When I was 16 years old, I got drunk for the very first time. I thought it was normal because I was drinking with my friends on the weekend, and that’s what high school kids did. So I continued to party and drink, then two years later I tried cocaine for the first time and loved it immediately.
My addiction got really bad when my mom passed away after battling pancreatic cancer for two years. She had left behind a lot of painkillers – so I used those and alcohol to deal with the grief. It was a downhill spiral from there. Within a few weeks, the $10,000 I was given after my mom passed was gone to drugs, alcohol, and partying.
Life continued to spiral out of control. I began getting in trouble with the law and wound up: getting arrested for possession, being sentenced to probation, not complying with my probation, and serving nine months in prison.
This led to my family telling me that they don’t want me around anymore. I had been giving our family name a bad reputation, so they asked me to leave. Not just leave our home, but leave the entire state. For reasons I didn’t understand at the time, I decided to go to Raleigh, North Carolina. I know now that it is because God wanted me to go to Healing Transitions.
I only had $400 and the clothes on my back, so I started working at a bar and living out of a hotel. I wound up getting connected with a pain management doctor to get painkillers prescribed to me, but that didn’t last long before they cut me off. So one of the people I was working with hooked me up with a heroin dealer, and I began shooting heroin. Getting heroin became my one and only goal every single day. Eventually, I lost my job.
The first time I heard about Healing Transitions was in jail. I had been arrested for possession after trying to jump a taxi, and the driver called the police. I didn’t have the money to bail out this time, so I had to stay locked up. A lot of the women there had been to HT before, and they were talking to me about their experience. I was out of any other options, so I sent an email to the Director of Programs. As soon as I was released from jail, a few HT participants picked me up and brought me to the women’s campus.
The first week at Healing Transitions
The very first night that I was at Healing Transitions, I was sitting on my bed when another woman who was in the shelter with me came up and handed me an envelope with a stamp on it and a razor. She said “here, you’re going to need these”. That action might not have been significant to anyone else, but it was the nicest thing someone had done for me in a long time. Later that night, the detox monitor that was working told me not to worry, I was in a safe place and I never have to go back to living the life I was living before.
That first week at Healing Transitions was a mixture of different emotions and physical pain. I was still feeling the side effects of withdrawal – the pain in my bones, the sweats, the feeling of wanting to jump out of my skin. I also was torn emotionally. On one hand, I knew this was a safe place. I knew that this place would give me shelter, food, and a place to sleep. But on the other hand, I was terrified. The thought of me not being able to drink or get high ever again was terrifying to me. How was I going to live this life of sobriety? Other than fear, I was numb. I wasn’t able to feel happy or sad or even care about anything.
I was very stubborn for the first couple of months of the program. I was given 87 concerns from my peers throughout my time at Healing Transitions and wrote over 48,000 words. I got in a lot of conflicts with the other women and had a hard time listening to suggestions that were given to me by my peers. I even lost my commitment in the Planning Room because I had snuck a man (who is now my better half and father to our beautiful boy) into one of the offices during an Alumni event. I really wanted to talk to him, but I wasn’t allowed to because I was given a “man ban”. I later did my commitment in the kitchen, which was still a great experience.
As I got into the later part of the program, I found a job and started saving up enough money to move out. No matter how hard-headed, stubborn, and defiant I was, I was always committed to completing the program, even after having to leave the program early because I broke my “man ban” rule again. Although I had left the program, the HT community continued to help me finish what I had started. One year later, I stood in front of that community and petitioned to get my Silver Chip and transition into Alumni status. They accepted.
My life in recovery
Because of this program, my life is amazing. I’m a mom now! Never in a million years would I have thought that I would be capable of taking care of another human being. I have a beautiful family. I’m a reliable employee, now. I’m able to be present and not have to run off to the bathroom to get high or take a shot. I’m able to be of maximum service to my employer. I’m able to pay for my apartment.
I have my family, who wanted me to completely leave the state and wouldn’t contact me in any way, back in my life. My sister asks me to bring my family and visit her – she trusts me to stay in her house now. My dad will come out to visit us, now. They are always calling and asking how I am, asking for advice, all of the normal things that families do. I have that back.
If you ask me now, I’m not embarrassed to say that I’m a person in recovery. I will gladly tell you that I was a severe drug addict and alcoholic. Not because I’m proud of my past, but because of what recovery and Healing Transitions has given me today. I am an example that people can change and become a purposeful person in society.
Join Healing Transitions for National Recovery Month as we try to raise $80,000 to give 80 people their first month in recovery! On September 27th, we will cap off the month with a Day of Giving, where an anonymous donor has generously offered a $20,000 day-of-giving match! This means the impact of your gift on the 27th will be doubled dollar-for-dollar up to $20,000! Find out how you can help out HERE!