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Growing up, I never felt comfortable in my own skin. I would see people on TV and try to mirror their appearance. I would adjust my personality and my actions to whomever I was surrounded by. I never wanted to be me. I didn’t even know who “me” was.
I grew up in a loving household. My mom and dad were always there for me. I have an older sister I look up to. They all had their own struggles with addiction, but that didn’t take away the support I had growing up.
The first time I tried my drug of choice, I watched my friend OD. He was thankfully revived, but seeing that didn’t stop me from using. In a sense, my addiction was fueled from there. I remember after the cops and ambulance left, I sat there with a sense of comfort. All the problems I had were gone. I was “okay” for a second.
I eventually graduated from high school and went to treatment a couple weeks after. I dropped the drugs but I did no work on myself. All of the pain I had was still there, I just could no longer suppress it. On January 15, 2016, my mother passed away. Her drinking finally caught up with her and she got cirrhosis of the liver. The doctors told her if she continued to drink, she would die. Addiction is so strong that a warning sign like that cannot even stop someone. I understand that today.
I used the loss of my number one supporter as an excuse to pick up again. My addiction brought me to Florida. I again dropped the drugs, but I brought the same person 1500 miles away. I did no work on myself and I picked up yet again.
On my way to detox this time, my dad asked me how I was feeling. I told him I felt worthless. After trying to get this for 5 years, I was back at square one. I was 21 and had nothing going for me. It was suggested I come to Nashua and go to the Process Recovery Center, and against my will, I listened.
I struggled hard at first. I wanted to walk away every day. But I kept coming back. I eventually shut up and listened, and I heard the things I needed to hear. Chris DiNicola and Justin Etling saved my life. They showed me a life beyond the 12 steps. I was introduced to spiritual principles and shown that I can live a life beyond my wildest dreams. I related to how they explained addiction, and how human connection and relentless communication are the antidotes to addiction. I owe the Process Recovery Center my life.
Today I am blessed. I have almost a year and a half clean, and the things I was told I could get if I stay clean, I have. I now work at the Process, I am a Rise Above house manager, and I can now help the community that helped me. Seeing someone struggling and wanting to give up on their journey is something I relate to the most. I was broken when I came in but we have to start somewhere. Being on the sideline of someone’s journey is amazing. I have seen countless people come in with nothing who are now flourishing. It is a blessing to watch. If you are struggling, reach out. There are so many people who have turned their lives around and have lives worth living today. I felt worthless and did not buy into recovery. Today, I am one of those people who has a life worth living. Miracles happen around here. It is the hardest thing you will ever have to do, but it is so worth it, I promise.