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Student profile: Billie Tiger

Billie TigerLAKE WORTH — Billie Tiger is all too familiar with the pain of addiction and wants to spend her life helping others who suffer from the same.

To reach her goal, she will soon earn an associate of science degree in human services at Palm Beach State College. Tiger plans to continue her education at Florida Atlantic University where she will work toward bachelor’s and master’s degrees in social work.

With degrees in hand, she hopes ultimately to become a therapist for the Tribe’s Family Services Department.

“I want to be able to help other recovering Tribal members and the children who are affected by addiction,” said Tiger, who has been in recovery for three and a half years.

“I can help them realize they don’t have to continue the pain and can experience life without alcohol and drugs,” she said.

Tiger, 36, comes from a family afflicted with addiction and has personally dealt with it since she was 18.

“I know the struggle firsthand,” she said. “I’ll be able to relate to them personally and clinically. I can help people even more because of my perspective.”

Social work seems to be a natural fit for Tiger. She enjoys her counseling classes and believes she will be an effective therapist because of her own experience. Knowing that healing is a long-term process will help her help others.

Tiger lives in Delray Beach, one of the top recovery communities in the country, according to The New York Times. She loves going to school, which is much easier for her now than it would have been when she was younger. She has fewer distractions, knows her goals and does what it takes to reach them.

“My determination is there,” she said. “I’m finally succeeding at something I started when I was 18. From struggling with addiction to completing an AS degree is just the best; there are no words.”

Tiger credits her father, Amos Tiger, as the biggest influence in her life. But she works part time in the Family Services Department and appreciates director Helene Buster’s confidence in her as well.

“Helene has a lot of years in recovery and she’s always been one of those who pushes me and believes in me,” Tiger said.

With continued determination, Tiger is confident she will meet her goals and enjoy a successful career.

“Never stop believing in yourself,” she said. “I take the time to see where I’ve been and where I’ve come to. I see my life as still good. One big aspect of recovery is today; you can’t live in tomorrow or yesterday.”

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Beverly Bidney
Beverly Bidney has been a reporter and photographer for The Seminole Tribune since 2012. During her career, she has worked at various newspapers around the country including the Muskogee Phoenix in Oklahoma, Miami Herald, Associated Press, USA Today and other publications nationwide. A NAJA award winning journalist, she has covered just about everything over the years and is an advocate for a strong press. Contact her at beverlybidney@semtribe.com.
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