It's Never Too Late

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

Sometimes I wish that I never had a problem. I wish I could be normal...what is normal anyway? Today, five years later, I am the happiest I have ever been in my life. I wish at times that I would have discovered recovery a long time ago. It just wasn't meant to be then. I had to go through what I did to become who I am today. My daughter also discovered recovery and now both of us are living a life that we never imagined we could. Life is life, so there are always going to be ups and downs. We both are involved with the 12 step community and I know for me, it has been a lifesaver for sure.

Do you have a message for the Shatterproof community?

The only message I can give is this, it is never too late. I am now 57 years old and living a life beyond my wildest dreams. I also want to say that recovery is not one size fits all. You need to do WHATEVER it takes for you to live a life free of illegal substances. If that means you need MAT, then by all means, do it. Everyone has an opinion and no one can live your life. You have to be your very own advocate. Don't let anyone tell you by choosing MAT that you are not clean or in recovery. There is a big difference in addicted and dependent.

I always felt different, always marched to my own beat. I think I was always searching for love and to feel loved. My parents divorced when I was 5 and I idolized my father as most girls do. Needless to say, he was never around. I went from one relationship to another, always fueled by alcohol and drugs. I had periods of time when I did not drink or do drugs, but I always went back to it. When I drank and did drugs I felt lovable, I felt like I could do anything, be anyone I wanted to be. I had my daughter at the age of 22 and was so happy. I was determined to be the mother I never had. We were buddies. As I got older and then she got older we started "partying" together. We had weekend "porch parties" that started on Friday and ended on Sunday. I never thought I had a problem because I never lost a job, wrecked a car or got arrested...YET! When I was 42 I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis and was in a lot of pain. I discovered pain management at that time. I also met a man. We had been dating about two months before I discovered he was a heroin addict. I immediately tried to "save" him. When I discovered I couldn't do that and I was tired of bank rolling his addiction, I decided to join him. I found true love at that moment. My life then revolved around opiates. Pretty soon I was running out of my medication from the pain management doctor a weeks after getting my prescription filled. Having discovered heroin though saved me a ton of money. I am now a 45 year old with a heroin addiction. Crazy! This went on until I was 52. I had a short stint in rehab and started using again as soon as I got out. I hit my bottom and just wanted to end it all. I had overdosed numerous times. I got caught stealing from my father. In my sick mind, I figured he owed it to me since he was not around when I was growing up. So I opened credit cards in his name and spent over $40k on who knows what. I did not want to go to jail and I had no idea what he was going to do. I tried to end my life and thankfully I was unsuccessful. Off to rehab I went, initially just to save myself from jail. During this period of time something just clicked. I knew this was not the way I wanted to live my life. I didn't like the person I had become. I knew that I had to separate from my husband. He just had this hold over me and I could never tell him no. I was in rehab for 4 months. One month after I got out, I was then 6 months clean, he overdosed and died. I know in my heart, had I gotten back in contact with him, I would have been right there with him. I have been on MAT ever since and my quality of life is amazing.