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

Addiction dragged me through hell time and time again- but maybe without that I wouldn't now see, through sobriety, how beautiful life really is.

Do you have a message for the Shatterproof community?

Only you can get you clean. But if you want it, you can have it.

I started using drugs at a fairly young age. I got introduced to the wrong group of people and was at a stage of my life where if you told me not to do something, that gave me the push to defy. The drugs got more frequent and I began to move onto harder drugs. Before I knew it, pain killers progressed to heroin and from an outsiders perspective as well as my own, the conclusion was that I was already too far gone. I struggled to get sober for years; gaining maybe a month or two sober at a time. It was fun at first, or so I thought. Before I knew it, I was only living for the drug. I pushed everything away; family, goals, values... everything. I can not say I pushed friends away because looking back I know now that I really did not have any. I had people I used with that I did care about but when you are so numb on heroin you really don't know what a healthy relationship feels like. I went to rehab numerous times, most of them forced by family and law enforcement. Deep down I didn't think I was ready to give it up and I didn't think it was possible. Being a chronic relapser I began to accept that getting high was going to be how my life would continue and end.

Something changed. They tell you not to put your faith or sobriety into another person but I did just that. I met someone who was in sobriety as well, and would not give up on me no matter how many times he should have. I moved my location where I was living, cut off communication with everyone I used with. Unfortunately, but the sad truth is today not many of them are still living. Dozens, dead from overdoses or drug related suicide. But I am here.

If you asked me five years ago where I would imagine my life would be today, I would have told you it would have been highly unlikely to still be alive at 26. Today, I know what love feels like, including how it feels to love myself. I have an amazing family, my superhero boyfriend, and now a beautiful 4 month old son that I cannot imagine my life without. I try to be a better person every day I wake up because I was lucky enough to get a second (100th) chance on life. I have healthy goals now, to be the best person I can be. Sometimes I have thoughts of how my life was- and honestly sometimes getting high was easier than living life sober. Living sober we are faced with challenges and unpleasant emotions sometimes and we can't run and hide behind a needle and a bag of dope.

I wouldn't trade my life for anything in this world. Especially looking into the eyes of my son I know that I made it out alive for a reason.