Addiction Survivors Help Spread Awareness About Finding a Forever Recovery
Article by Cecelia Johnson and Photos by Pixabay
Every September, we observe National Recovery Month — but if you ask me, addiction is a mental health issue that deserves awareness year-round. I have been thinking about the millions of people who suffer through substance abuse. When the drug epidemic is discussed, these people tend to be the forgotten ones, and their struggles are a huge component of this epidemic.
Being a recovering addict is no easy feat. I have great respect for those who work tirelessly to maintain their sobriety. For many — if not most — of these brave souls, it is a daily battle.
To promote recovery awareness, I reached out to several graduates of addiction treatment. Here are some of the stories they shared with me.
‘Before going to treatment, I was lost’
Jeremy, a graduate of alcohol treatment in Michigan, told me that thoughts of suicide were the red flags that spurred him to seek help.
“My life before I got to treatment was pretty hectic. I had just gone through a divorce, so my using on top of that made life a constant battle. Every day I'd wake up, and I’d start drinking just to function. It got to the point where every night I was blacking out. I really didn't feel the need to live anymore. It's the first time in my life that that crossed my mind. It was scary, and I knew I needed help.”
Sober and ready to face the world, Jeremy feels like a new man.
“Before going to treatment, I was lost, and I didn't think a program would be able to give me that. But now I am at peace with myself, and I actually have the confidence to go to the world outside of treatment. I have goals now in life.”
‘I've changed from the moment I got to treatment’
Alex told me he was also at a very dark point in his life when he made the decision to seek help.
“Before I went to treatment, I was doing OxyContin, Opana and painkillers. It was really driving me to a low point in my life, and I decided I needed to change. So I went to [a treatment center], and it has been life-changing. I started to steal sentimental items from my family, and that really started to tear me apart inside. It was not who I was at all, so I knew I needed a big change in my life”
He didn’t know what to expect when he entered treatment, but Alex told me he felt “a hundred pounds lighter” once he made the decision.
“As long as you're willing to choose to make it work for you, and as long as you have the choice to make a change, you will change. I can definitely say I've changed from the moment I got to treatment.”
‘I've realized that there is another way’
Tara’s traumatic experience was the turning point for her to seek help.
“I went to treatment because I had been an IV heroin user for 8 years. I have a 2-year-old son that I lost custody of due to my drug use — that was the last straw. A month before I went to treatment, I was actually shot 8 times. I was shot because I was going to meet a drug dealer and things went bad — things went very wrong — and he shot me.”
Grateful for her newfound tools to manage sobriety, Tara is ready to handle what the world throws at her.
“I've realized that there is another way, that I am capable of living a sober life, and that I can be happy without drugs.”
Join me in recognizing those who make the commitment to live clean and sober. Through their success stories, others can find hope.