CHICAGO (CBS) — Meagan Washington-Sims sent CBS 2 an extraordinary email outlining a life that began under the worst of circumstances.

“I was born in the late 80s to a cocaine-addicted mother and an absentee father.”

Now she wants everyone to know her inspiring story to show there is hope when things seem hopeless.

“Even though it’s my life, I’m still in disbelief at times,” she wrote in an email explaining her story. In person, her story really comes to life.

Meagan’s mom was addicted to cocaine when she gave birth. So Meagan’s great-grandmother adopted her. Meagan appeared in a Chicago TV news story about cocaine babies with that great-grandmother nearly 30 years ago.

“I get pleasure proving people wrong, beating the odds,” she said. Meagan entered the U.S. Army after graduating from high school. Then she went on to college and graduate school.

“My great-grandmother told me when I was a kid ‘you can use what happened to you as a stepping stone or a crutch. That decision is up to you,'” she said.

Her path led to a job as a manager at Aunt Martha’s, the very agency that helped her as a child. Meagan is now helping others just like her.

“It brings me great joy knowing I can be there, be a role model,” she said.

“Her relationship with the kids is very positive and uplifting,” said Aunt Martha’s vice president Philoniese Moore.

Back in 1988, society used a term to describe babies like Meagan.

“Crack baby is one of those phrases I loathe. It angers me,” said Meagan.

But she’s about to add a title she’s happy to be called: doctor.

“I had to work twice as hard. So be where I am at 30, a doctoral student, a U.S. Army veteran and now working for the agency that managed my case, it feels good. It feels amazing.”

Meagan’s doctoral studies include how yoga can help children cope. One of her dreams: to someday open a yoga studio. She now has a relationship with both her biological mother and father.