Episode 60: Since Childhood she Lived with Uncertainty, from Psychological Abuse to Sexual Abuse

Guest: Candace Alley

As early as 6 years old, Candace recalls experiences of sexual abuse which she openly speaks about, she expresses as a child it was a confusing period for her, knowing it wasn’t right, but not knowing what really to do about it. Candace grew up in a dysfunctional home, and continued to strive to make her mother proud, but felt she could not no matter how much she tried. She was struggling with her mental health at 14, needing time and attention, her father came to recognize her needs which led to relocation to live with her father. The relocation resulted in being far away from her familiar surroundings, family, and friends. She shares at that time how she attempted suicide, and despite being able to see life from a different angle, she still found herself in multiple tough situations. At 17 she was forced into a sexual situation, became pregnant and then gave birth, 13 months later she then gave birth to a stillborn. Candance speaks about her journey through substance use, how she was introduced to it, the downward spiral she went through, learning of mental health diagnoses, the marriage she was in before she made changes to her life that stuck. Candance found light at the end of the tunnel, she describes how hard it was to work on herself and face her demons, but with her newly built support system she made it to where she never thought she would get to. Her key message to the listeners is that: when feelings of hopelessness and helplessness show up, know that people can relate to you; people care about you; there are resources out there; if you don’t know where to start, start with your national suicide prevention hotline, any resource line is a good starting point.


Guest Bio: Candace is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Trauma Resource Network Inc. She has combined experience of 17+ years in the non-profit sector and being self-employed. In prior years, Candace owned an online fashion mall and as a business and leadership development coach has served her last nine years in the role of an executive board member for Magnolia Place Homeowners Association. Candace also serves on her county’s Consumer and Family Advisory Committee (CFAC) and has organized and led multiple community events in Orange County since moving to Hillsborough, North Carolina in 2010 from Caldwell County, North Carolina where she was born and raised.


When asked, Candace often refers to herself as a ‘human doing’ rather than a ‘human being’ because she is always trying to do something to pay it forward in some way for others. Candace is actively involved at the local, state, and national level for peer supporters across the country. She believes wholeheartedly that people with lived experiences that are willing to admit to and work through their struggles will always be valuable to the treatment team model. Candace is a firm believer that bonds are formed through shared experiences that peers can convey in a professional setting while still maintaining and creating boundaries.


Passionate about: