Drug addiction stole 10 years of my life. I missed out on everything you are supposed to do in your 20’s: college, building a career and figuring out who you want to be.
My addiction started with prescription pain pills. The boy I was dating at the time was in a car accident and was prescribed painkillers. I started casually sampling them and, before I knew it, I felt like I needed them to function. Once my boyfriend was healed and his supply of pills cut off, we got desperate and that’s when heroin crept into our lives. I thought heroin was the antidote to all of my worries, and my depression.
Drugs changed the trajectory of my life. I came from a solid family with good values and high expectations. But when I started using, I dropped out of college. I stole merchandise from work and sold it to friends for drug money. I even stole from my parents. They desperately wanted to help and paid $40,000 for fancy rehab in California. I’m lucky to have a great family who loves me and has never given up on me. However, the treatment didn’t work for me; I got home and went right back to using.
Stealing to pay for my addiction and getting caught, twice, might have been the best thing that’s ever happened to me. The court ordered me to enroll in Arapahoe House STIRRT (Short-Term Intensive Residential Remediation Treatment), a nine month program for adults involved in the criminal justice system that includes two weeks of residential treatment and more than eight months of outpatient services.
When I started the STIRRT program, I didn’t expect anything–I thought it was going to be the same song and dance as rehab in California. After a couple days, I realized the staff sincerely wanted to help me get better. They helped me train my brain to think differently. The one-on-one counseling and group therapy were life-changing and helped me work through my anger issues and depression. They also included medication assisted therapy in my treatment plan. The medication, a once a month shot called Vivitrol, helped with my cravings for heroin so I could get the most out of treatment.
Today, I’ve been successfully sober for more than a year. I don’t just feel like I have my life back, I feel reborn into a completely new person. I’m doing things I never thought I’d do, like getting engaged and having a child. A healthy pregnancy wouldn’t have been possible without my new life in recovery. My fiancé and I are getting as prepared as possible for the arrival of our baby boy: we can’t wait to meet him and watch him grow. Arapahoe House gave me all the tools I needed to write a new story, free from addiction. I’m so grateful.