September 5, 2019

Voices in Recovery, September is National Recovery Month

Across the country, people in recovery are celebrating their successes and sharing them with others in an effort to educate the public about treatment, how it works, for whom, and why. Cascadians are sharing their personal stories of recovery in the hope that it will inspire and encourage others. Together we are stronger and can create a #wholecommunity. #nationalrecoverymonth

I am a Certified Recovery Mentor at the Garlington Health Center. This is my story:
I started when I was 11 — it was the 70s in Southern California — and didn’t stop for the better part of 40 years. The only time I did stop was when I was pregnant, breastfeeding or in jail. It’s not that I was trying to numb anything or mask any pain, my life was awesome.  My whole life all I knew and saw were addicts. From my Mom, siblings, friends, neighbors, business owners. It was the “normal” thing to do, like breathing. I have done almost everything (except Kratom or Fentynal).  I had a blast using. I hung out with dealers and my drugs were usually free. I never had a bad trip, even on acid. I am in no way trying to glorify it, I’m just being honest.
My addiction caused me to be a neglectful Mom, and for that I am ashamed. While we have a good relationship now, it was so unfair to them. They went to live with my brother twice because I went to jail for using.
I finally had enough when I did an 8-ball of some good meth and found that it wasn’t working anymore.  I figured I had two choices: start shooting up or get sober. I chose to get sober.  Now I have over seven years clean. It hasn’t been easy. I still miss my weed from time to time, but getting sober was the best thing I have ever done.
What gave me hope? The hope that it will get better. I was at rock bottoms basement. But I knew I was stronger than my addiction, I just had to face my demons, when I FINALLY had enough.
I started going to meetings, and after hearing other people’s stories and how they overcame their addictions they became someone to emulate — if they could do it, so could I.  Although I don’t know their names I remember their stories of experience, strength, and hope.
Now, my clients know my story and they know I can relate and empathize; they know I can walk the walk and talk the talk and it makes them feel more connected to me. They can relate to me because I can relate to them.
I’m proud to be working at Cascadia because of our whole health care vision. I have been able to guide my clients to get primary care appointments, chiropractic care and refer them to the employment specialist. We work as a team for the benefit of our clients. I like that I can talk to a mental health provider, the primary care provider, employment specialist or housing support team provider when we all have the same client.
What advice would I give? If you are on the fence about seeking help,  I would ask that you give it a year. If your life doesn’t get better after a year, you can get a full refund on all your misery and chaos. Take that first scary step, you won’t regret it. Reach out to those in the rooms, get a sponsor, work your recovery, and don’t be ashamed to ask for help. It takes a village, you have to do is reach out. The people in recovery are amazing and will do what they can to help you.
It can happen. It does get better. There absolutely is a life worth living after drugs. I promise.

There is more to my story but, that pretty much covers it in a nutshell.