Rising from dust

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

Hi, my name is Nickol and I am in recovery from addiction. Growing up I lived a pretty decent life other than my parents arguing and fighting with each other all the time. I had everything I could ever want and more. I got to travel and go on amazing vacations. My life was what every kid dreamed of. Never worried about my parents because it didn't matter to me because I got whatever I wanted. My life came to a stop at the age of 12 and my whole world shattered in front of me. My parents split from each other because of my dads infidelity. My moms attitude completely changed towards me and my siblings. I got the feeling that I was just a burden to her and the new guy she brought around us. At the age of 14, the guy my mom was with raped me and told me to keep quiet about it--my mom knew and did nothing to stop it. This is when my addiction started. I got put on hydrocodone shortly after that because I injured my knee in soccer and I became hooked immediately. I ended up having knee surgery and when I got home I remember still having morphine in my body and pain pills by my bed and I took one pain pill right when I got home and 30 minutes later took another one. At 14 years old, I was a full blown addict and didn't even know what recovery was and didn't know what addiction was either. At 14, I met my sons dad and by 15 I was pregnant. I stopped using while I was pregnant but after I gave birth I was right back at it. My sons dad told me to go to treatment or he will leave with my son. I told him that I don't need help and that I dont have a problem. I was in denial about it. He ended up taking our son and left. The next day after that my life took a nosedive for the worse. In school I was this athletic popular person who partied all the time. At 16 years old I tried heroin for the first time and four months later I was shooting it and abusing k2 and anything else I could get my hands on. Anything to take me out of reality and make me not have to focus on everything going on in my life. I would take and misuse. That went on for a couple more years. In those couple years I dated men that were drug addicts and dealers. Fast foward to 19 years old and this was when I first learned about recovery. I went to my first meeting and tried to stay sober but couldn't. I was missing something. I went to treatment and tried that. I got out and went to a halfway house and stayed sober for almost four months then relapsed. During that relapse I overdosed three times and went to treatment two more times. July 6, 2017 is the day my life changed. I was 24 hours out of rehab and overdosed in another halfway house. I overdosed on lithium, heroin, and acetaminophen. My body was shutting down on me while I was awake and by this point I was all alone and the people that were close to me asked me are you going to change your life. July 6, 2017 is my last day of use and July 7, 2017 is the day I claim as my sobriety date. I was in the hospital for a month, went back to rehab, got out and moved to Kansas where I lived for a year and a half. I now live back in Maryland and my life is awesome today. I have an amazing man in my life today who loves me. I have my son back in my life after not being able to have him for four years. I am able to be an amazing mom to him today because of sobriety. I have amazing opportunities in my life today all because of sobriety. I have a house and the list could go on forever. Most importantly, I am able to feel peace in my life instead of chaos. I am two years sober today and every moment of it has been a blessing. From living in halfway and oxford houses to now being on my own.

Do you have a message for the Shatterproof community?

Learning how to build true long lasting relationships is the best part about being in recovery.