Sokaogon Chippewa Community News

Kimberlee Soldier Finds Success in Recovery

A few years ago, Kimberlee Soldier was struggling with addiction. Her addictions led her to a life of incarceration, and missing important events in her children’s lives.

She tried to hide her addiction to drugs and alcohol, but close family and friends knew better. It wasn’t until her sixth OWI in 2012, and a prison sentence of three years, that she was able to participate in the Earned Release Program and started making changes in her life.

“It’s a six-month course that inmates can attend to learn coping skills, learning how to manage life’s daily ups and downs, and discover why we use, and how to understand our triggers,” Kimberlee shared.

While working through the Earned Release Program, she was told by the director that she was less likely to succeed because of where she lived, so that made her more determined to stay sober and succeed.

“A few years later I saw the director at a conference, and he was surprised but happy to see me,” Kimberlee said. “I understood why he said what he said to me back then, and there was some truth to it, but he saw me now and could see me working hard to maintain a healthy lifestyle.”

She credits her Mom, her children, her niece and nephew with helping her stay on a good path. Realizing that she had missed so many precious moments of their lives because she was in and out of jail or using, has brought her strength to stay focused on not missing another minute of life.

Working as a Mole Lake Lodge Manager, she is also moving into her third year with the Tribal AmeriCorps Program. She keeps herself immersed in community activities and committees.

“I really enjoy learning new things, and new ways to help others and myself,” Kimberlee said. “As a recovering addict, this kind of work helps me in my recovery efforts.”

She believes that the Tribal AmeriCorps program is bringing so much back to the community by way of volunteerism, community involvement, education, awareness and prevention. “It also promotes getting work within your Tribe or with another Tribal Community, and opens your eyes to all the things going on out there that are positive,” she said.

Kimberlee also serves as the Chair of the Mole Lake Coalition, which was awarded the Prevention Coalition of Excellence Award from the Northwoods Coalition at their annual meeting in June. The Mole Lake Coalition has been rebuilding its efforts in substance abuse prevention for the past 18 months. It meets the second Tuesday of every month at 1:30 pm in the Gathering Room at Mole Lake Casino Lodge & Conference Center. Click here to read more.

While working on her own recovery, Kimberlee keeps a positive yet humble outlook on her successes over the last few years.

“I don’t preach prevention and awareness. I will talk with others and help others if they come up to me and want help. I can’t help someone if the person doesn’t want the help,” Kimberlee said. “It took me to see that I needed to change my ways, and with some people, they don’t see that they have an addiction or they don’t think that they need help. I can now help them and point them in the right direction if I don’t know the answer.”

“I will never pretend to know everything about prevention and awareness as I am still learning about my own recovery.”

Congratulations Kimberlee on all your achievements, and for helping others!