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Recovery Is Possible

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Recovery Is Possible

My name is Ashley and I am a recovering addict 1+yr clean off opiates, and a strong activist against drugs. I just wanted to share my story in hopes that I can reach even one addict, n to change their mind. I started using drugs at the young age of 12. I began with weed, then alcohol around 15, by 16 cocaine and ecstasy. At 17 I was using acid almost every day as I was best friends with fellow 17yr old acid dealers in our town and school. I grew up in a small town in the mild country, you would think drug use would be scarce, it was the complete opposite. We were all so bored with nothing to do that drugs became a epidemic in our small country town. We live between the border with Cananda and Buffalo Ny, drugs would be smuggled or come either way. Before the legal age of 21 I was already a raging alcoholic, I would say about 18 I was blacking out every night, then finding out the next day all the stupid embarrassing stuff that I had done, and everyone knows everyone in our small town!

I went thru a lot of abuse growing up which started my rebellious childhood. I thought what I was doing was fun, it helped me forget my traumas, and everyone was doing it, (not as bad as me though). I was ok in grades at school, I was also involved in sports, I masked my use from my family very well for almost 17yrs! They knew I was drinking about 19yrs, but I was so out of control they couldn't control me. I would have parties in my bedroom of my parents house every night. They would wake up and find tons of people in my room and bottles everywhere, they didn't know how to handle me so it just continued. By 24 I quit drinking from being so embarrassed. Well I shortly picked up a opiate habit. My pshyciatrist told me alcohol and opiates use same brain receptors, hence why I picked up the opiate habit, I traded one for another. I was using 5-10 lower tabs at a time, Xanax, hydrocodones. I continued to be abused by every boyfriend I had. I took the drugs to ease the mental pain, but in realitiy it was hurting me mentally even more, because I didn't care about myself or life, I had no self identity or self esteem. Shortly the pills were not enough anymore. I moved on to oxycotin, then when I was using 4 80mg oxcys a day and spending 60 on each pill, that became not enough and too expensive. I had a great job, I was a manager at a call center at a bank. I could afford the pills but had nothing to show for myself, my family started questioning me. They thought I just had a shopping addiction. When oxys weren't enough, I moved up to the strongest prescription opiate there is, Opanas! the strongest milligram was 40mg, and it was equivalent to black tar heroin, basically synthetic heroin. When sniffing them wasn't enough anymore and when our dr feel good got busted, prices sky rocketed and sooo many kids were in dyer pain and withdrawal!!! I moved on to injecting the opanas and by that time I had lost almost everything, my apartment, my job (i was on disability with them for depression when i was depressed but also using and not wanting to work. I had no money and started stealing from friends and family. at age 28 I got pregnant, and used my whole pregnancy, afraid that if i quit he would be lost from withdrawl. Luckily he was ok! Right before my labor, my ex of 7 yrs and best friend (he did change his abusive ways and became a good person) died from opana overdose, 2 weeks before xmas and 1 month before my labor. Shortly after giving birth I was withdrawling so bad one day that I thought i was dying. I called the ambulance and my parents found out. they thought I was just using lowertabs, they had no clue what was really going on. I then went to a suboxone dr around age 28, trying to get clean, but just ended up selling them for money for my fix. Soon We all basically moved on to heroin, it was cheaper. I was such a full blown junkie that I didn't even care about sharing needles to get my fix. On Aug 31st 2012, I had overdosed and almost died, luckily the lady I was staying with called the ambulance in time. I had my 1 yr old son sleeping next to me. CPS took away custody of my son and gave him to my parents.

You would think after the death of my ex I woulda learned. I was such a junkie that nothing mattered. I couldn't even get high anymore. I was just using to maintain not getting sick! I tried suicide a number of times and was institutionalized at pshyc wards for suicide AND physcotic breaks on my father. I was insane at times, and never cared about life , family, myself, only my son! MY life changed the day I overdosed and my son was taken away. when I got out of the pshyc ward for what they thought was attempted suicide( my overdose) I knew I needed to get back the only thing that mattered to me, my son, n that I would do all I had to do to change. I went right to a dual diagnosis rehab to get ahold of my addiction and mental health. from there I went into outpatient rehab 4 times a week and enrolled in a mental health counseling program. It took a good 5 months before the cravings died down. I was put on a experimental drug called vivitrol which is a monthly shot opiate blocker. it worked wonders in my recovery, just knowing it was in me and if I wanted to relapse it wouldn't work. I am 30 now, my son is almost 3. I graduated my outpatient after 11 months. I continue my mental health. I turned to god and became a Christian, I had all the support from my family n god, dropped all my drug "friends" and started life all over again. being that was so messed up at such a young age, I never knew what real life was. its like im 12 again and starting over the right way, appreciating life for what its ment for, love and happiness. I have never been truly happy in life till now, I was 1yr clean on 9/1/2013, I have custody back of my son, we have our own apartment, we go to chapel, I volunteer to give back, Im involved in anything having to do against drugs.

I found other good addictions that make me happy, ART, food, playing my elec guitar, and most of all my music and god! I listen to Christian heavy metal, it is actually a BIG factor in my recovery, a therapy, the famous musicians had everything they could ever want, money, drugs, fame, and were still never happy. They turned to god, dropped the drugs and band, and started a Christian metal band all about addiction, recovery, depression and god. incase an addict is reading this story, check them out, they were a strong influence in my recovery. Theraputic and inspiring! their called Love and Death, lead guitarist of korn. lead bassist also turned Christian and the whole Korn band has been sober for almost 10yrs. TODAY I am finding my identity, I am happy, I have things to look forward too, and mostly I have my son back and a proud family. I made my amends, I surrendered to my higher power, Im loving life for the first time, and I feel a strong power to tell my story as much as I can and reach out to the troubled, to help in any way any cause I can. just getting through to one addict is worth all my efforts, saving a life. This is my destiny. THANK YOU anyone who read my story. MUCH LOVE


This Story of Hope was created in celebration of recovery and to let families know that there are pathways to hope and healing. The Partnership for Drug-Free Kids is the only nonprofit organization dedicated to helping families who are struggling with their son or daughter's substance use. Please consider sharing this page so that families know where to turn to for help, and that there is always hope.

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Comments

1. Julie
Thank you for sharing your story, Ashley. Congrats on three years today!
2. Jane
Hi Lisa, If you'd like to speak to someone about getting help, please call this toll-free helpline: 1-855-DRUGFREE (1-855-378-4373)
3. Lisa Smith
I am 35 and need help I dont know if you will read this but if you do please email me. Lisamedsker@yahoo.com