Katrina’s Story

I’m a person with lived experience, mental illness and addiction. I've been over nine years clean, and it was the toughest thing I've ever had to do. I was addicted to Methadone, taking lethal amounts everyday. From passing out behind the wheel on the interstate and hitting a tractor trailer, to losing everything and everyone I loved, and eventually becoming homeless. I know what it feels like to have lost all hope, feel alone, and that no one understands, not to mention the judgement and isolation that comes with being an addict and having a mental health illness. I felt so alone that I couldn’t handle the pain anymore. I describe the pain as if I was on the top of a burning building with no way out and I only had two options – do I stay and burn to my death or do I jump!? Addiction nearly ended...
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New Beginnings

I came into recovery following several suicide attempts. I was depressed. I felt like I was a complete failure, as a parent, an employee, daughter, sister and member of society. I was psychologically dependent on alcohol and hated that I was. I wanted to control it, but ended up in an abstinence group where I learned the seriousness of my illness and that it was progressive, something I think I knew deep down. I threw myself into recovery, and started working with others like me. I have helped women to rebuild their lives and have focused particularly on women with children. I have watched women rebuild their lives and handle problems that they couldn't handle before. I was privileged to be a part of it. I watched my own children blossom and flourish as they no longer had to live in fear that they would lose their mum. I have...
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One Day at a Time

I am Suzy and I have been sober for almost four years. I know I cannot give my life story in 1,000 words, but I can say that my life has been a roller-coaster with many bumps along the way. My story begins like many other addicts: I had dreams and ambitions and never thought I would become an alcoholic, but 20 years of my life became ruled by the bottle. We all know, as addicts, how sad our lives become. I have yet to meet an addict who loves his or her life. My life has changed dramatically in these last four years, all for the better. I have control over my life now, and it has been a very rewarding, yet an emotionally exhausting process. I often get asked “how do you remain sober?” and “how do you stop yourself from drinking?” and my answer will always be...
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Recovery – A Family Affair

I am the oldest of 3 girls – and all of us have the disease of alcoholism. I was what we called a garbage head because I used many drugs and took whatever I could find.  By the time I was 19, I was married and divorced. At 20, I was raising a beautiful baby boy while in my active addiction. For the next 18 years I was a functional alcoholic and drug addict. What I mean is I was a good provider, my son did not lack anything, and it is a miracle that he is healthy and has made a good life for himself.  When he was in his teens, I began to fall apart emotionally and physically. I was hopeless and wanted to go to sleep and not wake up! By this time, my baby sister came home from a drug and alcohol treatment center. She was...
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Decreasing the Shame

I dabbled with drugs for years (I was a child of the '70s), and ended up addicted to prescription pain pills. I am an RN and as things got worse, I ultimately had an intervention done on me at work and went through an alternative to discipline program (with my RN license "held in abeyance" for 5 years).  Following my completion of the program, I was asked to facilitate peer support for healthcare and now run a peer support program for people in recovery.   I have co-authored a book: Re/entry: A Guide for Nurses Dealing with Substance Use Disorder. The book has been published by STTI and has won two book-of-the-year awards from the American Journal of Nursing.   I love my life in recovery – I never knew life could be so full! – and I feel strongly about getting the word out to decrease the stigma and shame...
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A Journey Toward Hope

Alcohol use was central to the foundation of my family and upbringing. I have seen many in my family reach their trigger point and cross over into alcohol dependency. Unfortunately, I never witnessed any of my family stop, stay stopped and maintain long-term abstinence. From what I witnessed, there was no hope for anyone suffering from a substance use disorder.  When I became alcohol dependent myself and became aware that becoming abstinent was necessary, I was petrified, as from what I had seen, nothing worked. A friend referred me to his union’s health team, which referred me to a psychiatrist who convinced me that I might benefit from some education on alcohol since my family was peopled with drunks. One of the things his rehab required was the reading of the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous, which I read with passion. Several weeks into my rehab, I experienced a moment...
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Who Am I?

I am in early recovery of an addiction to methamphetamine, which I used practically every day over the last 4 years. I recently decided to get clean because the realization was "I ABSOLUTELY HATED GETTING HIGH," even though the disease of addiction had such a hold on my life that I had a hard time stopping and therefore at the end I didn't like who I was.  The addiction has left me at a complete loss for who "Amanda" is – or was – and I am desperately working on my recovery in order not only to conquer sobriety, but to redefine who I am. -Amanda Z., Pennsylvania, sober since September 2014
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My Life Was a Series of Costume Changes

All I know is that I feel a helluvah lot better waking up without a hangover and knowing the name of the person I just slept with. Seriously. All drinking has ever given me is a talent for making bad decisions, the majority of which have had disastrous consequences. I'm a risk-taker by nature, prone to not thinking things through. I simply don't need alcohol and other substances to increase the danger. It took me until I was 26 years old to figure this out. Prior to that, all I knew about myself is that I didn't fit in. Anywhere. High school was fine, but after that I didn't have a clue. My life was a series of “costume changes” in an attempt to find the one external situation that would somehow fix the feeling of being lost in my own life. I came out as a lesbian, and then...
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I Believed I Was Crazy

One morning, after the office holiday party, I woke up with a massive hangover next to my boyfriend who looked at me with complete disgust. My antics, or “adventures” as I liked to call them, just weren’t cute anymore. I knew I had to do something; I wasn’t going to remain alone for the rest of my life because I couldn’t drink. I knew a woman who was sober and happy about it so I reached out and asked for help. That was seven years ago. At first I was so scared. I didn’t know what to do with myself and I had absolutely no idea of who I was or what I was capable of. I had hated myself for so long that I was sure everyone else felt the same way. Little by little I began to open my eyes and realize people weren’t nearly as obsessed with...
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I Discovered a Whole New Part of Me

Once I turned 30, I began to notice that most of my peers didn’t drink as much and as frequently as I did. The way I “controlled” my drinking was through binging. I would not drink for a series of days knowing that Saturday night I would allow myself no limits. On those nights, I would drink all night, ingest whatever drugs I was offered, throw up publicly and behave completely inappropriately. Even during this time, I thought I just needed to blow off steam. I am simply a fun person who likes to have a good time. It wasn’t until after my last disastrous bender when I blacked out and woke up with no front teeth that I realized “I have a serious problem!” Now, I am learning how to cope with life without drinking and drugging, which initially I thought would be a death sentence. But it has...
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Facing Addiction and The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD) are proud to announce the merger of our organizations – creating a national leader in turning the tide on the addiction epidemic.
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