Category: The Faces of Recovery

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As National Recovery Month winds down, I want to take a moment to thank Julie, Tonya, Kisa and Vickie for sharing individual journeys with me.  I feel truly honored to have been given the opportunity to interview each of you.

To the interviewees, thanks for sharing.  And to you (the readers), thanks for letting us share.  To the still suffering addict and those who love you; there is hope.  That hope is found in recovery.

Together, the people you have met have 18065 days, 2579 weeks, 606 months and 48 years of clen time.

Meet Kisa

Hi, my name is Kisa and I’m an addict.

I’ve had enough years of negative, so today I will focus on the positive.

Through God and NA, I’m no longer in the grips of the disease of addiction.  Motivated today by applying spiritual principals embodied in the 12 step programs, my life is changed today.  I am not cured, I am delivered.  As a result, I open myself up to be used as a vessel to help the still suffering addict by sharing experience, strength and hope in the hopes thay they too can be released from the deadly disease.

“If I had written a list of the things I wanted to happen in my life when I started this journey, I would have cheated myself.” 

My God has blown my mind and I never knew that I could experience the many gifts that attached to me by finding a new way to live.  I am forever grateful that I was chosen to go through the horrors of addiction because without it I would not have a God or sobriety.

My advice to newcomers is go to meetings, get a home group and a sponsor.  Change people, places and things.  Get numbers from people in recovery AND use them.  “Always remember, if you don’t pick it up it won’t get in you.  We do recover.”

Hi, my name is Kisa.  I have been clean since September 21, 1990.

Meet Vickie

Hi, my name is Vickie and I’m an addict.

I missed my high school prom because I was behind the bleachers getting high.

I had several children while I was out there.  They were taken from me and put into Child Protective Services.  I was told that they had no chance of coming home.

I tried several times to get clean.  In 1989, I started going in the rooms (attending 12 step meetings).  I began dating and then married my detox counselor.  We both went back out to the streets.

When I became sick and tired of being sick and tired, I gave quitting another try.  I found comfort while attending AA meetings.  It was suggested that I give NA a try.  I’m so glad to have taken that advice.  I haven’t looked back since.

Once clean again, I got my children back and got married.  I was doing well, but something in my spirit wasn’t sitting well.  “I relied on the power of the God of my own understanding asking Him to show me what was going on.”  It was revealed to me that my husband was molesting my children.  He was convicted and sent to prison.  Through the uncertain times of this situation, a neighborhood “daughter” was able to see justice served for the crime of child molestation.  She then gained the courage to come forward and have her abuser convicted as well.

My children are high scholl graduates and college students.  I have instilled in them the need to be victors and not victims and that they don’t have to become statistics because of their past circumstance.

I have experienced birth and death in recovery.  I have learned to put my problems in a bag, take them to a meeting and leave them.  There is nothing that happens that’s so bad I have to pick up and use.

The best thing I have experienced in recovery is the unification with my children and having the ability to travel.  I found peace and serenity at the NA World Convention in Hawaii.

Hi, my name is Vickie.  “I am who I am!”  I’m a single 43 year old.  I’m a student working towards my Associate Degree in Human Services.  I aspire to earn a Doctoral Degree in medical social work where I can help children born with addiction.  I also desire to host a prom for recovering addicts who also missed their high school prom.  “I am responsible for who I am in and out of the rooms.”

I have been clean since October 19, 1994.

Meet Tonya

Hi, my name is Tonya and I’m an addict.

My episode with drugs began when I was a dealer.  The problem came when I crossed the line from seller to user.  My drug use began to affect my finances.  I couldn’t keep money in my pocket.  My bills became delinquent.  I had struggles at work and my home life began to suffer.  I felt very alone and I missed several years of my children’s lives because I was getting high.

I stopped using for a while, but I relapsed.

When I found out I was going to be a grandmother, I knew I wanted to be a good grandparent.  I didn’t want to miss out on this child’s life.  I call my grandchild my angel for giving me a reason to save my life.

Hi, my name is Tonya, I’m 40 years old.  I’m proud to have the ability to do for my family.  I have been employed at a homeless shelter since December 2008.  I do things with a clean and honest mind.  “It feels good to have money in my pocket and family back in my life.”

I have been clean since August 17, 2008.

Meet Julie

Hi, my name is Julie and I’m an addict.

I was raised in a privileged home.  I began smoking cigarettes at age twelve because I thought it was cool.  In high schol, I started smoking pot.  This habit got me kicked out of school in 10th grade when I was caught smoking in the bathroom.  As a result, I was sent to live with my grandmother for the remainder of the school year.  Before I would return to 11th grade, I was admitted to an inpatient rehab for three months, where I learned more ways to use drugs.  Upon returning to high school, I also returned to using drugs.  I smoked marijuana, did acid and used ecstacy.  I began t withdraw from activities and started skipping school.  I pretended to go each morning, only to sneak back in once mom went to work.  I dropped out of high school in the 11th grade and moved in with friends where I drank every day until I got alcohol poisoning.  My parents came to rescue me and sent me to a ninety day outpatient adult program.  I went to meetings and was doing well for a while.  After pleading with staff for additinal help, I was admitted to New Beginnings for  six months.  I was clean for a year.

I met a new boyfriend and started getting high with him.  When I got pregnant, I knew I wanted my child to have a chance.  I stopped drinking, smoking and getting high.  I was determined to be a good mom.  I found full time employment and didn’t use drugs.  I was doing well until I met a new guy who I discovered was a cocaine dealer.  I started getting high on the weekends while maintaining a business that I owned.  The business was doing well until my weekend habit turned to a daily habit, that turned to a before and after client habit.  My cocaine and crack habit cost me up to $300 each day.

After work. I took my toddler with me to score drugs.  I got high with my child in the car.  I was on a downward spiral and even my dealer asked why I was getting high.  I checked myself into a program but had to leave because I had contracted an STD.  Because I left before completing the program, I was unable to return for treatment.

My parents threatened to take my child away because the drugs were a higher priority.  At rock bottom, I attempted suicide and was hospitalized for three days.

In an attempt to get myself together, I took a job as a white water raft guide.  I lived in a tent for three months where “the river cleansed my soul”.  I was so far from everyone and everything I knew, but I knew I couldn’t go home….yet!

I later decided it was time to be a mom and rebuild my business.  With the help of my parents, I did both.  I threw away my cell phone that had numbers in it that could return me to my old habits and I took different routes home to avoid old people and places.  Untrusting of myself with money, I allowed my parents to handle my finances.

My relationship with myself, my child and God were most important to me.  Afraid to share my story and unwilling to take the chance with someone new, I chose to be single for a long time.

“I almost threw my whole life away for drugs.  I have a good job, a great family and a clean record.”

My name is Julie.  I’m 32 years old.  I am married to a great guy from junior high school.  I am a mother and I work full time.  I earned my GED and will be graduating next year with a degree in Business Administration.

I have been clean since April 15, 2003.

Celebrating National Recovery Month

September is National Recovery Month.  I wanted to allow you the opportunity to get to know some of the people I’ve encountered since the release of “HIGH On Love & Addiction”. 

These are real people with real stories.  They are black, white, male, female, gay, straight, young and not so young.  They are “The Faces of Recovery”. 

Often times, we only see the negative of alcohol and drug addiction.  But there is hope for the still suffering addict.  This hope is found in recovery.

It is my honor to bring you experience, strength and hope through the stories of struggle and success.

To the interviewees.  Thanks for sharing.  To the readers.  Thanks for letting me share.  Please PASS IT ON!