Porshea Moore is the first recipient of the Serenity Scholarship. The scholarship provides education opportunities for individuals who have struggled with substance use disorders and are taking steps to improve their lives. The $12,000 scholarship will enable Moore to further her education in the field of substance abuse counseling.
Moore currently lives in Waverly, N.Y., and is a certified recovery peer advocate for the Tioga County (N.Y.) Department of Mental Hygiene. She strives to help others struggling with substance use disorders, because she has been there.
Moore’s journey through addiction and recovery began roughly 10 years ago when she was prescribed pain medications by her doctor.
“The moment I took it I felt something I had never felt before,” Moore said. “It was a rush of dopamine. It was such a euphoric feeling.”
It wasn’t long before Moore began to abuse the drug and eventually buy it on the streets. As pain medications became harder to find, she tried heroin. Moore said it is difficult to describe the love you feel for that pain when taking heroin; you will do anything in the world to have it.
The addiction escalated to where Moore was taking $500 worth of heroin a day. After getting into legal trouble in 2013, Moore entered an intensive in-patient rehabilitation facility where she stayed for eight months. Moore credits that experience for creating her desire to change.
But the road to recovery isn’t always smooth. In 2015 Moore had a reoccurrence. She overdosed on heroin and was on life support for six weeks. Doctors were unsure if she would survive.
“That was a big wake up call,” Moore said. “I knew I had to do something.”
After eight weeks in the hospital, Moore checked herself into Helio Detox. Following her rehabilitation there, Moore was more determined than ever to help others in the same position and enrolled in a recovery peer advocacy course at Corning Community College.
It was there that she met Elaine Corwin, professor of community and public health education and director of the collegiate recovery center at CCC. Moore said, Corwin has been her biggest cheerleader as she has taken steps to improve her own life and help others.
“I’ve been teaching for 31 years and every once in a while a student comes along that stands out,” said Corwin. “I saw her potential and compassion for others. The lengths that she would go through to help others, she was very inspiring.”
After Moore completed the course, Corwin asked her if she would be able to help at the college’s community recovery center.
Corwin encouraged Moore to apply for the Serenity Scholarship after Moore expressed interest in continuing her education. She was thrilled to learn Moore received the scholarship.
“I was so excited. I can’t think of somebody more deserving. It is certainly going to make a difference for her,” said Corwin.
For Moore the scholarship enables her to continue to grow and pursue her passion.
“I would like Maureen to know that I am incredibly honored. Without her gift, I wouldn’t be able to advance in the field and help others,” Moore said. “When I first entered into recovery in 2014, the biggest thing I wanted to do was remove barriers for people suffering with substance use disorders. I will spend the rest of my life trying to help people who have substance use disorders.”
Along the way Moore has had numerous supporters who have encouraged and believed in her. Moore thanked Elaine Corwin, Tracey Austin, her drug and alcohol counselors Kerri and Michelle, community members Chris McGinnis, Barbi Mold, Tori Johnston, Christian and Willow Bachman, her mom and dad Judy and Tom, and her loving and supportive family.
“I could never have made it back from the living hell without my huge sober support network and the tribe who believed in me when I didn’t believe in myself. I will be forever grateful,” Moore said.