Born in Charlotte, North Carolina, I grew up in Cary and Apex. My two loving parents and great kid sister gave me an idyllic childhood. We played together, traveled together and spent long summer days in the family boat skiing across Lake Jordan. Every day at 5:30 we ate our family dinner together. I played travel soccer, did well in school, graduated from college but by the age of 25 was living out of my car hopelessly addicted to various drugs.
Luckily, I made it to a local peer-based treatment facility and began my recovery journey. Though the journey has not always been smooth, this newfound lifestyle provides me with joy I never thought possible.
Running and exercise have complimented my recovery in calming my mind and increasing my whole-body health. A friend and I started the Oak City Recovery Run Club which connects the running community with the recovering and provides running shoes and race registrations for those experiencing homelessness. Watching club members finish races they never thought they could start fuels our mission and pushes us onward.
Reinvigorating my relationship with my family, recovery has given me a beautifully fulfilling life—I am nearing the end of my Master of Social Work degree at NC State, I have great friends and a loving relationship with an amazing girlfriend.
Currently, I am the Rapid Response Administrator where I oversee an incredible post overdose response team that goes into the community to build relationships with overdose survivors and assist them on their journeys.
Recovery is wonderful and life is good.
I was raised in an adoptive family who provided everything I needed and wanted. I was extremely popular in school and academically gifted; I performed well in class with minimal effort. Using recreational drugs in high school provided relief from my insecurities but allowed peers to influence my decisions at an early age.
At 24, I sustained injuries from recreational sports and was prescribed large amounts of opioids from our family physician. Initially, I believed that I needed these pills in order to manage a normal life. Eventually my habit grew so large that the prescribed amount could not satiate my use. My dependence led me to the streets and after a short time of buying the same prescription on the streets, settled for its cheaper, more abundant alternative: heroin.
By the age of 31, I had overdosed seven separate times, reversed by naloxone on each one, was engaged in human trafficking and sex work, and was homeless with a bleak outlook on life.
Thankfully a peer outreach worker kept checking on and encouraging me to seek treatment–she brought to a non-medical detox on June 22, 2016, and I began my recovery journey.
I now work as a Rapid Responder at the treatment center that returned me to a happy, joyous, productive, and contributing member of society. Recovery has given me the opportunity to be a mother to my children, a daughter to my parents, and an individual who believes in the potential of others who might be struggling with the hopeless state of mind addiction causes.
We do recover.
I always excelled in school and presented well. However, unbeknownst to me and everyone else, I was living with undiagnosed and untreated mental illness. High school became more and more challenging until someone offered me a prescription medication. This medication relieved me of all the suffering that I was experiencing from major depression and anxiety.
I grew up in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.
At age 18, I was assaulted with a baseball bat and was prescribed a large amount of opiates. Things progressed until I found heroin that was cheaper and more accessible and despite many attempts with the best intentions, I could not stop on my own.
By age 20, I had overdosed from heroin on three separate occasions, and each time, my overdose was reversed with naloxone.
I needed several second chances, but eventually I was afforded access to quality treatment. I have since sustained recovery, which for me means that I have not had to use alcohol or other drugs since May, 2013.
Recovery allowed me to finish my education and I now have a Master’s in Social Work and am a Certified Substance Abuse Counselor.
Now, I’m working as the Naloxone Program Coordinator for Caring Services of High Point so that I can help give other people the same opportunities I was given to change their life.
I grew up in Greenville, North Carolina. When I was 12, my mother had knee surgery and was prescribed pain killers.
She put the extras in her medicine cabinet. I experimented with them and got hooked.
By 15, I was on heroin.
By 18, I was homeless, living in a Walmart parking lot.
I checked myself into detox and then participated in treatment.
Today, at 21 years of age, I am in recovery, working on getting an education so I can become a social worker to help other young people avoid my experience.
I shouldn’t be alive today, and that’s the truth. My addiction began with alcohol at age 11, and quickly progressed. I suffered severe childhood abuse and trauma, and never knew what true happiness felt like until I began using. I felt that the only time I could bear my life was when I was using opiates and I was hooked immediately.
I, like so many others, rode the train of addiction all the way to the bottom – homelessness, banned from my family, in and out of treatment and incarceration. I prayed for death on a daily basis and pushed the limits of it constantly.
I gave my devastating addiction 22 years of my life, but today I can tell my story of redemption. After a nine-month relapse four years ago, my perspective finally shifted from looking into the eyes of death to striving to find the purpose that I was created for.
It hasn’t been easy, true change rarely is, but it has been the most amazing journey of my life. I often tell people that if I can do it, anyone can! I have learned to accept and forgive myself for the mistakes I’ve made, and above all, have learned to love myself. Recovery gives me freedom and peace, things I’ve never known before. Now, I use the past that weighed me down as my platform to success. There is nothing that can stop you once you grasp that you are unstoppable. From barely hanging on, to recovery strong.