Graduation at Madison College
In spite of a life filled with drug addiction, Davita Walker became
sober for herself and her family and is now helpiong others to
climb the mountain of addiction to recovery
In order for Walker to gain her life, she had to lose her life, the past life that kept her in the cycle of addiction.

“It was the easiest, yet the hardest I ever had to do to get clean,” Walker said. “It’s day by day. I had to cut off people, places and things. I couldn’t be going around to my old friends in
the neighborhood. I couldn’t do any of that stuff. It’s so easy to do. I had to give up lots of people. I had to turn to self-care and love myself. I’m through with everything.”

What also helped her to climb that mountain was her love of her family. It became important to Walker to set the tone for the family.

“You’ve got to stay focused and family is everything,” Walker emphasized. “Just think about your family and your life and that you love to live. I am a first generation college graduate
out of my whole family. I’m 55-years-old, but I’m still determined to give my grandkids to school and through college. My kids are doing well. They have good jobs. My one daughter
wants to be a nurse and goes to Madison College. She’s making her way through the nursing program. She has six boys. She wants to be a baby nurse. I guess she has experience in
that. She wants to be a labor and deliver nurse.”

And she also had a mission for going back to school.

“I decided to go back to school so that I could continue to help people with my lived experiences and my journey to getting clean,” Walker said. “And I just love it. I am so happy.”
While going to Madison College, Walker did an internship at Safe Communities that changed the trajectory of her life.

“My internship hired me the first week and I’m still with them,” Walker said. “And we do #endoverdose. We work with people impacted by opioids. We find them rehab treatment. And
work with people in jail when they need support to stay strong. I’m on the African American Opioid Coalition. I’m with Jackie Hunt. She’s my mentor. We worked at the YWCA. I’m in that
community. Charlie Daniel and I both work together at Safe Communities. We’re about to do an African American Suicide Awareness Virtual Conference. We’re planning for that. So far, I’
m doing what I like. But my goal is to open up a sober living house for women. They didn’t have that when I was getting clean. I had nowhere to go. I had to go right back to my
neighborhood. And I got clean, but it was very hard. I want to create a space for women to recover.”

Walker had a great experience at Madison College, finding the support that she needed in order to make it through the program. She also needed outside support to keep her on the
climb to recovery.

“I’m still in therapy,” Walker revealed. “I have to go to therapy and I’m with CPS and I have a team. But in the midst of me going to school, I lost my partner of 21 years, my fiancé, to a
heroin overdose in September 2018. And then my father passed away in July 2018 in Cleveland. I had a heavy semester. I’m still in grief counseling to this day.”

While Walker is content with what she is doing at Safe Communities, she is not content with her degree.

“I have a human service associates degree and an addiction studies certification,” Walker said. “I really would like to get a four-year degree. This time, I’m still taking a math class.
And I’m going to look into going on and getting a four-year degree. I don’t know where I want to go yet, but I’m looking into that right away.”

And life is good for Walker.

“I just have my family, my Madison College friends and all of the boards and committees that I am on,” Walker said. “I created a whole new life for myself. Second chances are the

And as it was said before, Walker wants to still keep leading her family down the right path.
“I would love to march across the stage in December,” Walker confided. “What really kept me going is to walk across that stage in front of my family and my grandkids. I want them to
see that their grandmother is doing it. I took my family through so much and so, for them to see me accomplish something so meaningful means so much. And so, in December, I’ll walk
across the stage.”

Finally Walker has climbed that mountain and has reached her promised land.
By Jonathan Granling

Davita Walker, a mother of three and grandmother to 11, has had a huge mountain of drug addiction to climb before
she finally reached recovery and the life that she had dreamed for herself and her family. It hasn’t been easy, the
time filled with starts and stops during her climb.

“I was going to school in Milwaukee,” Walker said. “I did get a diploma as a renal data technician and I have 54
credits. But in the midst of getting my education, I did go back to my active addiction, off and on. I was like clean for
two years, go to school, mess up and go back. It was off and on, off and on. I was thinking that I would never get rid
of this addiction, never. I’ve had overdoses. I’ve been to jail. I’ve been through everything. I was going crazy. I
was just losing my mind. I was losing weight and my kids were afraid of me. And I was just crazy. It was just sad. I
was empty. And I just felt sick all of the time. I was no good. I couldn’t help anyone in the state of mind that I was in.
So it was time to shake it off.”

And yet the backsliding continued until she finally had a “Come to Jesus” moment that changed her life.

“I used to do crack cocaine for over 25-30 years,” Walker said. “It was hell. I almost died 5-6 times. When I was
dying, I was like, ‘Oh God, I don’t want my kids to find me like this.’ It took all of that. I encourage everyone to live
your life to the fullest.”
gain her life, she had to lose her life, the past life that kept her in the cycle of addiction.