Learning to live a life without the influences of a substance was the first step in my own recovery. It was exactly what I had to do to survive.
I grew up with siblings who dabbled in illegal drug use and became consumed by the grips of addiction. I tried for many years to not go down that slippery path. But that was exactly where I ended up after several life-altering traumas. I became so broken and hopeless that I began to believe it was just my lot in life. I had resorted to the life style of fast cash and prescription drugs after being a passenger of an auto accident, which left me having to have back surgery after a year of self-medicating my own pain. I was told if I didn’t have the surgery that I would end up being paralyzed from the neck down. Sadly the disease of addiction justified my use of narcotics and gave me access to pain management clinics. I never once imagined how it would affect my life or my loved ones as well as the community around me.
I became incarcerated after selling controlled prescription narcotics. And that is where my recovery began. I wasn’t offered treatment or any kind of get out of jail free card. No passing go, and no collecting $200. This clearly was not a game. I was a first-time felon and I was being made an example of. I was sentenced in 2008 to a sentence of 4 years and 11 months.
August 21, 2008 was my first day without a drug. It was inside the institution of Ohio Reformatory for Women that I found hope, and learned the value of my own self-worth. That I am a life worth saving. I was completely on my own, no family, no income, no letters, and no visits. Unknowingly at that time it was the breaking point and humbling that I needed in order to strive in surviving. In the acceptance of my powerlessness, I came to believe in a power greater than myself. I learned to have gratitude in all of my accomplishments and even in my mistakes. I started setting goals and dreaming of a better life. Through my recovery support I began to see that I can make the changes that I sought in my life. Which led me to want to help others to find their own value and to succeed in their lives. Upon my release in 2013, I started a new life in an unfamiliar area and didn’t allow anything to stand in my way. I accomplished many goals and continued to learn more about the disease of addiction by finding employment in courts and corrections, detox treatment centers and recovery houses. I learned from the many clients that I have met as well as others employed in this field that there are many pathways of recovery. Helping these individuals through peer support allows me to share my story and the obstacles that I have had to overcome. Giving them the hope and encouragement to find their own path and to learn how to live a new way of life.
Peer Recovery Support means hope to me, and that I can use my life experiences to encourage others that no matter what knocks us down in life, we don’t have to stay down. We can always rise above.