - not only other people, but myself,” she says. “I never knew how much that meant. I was holding onto these little grudges and before I knew it, it was eating a hole in me 12 years later.” Blessings and bouquets

Now with a clear focus, Walters is free to pursue creative forays that once fueled her passion. As a self proclaimed “jack of all trades,” Walters has a range of skills to choose from, ranging from artist and poet to carpenter and beautician. For the near future, her sights are set on reprising her role as a florist, a job she says allows her to explore creative arrangements and indulge her caregiving side without going too far and neglecting herself. She remembers fondly a time when she would arrange bouquets to pass out to mothers in her neighborhood on Mother’s Day, and the look on the women’s faces when Walters’ bouquets were the only recognition some of them would get. “It just makes people so happy,” she says.

“I learned how to forgive - not only other people, but myself. I never knew how much that meant.” - Melinda Walters

And most importantly, thanks to internal revelations instigated by the tools she learned at Micah House, Walters knows it makes her happy, too.


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