About me: Courtney Golden
I am Courtney Golden, mother of three, Taylor who is a freshman at OSU, Molly 13 & Amelia 8. I am from Lucasville, Ohio and my parents still live in the same home I grew up in. I went to Valley, eastern Kentucky university and graduated from SSU with an Associate of Art/Communications and Bachelors of Social Science with minor in psychology. I always say the life I have lived has humbled me and this is when that started, 12 years ago I was married with 2 children, house, cars, room mom, living the dream when I became addicted to my own prescription pain medicine I was given. I remember waking up so sick when my prescription ran out, laying in the bathroom floor and thinking, “This can’t be happening to me. I’m from a good home, I’m educated, I’ve done everything right. I have a husband and children and am in the parent-teaching organization at his school. my mom is a nurse I can’t call and tell her I’m addicted. Addicts live under bridges and do this knowingly.” That day I realized no one wants to wake up and be an addict. Addiction doesn’t discriminate. Treatment was different then. The stigma of addiction is still very prevalent today but 12 years ago there weren’t treatment centers on every corner, but pill mills were, Portsmouth wasn’t ground zero yet and drug addicts were severely criticized. When I got clean I wanted to do service work and my favorite teacher Mr. Thompson told me about a group of moms called SOLACE (Surving Our Loss and Continuing Everyday) who needed help with pictures for a display going in the old Martings building. I attended my first meeting in a church basement surrounded by a handful of moms crying telling their child’s story. I had been to the same parties as Nina, took the same dose as Anthony, went to the same Doctor as Kelly, and I sank lower and lower in my chair knowing my mom should Have been there, not me. I lived. These kids didn’t. I vowed then if I could keep another mother from feeling this pain I would. My first project was “Be the wall” in the Martings window. We wanted to put faces to the statistics of drug related deaths. It’s was a battle and very controversial but we succeeded. Then 4 Ohioans died each day to drug related deaths. Today 8 die everyday.
How are you involved in the community?
I’ve been asked several times why do you get involved? I ask how do you not? It’s a passion, a desire that burns in me. People are hungry/ feed them. People need help- help them. It’s simple.
My desire to see Scioto County flourish comes from loving the people in it and making the best world for my kids, your kids. One day they will run this world. They will be making laws, taking care of us in nursing homes. We need to guide them and help them become the best human beings possible. How do you look in your child’s eyes and not feel that?
What achievement are you most proud?
Being apart of shutting down the pill mills. We marched, protested and picketed them. I testified on House Bill 93 with Terry Johnson to regulate the pill mills and shut them down. It was a long day of testimony in a loud room where most state representatives were talking to each other rather than listening. If you know me, I’m not concerned with being politically correct or always professional. When it was my turn I was raw and honest. I explained in graphic detail what a pill mill looked like. Men with guns when you walked in, truck loads of people being dropped off and lines wrapping around the building. Neighbors scared to go outside because patients were asking to buy their clean urine, leaving needles and dirty diapers in their yard cause they brought their kids with them. I explained how our local pharmacies refused to fill these prescriptions so the patients were traveling to their town- their pharmacies. Eating in restaurants where their child works and staying in hotels in their town. I told them less than $4 goes to every child in Scioto County to teach prevention and that wasn’t enough to buy a D.A.R.E t-shirt, much less educate them. For the first time that day the room was silent. When we went back to the state house for the official vote Governor Kasich came and sat in on the vote for the first time in history. House Bill 93 passed that day, we celebrated but knew then our work wasn’t finished.
What was your proudest professional moment?
I have so many moments running through my mind. Many are seeing addicts recover- seeing someone who was defeated with their head high and face lit up coming up to hug me and tell me how good they are doing. The one that really warms my heart is when I taught Saturday school for juvenile court. I had 10 girls that were either in the court system, truant, were not expected to pass that year and really didn’t want to be there at 8am on a Saturday morning. Some were totally rebellious and others didn’t have a mom to get them up and make them go to school each day. They needed more than math and reading. I started each class with a positive quote and if they came back the next week and could tell me who wrote it and bring the class another quote from that author they got a prize. Nothing big but a candy bar, but they loved the recognition. Many didn’t know basic math skills so i started from the beginning. Breaking down each step over and over. I believed in them and encouraged them. I recently got a message from two of my girls saying they are graduating high school in May, really want me to be there and couldn’t have done it with out me. I reassure them it wasn’t me it was all them. They just needed someone to believe in them and remind them how amazing they really are.
Which person has influenced you the most and why?
My mom, Karen Golden. She retired from Southern Ohio Medical Center (SOMC) with over 45 years of service. She was a pediatric nurse and everywhere we went people would stop her and say, “you took care of my child when… And you were my favorite nurse!” At the time I didn’t understand the magnitude of that but later realized she impacted them enough for them to stop her and tell her, she made a difference in their lives. She had children that came in at birth, would treat them multiple times a year and they would pass away and I could see the pain she felt. These kids were more than patients to her. I remember going into houses at Christmas time that had dirt floors and no heat and dropping off Christmas presents for these kids that otherwise wouldn’t have Christmas. She is the greatest person I have ever met and is still my biggest fan. If I can touch half as many people as she has I call that success.
What is your favorite stress buster/leisure time diversion?
Taking adventure, hiking with my family where there is no cell service. NA and AA meetings, lunch with a friend and laughing until we cry. True laughter is the best.
What gives you reason for optimism in your community?
Seeing people recover. Seeing children making better choices. Seeing more people getting involved in our community and asking how they can help.
If you could go back in time and give advice to yourself, what would it be?
You will be okay. It will get better and then bad again then better. Pain is growth. Slow down and enjoy the journey.
If you could add a few more hours to the day, how would you spend them?
I would write more. Laugh more with my tribe and hold my kids longer.
Do you live by any mantra or saying?
When someone shows you who they are believe them the first time. This was and still is a hard lesson for me. Not everyone has my heart and passion. I have to accept them for them and where they are at that moment.
Career aspirations aside, name one thing you definitely want to accomplish in your community.
I want to help more kids. My dream has been to have a kids house. To help provide a safe haven for kids that have a bad home life or the ones no one wants. They are my favorite and each of them are worthy and deserve a safe home, food, and love. How do we expect these kids to make the next right decision when they don’t know where their next meal will come from? Or where they are gonna sleep tonight? They are our future and will be running this place one day so help me make them the best humans possible.