To speak of recovery is to speak of addiction. There are moments in life that you know occurred only because of divine intervention; moments that are sometimes based on smaller overlooked opportunities and eventually build up to that “aha” moment. For me, that moment came on April 12th, 2012. I was eight months pregnant; I hugged my Mom goodbye as sheriff deputies slapped handcuffs on my wrists.
Jail itself is humbling, jail while pregnant is another experience in and of itself. I attended the last four of my prenatal visits in a prison uniform and with Sheriff Deputy escorts. By the grace of God, I was released from jail on pretrial house arrest four days before I gave birth to a beautiful, healthy, baby boy.
I was looking at a mandatory minimum sentence of five to ten years. I went from having a clean record besides a traffic ticket, to twenty-two felonies on my record. After eighteen months of pretrial supervision, the nightmare and stress of my case was over. I pled guilty to one felony and I was sentenced to three years’ probation.
During the last five years, nothing but hardships, storms, and struggles have come. I have taken rejection and been knocked down. I have undergone surgeries and been prescribed pain medication without so much as a conversation on the possible risks of the medication. The same agency that rejected me in active addiction told be at three years sober I was recommended for intensive outpatient. At this point, I had graduated college and was employed. Intensive outpatient would essentially make my treatment my full-time commitment; they suggested I quit my job, which in my opinion would put me five steps back, and I would lose everything I worked for.
I have had therapists, after four years of sobriety and telling them I couldn’t have a pill without the inclination to crush it up and snort it; telling me that maybe I could benefit from talking to my doctor about medication.
The past five years I have refused to do anything less than make myself better; going against the recommendations of courts, therapists, and “professionals.” I listened to my gut, and took advantage of those small opportunities of small intervention I spent so many years ignoring.
I went back to my roots, to church, and my life is much fuller because of it. I am a mother, wife, daughter, sister, and a friend. I have been employed at Head Start for the last two years and have recently been hired as a Family and Community Partnership Specialist.
This is why I am sharing my story. I am a member of the Westmoreland County’s Drug Overdose Task Force. I see my community ravaged by the effects of addiction; there is no doubt in my mind, and with every ounce of my soul, I know I have gone through this for a reason. By the grace of God, I am able to be here today and I refuse to forget or allow the devil to bring me down.