Mt Rubidoux MFI LVN Leilin Briscoe is 4-foot 11-inches of smiles, energy and enthusiasm. Over the past year working at MFI, the powerhouse has earned the nickname, Tiny Wonder. The sole nurse at Mt Rubidoux, she helps clients through detox and recovery, which is often one of the toughest times of their lives. Clients trust her because, even though she has never struggled specifically with addiction, she has survived significant trauma—and lives to tell the tale.
At just 15 years of age, Leilin was at an Orange County gynecologist’s office with her sister, who was expecting a baby. While waiting to be called into the exam room, her sister asked Leilin to run across the street to pick up a snack she had been craving. Leilin immediately headed to a nearby convenience store. While she was standing on the street, a man approached in a black SUV. He said he had free samples in the back of his car; and invited her to take whatever she wanted. As she peeked into the back of his vehicle from what she thought was a safe distance, he slammed the door on her head, knocking her unconscious. When she awoke, she was tied to a bed in a strange room.
Her kidnapper immediately explained his plan to sell her as a sex slave. But Leilin was raised by a strong single mother, who taught her to fight. So, she took that advice to heart, stubbornly refusing to comply with virtually any of her captor’s demands. As a result, for two weeks, she was beaten daily, often almost to the point of death. Finally, despite her violent protests, the kidnapper told her that she had been sold to an attorney in Santa Barbara. One of his employees, a prostitute, was given the job to shuttle Leilin to a hotel for delivery.
Throughout the two-hour car ride from the OC to Santa Barbara, Leilin attempted to gain favor with her driver, to no avail. As they pulled up to the hotel, Leilin prepared herself for battle, certain that this was her final shot at freedom. She punched and yelled and kicked and screamed in what was literally the fight of her life, until the prostitute fell to the ground. Then, Leilin ran faster than she thought possible to the hotel lobby and tried to quickly but calmly explain her predicament to an attentive bellboy, who immediately ushered her to a locked room behind the desk, before calling police.
Law enforcement officers recognized that Leilin was the subject of a missing person’s report. So, they asked her to help them entrap the prostitute by calling her back to the hotel. Because of this Tiny Wonder’s brave actions, including testifying in open court against the prostitute and the leader of the sex trafficking ring— her kidnappers were eventually captured, convicted and imprisoned.
Leilin says the most difficult part of the grueling ordeal was to see the content seized from the criminals’ laptops, which underlined the depravity of man. Each computer was filled with her “ad,” along with dozens of white collar criminal bids. But because she had the nerve to fight, the bidders also faced conviction.
Although she managed to escape, Leilin was unable to avoid Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) as a result of the experience. That’s something she continues to manage 12 years later. Even so, she says the life-changing event was the perfect backdrop for her current position.
“I am a survivor of human trafficking. I know many people come to MFI after being raped or molested or experiencing other horrible things that often lead to their addictions. Because of what I’ve been through, I can help,” she says. “I am the way I am today because I am grateful to be alive. I realize I could easily have lost my life. So, I appreciate life. And I love sharing that outlook with others.”
Now a wife and mother of three of her own daughters, Leilin says one of the most important lessons the experience taught her was that you can’t judge a book by its cover.
“Sometimes, the guys (at Mt Rubidoux) get mad at me for being so positive when they are at their low point, during detox or something, when they are feeling sick and exhausted. But they usually apologize to me later if they cussed at me or yelled or something during their treatment. And they tell me that my positive attitude helped them get through the rough spots,” she says. “That’s what it’s all about. That’s why I’m at MFI.”
About Mt Rubidoux MFI
Our treatment center provides services to people who struggle with drug and alcohol abuse. Located in the shadow of Mt. Rubidoux in the City of Riverside, we provide structured and supportive addiction treatment in semi-private, comfortable apartment-style setting. Monitored by professional addiction specialists 24 hours a day, our modern apartments offer a haven for healing during the rehab process. Living and recovering in our Mt. Rubidoux residential treatment facility means becoming healthy again. Our clients receive intensive treatment and learn new, healthy strategies to sustain recovery. To find out more, call today 866-218-4697, or for non-admission related information, contact us at 951-683-6596.
About MFI Recovery
In addition to the Matrix Model, we rely on proven modalities to provide whole family care. Our programs are gender and age specific to ensure we meet individual needs. We furnish a comfortable and warm, home-like environment with structured, evidence-based methods of behavior modification and cognitive behavioral therapies. Our family systems approach treats the whole family to re-establish trust and mutual respect where it may have been damaged by substance use. For someone who is struggling with substance abuse, recovering alone is almost impossible. Our program helps individuals rebuild the close connections that are essential to successful recovery. To find out more, call today (866) 218-4697, or for non-admission related information, contact us at (951) 683-6596.