My Journey to Freedom

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

I probably should have known I was addict from a young age but I had no idea. I was always one to question everything and wanted to be anything but normal.

I was 14 years old and in my first serious relationship and got pregnant. I had my daughter at 15. I only mention this because I had addictive behavior at this age. I started working and when I do something I go above and beyond. I worked two job and was working towards graduating from high school with honors. I worked very hard and walked a very straight arrow line. I had a mission to prove that I was not your statistic. I did not party with my friends in high school, I was actually not fond of it at all. I graduated with honors as senior class president.

That summer I went to beach week with friends. I drank a couple times before and smoked cigarettes, but this trip was my first time really being drunk and I loved it! When I drank I felt beautiful and confident. I truly thought I was a better version of me. I worked the rest of the summer planning to attend community college in the fall.

My dad died 8/19/2002. I turned 18 the next day. The week of my dad's funeral I drank so much and this time to numb the pain. I realised quickly that drinking was not doing it for me. In 2002 ecstasy was very popular among my friends. One night that first week being 18 I bought a ten pack of pills. I took 2 of them and was not scared the least bit. That alone should have scared me the fact I was so care free. Truth be told I was hurting so bad I could not stand to feel the pain. My life changed after that night for the rest of my life.

That year I took E every day and tried cocaine a few times. I had taken up smoking pot daily and drinking several days week as well. I had gotten a decent job as a barber and school quickly became useless. I moved out with my daughter because I could not seem to follow the rules of my mothers home. The next year I had quit doing ecstasy and took up snorting coke. I met my ex-husband in 2004, and I was introduced to OxyContin this same year. Opiates changed everything. The next few years I used oxy daily. I had my son in 2005, I had managed to quit for the 10 months I was pregnant with him. In 2005 I married my ex, had my son. We used daily together.

When I was 22 I found the needle while buying pills. My life really took a turn. I got pregnant again and this pregnancy was very different. I was now shooting up any opiate while being pregnant. I had been diagnosed with Hep C that same year. I had my son and he was born addicted. He then died 18 days later to SIDS. I then was given a great excuse to try and kill myself and drown my sorrows with drugs. I hated myself. In the next few years I was raped, robbed at gunpoint. I went to treatment several times and continued to use when any opportunity came around. I finally ran into some legal issues and through that I finally heard about recovery. I should probably say I finally listened. I ended up doing several years in prison and began attending 12 step meetings. While I was there, I found my higher power. I did a lot of work on myself. I made a decision to turn my will over to my god.

I am now working full-time. I am a student at Indiana Tech. I am getting my Bachelor's in Human Services with a minor in addiction counseling. I am working towards becoming a peer recovery specialist and eventually a addiction counselor. I love life today. I have custody of my 14-year-old son and my daughter is in college. Life is not always easy, but it is possible. I never thought I would ever be able to turn my life around. I thought I would have to die to end my addiction. But I am alive and living out my dreams. It does take hard work and it is not always easy. I am not cured but I am recovered. I am engaged to a wonderful man who is also in recovery. I am not afraid of normal. I love myself and that is the most important message. Love is in everything. God is powerful. Pray. Recovery is possible!

Do you have a message for the Shatterproof community?

Never give up