Woman battles addictions, inner demons to get college degree

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WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Graduating from high school or college is a big accomplishment.  But, it’s an even bigger feat for a Wichita woman who did both after she turned 40.

That’s when Susan Harris decided to turn her life around and put drug addiction and domestic violence behind her.

“Twenty-eight years. I went from weed to cocaine to alcohol,” said Harris.

From a lifetime of drug abuse to a college degree, Harris shared her story Friday night at Newman University’s Baccalaureate Mass, hoping to inspire others.

“It’s amazing,” said Harris. ” I mean I started at the shelter and found education, and as I worked hard, people acknowledged me and started respecting me.”

First, she earned her GED, then set her sights on business school, dealing with her inner demons along the way.

“Counseling, domestic violence, addiction” Harris said. ” There’s a lot of baby steps I had to take, but I set small goals at first, and seven years later I’m here to graduate.”

She says she’s proof it’s never too late to change your career or your life.

“My prospects are good, I will continue to grow and keep pushing forward.  It’s not the last time you’ll see me.”

Susan credits her family and several Catholic nuns with supporting her along the way.

She gets her degree Saturday a Newman’s commencement ceremony.

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