Shannon Kitchens had struggled with alcohol and drugs for 20 years when she finally hit bottom. One day last summer, she says, she was behind the wheel of her mother's car when a police officer stopped her for the second day in a row.
She had an open bottle of booze sitting in the seat beside her. But instead of arresting her, the officer told her to park the car and let her go. The 41-year-old former weight trainer, who got hooked on the painkiller OxyContin after an injury and later started using heroin, went back to her mother's Shoreline home, crawled into a tub and had what might be called a "Come to Jesus" talk with herself.
"I was sitting in the bath and said, 'I have to stop or I'm going to die,'" Kitchens recalls.
She called around to treatment centers and got into a methadone program on Airport Way S. in Seattle. While riding the bus to the site, she says, she kept passing a little storefront on the corner of Second and Bell with a sign that read Recovery Caf