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I dabbled in drugs when I was in high school. Started smoking cigarettes and pot when I was about 13-14 years old. It was mostly something I did with friends. I drank, and sometimes did coke. Then I found Ecstasy. I was 16, for about a year I was doing it on a daily basis. After that year, I realized that something was wrong. I was not normal. I stopped using Ecstasy, but kept smoking pot and drinking. I got into cocaine really badly with my daughter's father at age 18, we took ourselves for a ride.

I got a job and got clean, but then started using Oxycontin. Lost my job. I got pregnant with my older daughter Caitlyn and was clean for about 2 1/2 years total through my pregnancy and after she was born. I started going to school and working as a bartender and left her father. I was living with my mother, a full-time student, working full time.

I began using drugs again, only this time, it quickly went from snorting lines of cocaine and taking percocet or vicodin to smoking crack and shooting heroin. It very quickly tore my life apart.

After the first time I smoked crack, I gave my daughter to her father and told him I needed help. I went into a program and he went behind my back and got full custody of her. My whole world came crashing down before me. I quickly spiraled out of control, lost everything. My daughter, my car, my job, my home, I was homeless on the streets in a very bad city sleeping in hallways and elevators and under bridges. I had NOTHING.

I stole to get my fix for the day. Sometimes I would get lucky and someone would help me out because they felt bad. I had a problem.

I went into another program, I met my fiance and we have been together now for 5 years. We have a 2 year old daughter and have been clean for 3 years. I am currently going to school to get my bachelor's degree in Human Services Management with a focus in addictions counseling. I am very excited about it.

I realized that going through everything I went through being homeless, alone, scared, and with no one to keep me safe from harm, I now have knowledge of what it is to be an addict and I can connect with people who are actively using in attempt to show them how they too can change, they too can turn their lives around. I have a lot of fixing to do still, and I am sure I will for a long time, however I am on the right path and it feels GREAT!

I was once homeless, skinny, hopeless and I did not care, but I have changed my entire life and I am making something out of it. If I can do it, ANYONE can.

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.

Guest Book


1. Julie
Thank you for sharing your story with us, Erica. Wishing you all the best!
2. Jjones
stay strong. I also am a recovering addict. I did oxys and crack. I have been clean now for 3 yrs. It has been a struggle but im much happier now. I will be praying for you and let me know if you need advice or just someone to talk to.