Heartache to Hope to Happiness

Ciara Thigpen
Tell us about your (or your loved one's) recovery journey. What has been the most rewarding part?


I would like to start by saying thank you for taking the time to read this, it means a lot to me. I want to tell you a little about myself.

I had a really great childhood, and my parents always went well beyond my needs and wants. Although I remember feeling like I didn’t fit in anywhere, I don’t recall a time in my life that I was truly happy. I always felt like I had this void in me that nothing would fill. I tried everything; sports, art, music. I felt empty until the day came when I had my first drink. I remember being with the neighborhood kids, and all of a sudden I felt okay. I thought I had found an area where I belonged, I could feel that void closing and all of a sudden I had friends. The more I drank the happier I felt, it was euphoric. I remember thinking to myself, “This is how I want to feel for the rest of my life” and so I made it a point to drink as often as I could. It didn’t take long for my drinking habits to push everyone away. I had no friends left, I was fighting with my parents, and I hated who I had become. I blamed God for all of it.

During my sophomore year in college, I asked my parents for help, I knew I was in a rabbit hole and I couldn't get myself out. We tried countless treatment centers and therapists, I just didn’t get it. We blew through my college fund and my mom even took out a loan to keep me in sober living. Unfortunately, that didn’t last long and I left my parents with no choice but to let go and hope that I made it out alive. I spent the next few months homeless in Asheville, NC. The longer I was there, the further down the hole I went. I was using any drugs I could get my hands on. I woke up one morning and found myself sharing a bed with my deceased fiance. I had hit rock bottom, and I decided that I didn’t and wouldn’t live that way anymore. I wanted to try treatment again. I was finally willing to be sober.

I was able to pay my way through a program in Atlanta, GA. There I learned how to believe in a higher power, communicate and work through my feelings. Finally, a place where I belong, where I have friends, and the love of the group that fills the void in me. Two years later, I’m happy with myself. I'm in a place in my life where I want to keep pushing myself to achieve bigger and better things. The next big goal is to finish the degree I started four years ago. With two years sober, I am graduating from my program. I have been fully self-supporting while working full time. I will finally have enough time to go back to college. I have applied to transfer to a local university to finish my bachelor's degree.

While I’m in school I would like to give back by reaching out to the struggling youth in Georgia schools in hopes of connecting with them through my story. Let's help each other achieve our biggest dreams and stop the youth substance use disorder.

Thank you so much for your support!

Sober & Free,


Do you have a message for the Shatterproof community?

Stay strong! Recovery can happen at the least expected time.