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Fort Wayne woman turns struggles into book, passion to help others

Tyhria "Ty" Williams of Fort Wayne hopes telling her story of addiction, suffering abuse and recovery will help others. Her book is "Pure Gold: Processed in the Fire." (By Kevin Kilbane of News-Sentinel.com)

Tyhria “Ty” Williams’ life kept bouncing from good times to rough times to drug and alcohol use to sentences in jail or prison.

But while in prison several years ago, Williams, now 44, began to write.

“My writing would take me out of my situation,” the Fort Wayne resident said.

She saved everything she wrote and gave them to her father in envelopes marked “Do Not Open,” she said. When she got out of prison in 2011, he gave her the envelopes and she started shaping them into a book, “Pure Gold: Processed in the Fire.”

“My goal for my book is to reach ladies, addicts and mothers who think it’s over — there’s hope,” she said.

Born and raised in East Chicago in northwest Indiana, Williams said she grew up as the only child in a family with a close connection to relatives.

SUFFERING ABUSE

At age 10, she said a babysitter molested her. In later years, she said she was molested and raped.

Her first husband allegedly became abusive, and she started drinking and doing drugs, she said. He moved their family first to Virginia and then to Texas.

In Texas, she took their two children and went to a women’s shelter, she said. If she completed the shelter’s program, the organization would provide her with a house.

Instead, she met what she thought was “the love of my life,” and they moved in together. One day while checking the mail, however, she found a letter to him saying he was HIV positive — and he hadn’t told her.

“I began to self-destruct,” she said, referring to drug and alcohol abuse and continuing to have unprotected sex with her partner even after learning he was HIV positive.

Fortunately, she said, neither she nor the two children she had with man are HIV positive, she learned later.

She continued to struggle with addiction in the coming years.

“This last time, I was on an 11-day binge and almost died,” Williams said.

TURNING POINT

She ended up in the Porter County Jail. A friend who had success going through the recovery program at Genesis House in Fort Wayne recommended Williams try it. She did.

At Genesis House, Williams said the staff told her she was like a broken bone that had healed incorrectly, so they needed to break it again, reset it and let it heal correctly.

That process included role-playing, some of which involved talking to the people who had preyed on her. The program also provided her with a house in which to live.

Williams also has been participating in the Blue Jacket program, which has helped build her self-esteem and has given her job and other skills, she said.

She now hopes to help others who are going through what she experienced.

“That’s my passion,” she said. “I want to see them come from the dirt like me and watch their progress.”

LEARN MORE

For more about Tyhria “Ty” Williams and her book, “Pure Gold: Processed in the Fire,” go to her website.

The book is available for purchase for $15.38 at Barnes & Noble and Amazon.com. She also has copies of the book in a few libraries, including the Allen County Public Library system.

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