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‘Kritter Kim’ Makes Name For Herself Years After Mission Stay
In 2013, Kimra and her husband, along with their daughter and her son from a previous relationship, embarked on a new life, moving from Iowa out to Southern California. But Kimra, a recovering drug addict, noticed her addiction worsen when she came out west.
Kimra got divorced the next year, and got into a relationship in which she knew she and her children would be provided for. “I got with a guy who was very, very well off,” she said. “I didn’t have to work and I lived this fancy life. But my drug problem got way worse.”
Kimra’s addiction took over, and since her son and daughter were with her, the Department of Children and Family Services got involved. Kimra decided to make a change and entered Alcoholics Anonymous. “I didn’t want to be a drug addict anymore,” she said. “But I couldn’t move forward—I couldn’t heal—while I was staying in this dishonest relationship. I realized I couldn’t live with this person who I was only living with because he was supporting me. I was miserable there.”
But Kimra had “no money, no resources, and no support,” she said. “I was asked, ‘Have you ever thought of a shelter?’ I said, ‘Absolutely not.’ Why would I take my kids out of this situation, where they have everything they need, and put them in a shelter? I was imagining a warehouse full of cots.”
As time went on, and Kimra yearned to make a real change, she started doing some research. “I realized no one was going to do it for me,” she said. “I needed to do some footwork. I started looking online, and I found (the Mission), and I looked at the pictures. I said, ‘I want to go here.’”
Kimra interviewed and was accepted and made the move in early summer 2017. “When I left for the shelter, with no money, it was the hardest decision I have ever made,” she said. “My sponsor told me, ‘The bigger the leap of faith, the bigger the blessing.’ My biggest worry was ruining my children’s lives.”
But that concern soon dissipated. Kimra’s 11-year-old son came with her, and her daughter, 5, went to live primarily with her dad, although she was with Kimra on the weekends. “It was like sleepaway camp,” Kimra said. “They had other kids to play with, and you get to have bunk beds—who doesn’t love bunk beds?”
Kimra, who had previously worked in restaurant management and at a car rental office, started looking for work. A woman in early recovery once told her to find a job that has a risk component that would give her that adrenaline rush she craved. “I met a guy who caught rattlesnakes in Northern California,” she said. “I thought I could be good at that. I googled ‘Pest Control Company’ and the first one I talked to, I asked, ‘Are you hiring and do you train?’ And he said, ‘Actually, yes.’”
Kimra interviewed that afternoon. She was honest about being a recovering drug addict and living in a shelter. It turns out her new boss was also a recovering addict. She was hired, was given a work truck, and started right away. “A big part of the job was treating gopher mounds, so I’d be walking up and down these hills, treating holes, spraying buildings,” Kimra said. “I’m a pretty happy and bubbly person, but I dragged myself in the door every day filthy and tired. They did a little animal trapping there, and that happens to be my niche. I loved it.”
Kimra saved up and moved out of the Mission at the end of 2017. “My love of animal trapping led me to my current job, where I worked my way up—I run the company now!”
In January, Kimra gave her notice. She’ll be moving back to Iowa in June to live on the property she was raised on and start her own trapping business. She’s more than three years sober. “I’m doing really well,” she said. “The Mission was really my jumping off point. The staff were all great and so supportive. They really wanted to help. And meeting with the case worker every week, going over your goals…that accountability, going over what needs to be done and how they could help you, was really helpful.
“I’m taking the skills I’ve learned and applying them. I want to have a simple life. My priorities have changed.”
To see Kimra in action trapping all sorts of animals around town, click here to check out her YouTube Channel, or find her channel under “Kritter Kim.”
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