Counselor and recovering addict Mitzi Scott is profiled in our second annual People Issue.

One of the things that attracted me to Mitzi Scott is the forthright way she shoots down stereotypes. A recovering heroin addict clean for more than 12 years now, she at one time spent four on the streets of Chicago, homeless. People tend to assume that women in her position turn tricks to supply their habits, she told me. But in fact, she says, that’s a last resort—her first hustle was the stickup.

Since then she’s had a lot of mentors, among them Larry E. Ross, a beloved Kennedy-King professor and addictions counselor who died last year. She credits him with helping her to change while keeping herself intact, telling her, “You continue to get better, but who you are is all right.”