From 12-year-old m’eth ad’dict to honors college scholar: The rede’mption of Ginny Burton

Ginny Burton came from a broken home. Born to dr’ug-ad’dicted parents, she was ad’dicted to me’th herself by the time she was just 12 years old. Now, she has completely turned her life around. She is a political science graduate from The University of Washington. Her goal is to prove that people can do ext’raordinary things when given the chance.

The Story of Ginny Burton
Ginny Burton was one of seven children born to dr’ug-ad’dicted parents. Her father went to pri’son early in her life after a string of arm’ed rob’beries and never returned once he got out. The first time she did ma’rijuana was with her mother and brothers when she was only six years old. By the time she was 12, she was ad’dicted to me’th, and by 14, she was sm’oking crack. All she knew was a life of dr’ugs and cri’me.

According to KOMO News, she later got pregnant, but the father of that child was sh’ot and ki’l’led. Eventually, she got married and had two kids with an ab’usive partner. At 17, she attempted su’icide for the first time; at 21, she began sh’ooting her’oin, and by 23, she was a full-on ad’dict. She rob’bed people, has sh’ot someone before, sto’le cars, and was constantly in ab’usive relationships.

“I am that person. I have 17 felony conv’ictions. I am the person you used to clutch your bag when I walked by you. I am the person that would randomly at’tack somebody in public. I was not a sav’ory person. Everybody was a vic’tim, and everybody was prey.”

Prison Sentences Saved Her
Ginny went to state pri’son three times. Every time she went, it gave her time to think, reflect, and get clean. Each time they released her, however, it was only a matter of time before she was using dr’ugs again. It was a “dr’ug vo’rtex” that she couldn’t escape.

Authorities ar’rested her one final time in December of 2012. She had spent the night on m’eth and he’roin, committing for’gery cri’mes, and was driving a sto’len truck. A c’op tried to pull her over for a broken light, and she pan’icked. Driving high, she nearly cra’shed into a tree while trying to esc’ape the officer. The funny thing is that when the officer ar’rested her, she felt relieved instead of upset.

Ginny Burton: Her Life Post-Prison
For the next seven years, she did social work. She worked with former inmates and people with dr’ug ad’dictions and mental health problems. Ginny then went back to school and got her high school diploma. She discovered that she was actually really good at learning, and she enjoyed it. The University of Washington then not only accepted her application, but they gave her a scholarship. At the age of 47, she began studying political science.

A Reconciled Relationship
Her husband, Chris Burton, had also just finished serving time. While she was in school, she worked hard to rebuild her relationship with him. With her help, he, too, is now clean. Ginny inspires him every day to achieve more. The couple moved to a small town outside of Seattle to a place that is quiet and peaceful.

“I see a lot of the things behind the scenes, the hard work she puts in, the passion, her fire. She really genuinely wants to help people. She wants to help those at the bottom rise to the top, and I believe that she will.” Chris says.

Where Are Her Kids?
Ginny tried hard to keep her kids away from her lifestyle. Unfortunately, growing up in the foster care system was hard on them.

“My 28-year-old son served a pr’ison sente’nce for something he did as a juv’enile. They char’ged him as an ad’ult. He doesn’t have the same kind of issues, but stuff happened in foster care because that’s where they ended up growing up,” she explains. “His sister is in active ad’diction, not to the extent that I was, but she’s dest’ructive to herself. So my lifestyle, even though she wasn’t directly exposed, still impacted her, and she’s dealing with things the same exact way.”

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