After everything I went through and all the pain I felt, it would take a lot to go back to the way things were. Your mind is warped and the drugs control you when you are out there. But there is life after drugs. If only I could have seen it sooner.

It all started around the age of 14. I was smoking cigarettes and marijuana every day. I touched heroin once, but I wasn’t interested enough to keep doing it. When I was 16 I met a boy. We started experimenting with harder drugs. One day I saw him shoot up and I said well, I guess do me too.

I started shooting heroin every day for the next three or four years. Around 18, my mom made me go to a methadone clinic, but I would just use it to my advantage, take a higher dose, and get high. Things continued until 2014 when I went to jail for possession. I got out of jail and my mom immediately sent me to rehab. It took me four months to get through, but it got me off heroin. It was the methadone that I continued to use because my Probation Officer let me, so why wouldn’t I.

I got pregnant four months later, but I was still on methadone. Once I had my son, I started to lower my dosage to get off of it. I was reporting every three months to the clinic, but I wasn’t doing what I was supposed to do like have a sponsor and go to AA meetings. I was just living life and raising a kid.

I found Xanax when I was coming off the methadone to calm the withdraw effects. I hit a breaking point one night when stress got the best of me. I knew I was going to use that night. I called everyone in my phone to try and get someone to watch my kid. No one could. So I found heroin anyway.

That night, I overdosed with my son in the backseat of the car. I woke up in the hospital. I didn’t care that I was alive or where my son was. The first thing I thought was, “I’m going to jail.”

I went home from the hospital, immediately turned myself into my Probation Officer and I went to jail for six months. When I got out of jail, I went straight to Brighton Recovery Center in June 2017. Once I entered the Recovery Center, I knew I had to do this to get my life back. This time, I had lost everything; my son, my car, my apartment, my life.

The Recovery Center changes you if you really want it. You start to care about the girls you are around, build relationships, and watch them better their lives with you. I would give the shirt off my back for any of those girls. We become a community of support for each other.

I have now been sober for a year and a half. I learned that I can do whatever I set my mind to, no matter the obstacles. I got out of the Recovery Center in June 2018. Three months later I got custody of my son and my mom let me live in her old house. I just started hair stylist school and got Oakland into daycare. My life is normal now and I love it. Things are coming full circle.

When you are in jail and going through recovery, you think time stops. It doesn’t. You don’t realize that people are still out there living their lives, your kids are learning how to walk, talk and, growing up. You miss all of that. I now get to give him baths, put him to bed every night, and be there for him when he wakes up every morning. I won’t ever get back the time that I lost, but I will cherish all the time that I have with him now.

I have so much gratitude for the Recovery Center. It saved my life. The Recovery Center was just a small part of my recovery, but it made the biggest difference. Life is so much better on the other side.

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