Titles are a funny thing. We tend to give ourselves our own titles depending on what stage of life we are in or what activity we are participating in that day. People also tend to project titles on us at work, at home, behind our backs whether positively or negatively. Growing up "heroin addict" wasn't a title I thought myself or the world would ever give to me. But by 18 years old that's exactly what I was, a full blown heroin addict. My story isn't unusual or shocking or all the things someone who doesn't understand addiction would associate with the title, "heroin addict." In fact, aside from my divorced parents I lived a pretty normal, suburban childhood. I went to good schools and had every opportunity to succeed. I later realized that while everything on the outside may have looked picture perfect, inside I was struggling. Struggling with self-esteem, poor choices in relationships, feelings of not fitting in EVER, feelings of failure, etc. I drank alcohol alcoholically until I found cocaine. That began my downfall. When the cocaine stopped working, I was offered heroin. The first time I tried heroin I didn't even know what I was using. When people say addicts "choose" to be addicts they don't understand this part. The first time I tried heroin (after vomiting my guts up) I immediately felt better. I felt like the weight of the world that I was carrying left me. I felt like I wasn't a scared, insecure little girl anymore. I felt better. I chased that feeling of "feeling better" for years. By the time I was 20 I found myself in my first detox. Not understanding what I was really up against and the disease that had a hold on me I gave recovery no real effort. I vowed to give up heroin but couldn't possibly think of giving up alcohol before my 21st birthday let alone for the rest of my life. I turned 21 in November 2007 and was already fully back into my old ways. In January 2008 I was on a plane out of Philadelphia to Florida for rehab. When they asked me if I wanted to go to Florida or Minnesota my only thought was, "if I fail and end up homeless at least Florida is sunny and warm." I did fail. But on April 23, 2008 I surrendered. I no longer give myself the title "heroin addict" but rather "person living in long term recovery."
With the opiate and opioid overdose crisis that we are facing everyone wants to believe that it is possible to recover. I am living proof. Since that day I surrendered I have not used a drink or a drug. I am not a junkie. I am a productive member of society. If you saw me dropping off my daughter for kindergarten you would never know my past. I graduated college in recovery. I became a therapist in recovery. I found a husband and got married in recovery. I had 3 beautiful daughters (3 c-sections) in recovery. Life isn't always rainbows and butterfly's. I have experienced heart ache, break ups, lost friendships, job failures, death and funerals all while staying sober. There is no reason I should be alive let alone living a beautiful, chaotic, messy, and spiritual life. There is a reason I am still standing. There is a reason why I refuse to be anonymous and want to live my recovery out loud. We all need hope, we all need a purpose. God has inspired me to be the hope and to help others. I have dedicated my life and work to it. We will overcome the overdose crisis. I will continue to do my part to the best of my ability to put God first, my husband, my children and live for helping others. The more people I have been able to help the more they have helped me. I am grateful, I am hopeful, I am a person living in long term recovery.
For more realness and inspiration, you can follow my personal blog at https://familyfellowshipandthefrenchfrystore.wordpress.com/2019/01/
Thanks for letting me share.