"It feels so good to know that I can face whatever life throws at me," Jaycee Dugard tells PEOPLE

By Tierney McAfee
Updated June 30, 2016 06:00 PM
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Credit: The Orange County Register/Zuma

brightcove.createExperiences(); It’s been seven years since kidnapping victim Jaycee Dugard was freed after enduring 18 years in captivity. Since then the 36-year-old has been living a life of firsts – from her first time behind the wheel, to her first taste of champagne, to her first thoughts of one day finding love.

In next week’s issue of PEOPLE, Dugard – who was 11 when she was kidnapped in 1991 – shares an exclusive excerpt from her second memoir, Freedom: My Book of Firsts, and opens up about her new life in an exclusive interview.

“It feels so good to know that I can face whatever life throws at me, because I’ve been through the worst kind of hell already – and survived,” says Dugard, who gave birth to two daughters while she was a prisoner.

In her new memoir, she focuses not on the sorrows of her past but on the joys of her present, including her horses, reading and her daughters.

“Do I wonder what my life would have been like if Phillip and Nancy Garrido never snatched me?” Dugard writes in her memoir. “You bet your last dollar I do!”

But, she later adds, “I have rebuilt my life. Little moments. One day at a time.”

Freedom: My Book of Firsts is due out July 12.