Pittsburgh, PA | Sober Date: May 20, 2017
I am from a small town in western Pennsylvania and come from a middle-class family that loved and gave me whatever I would ever want or need. Like most teenagers, I kind of didn’t know who I was because I was part of many different groups of people. I eventually found the kids who were stealing and smoking weed, and finally believed they were the people I was supposed to hang out with.
After graduating high school, the drug use progressed and I began taking pills, which at the time I didn’t know you could get addicted to. I gradually got sicker when I couldn’t have them, then one of my best friends introduced me to heroin. It was cheaper than what I was spending on pills at the time, so I thought why not give that a try – the progression of my drug abuse after trying it skyrocketed. My boyfriend at the time broke up with me because of my use, which didn’t help my downward spiral. I started stealing from my parents because it was the easiest thing to do. I took wedding rings, family treasures handed down for years, and anything else of value I could get my hands on.
I was 21 when I went to treatment the first time – it was two days after my birthday. It was a local facility, and I wanted to be that one-and-done kind of person, but that didn’t happen. I got right back into a relationship with a fellow member of the rooms, and it was an even bigger downfall than before. Both of us were in and out of jail, lost apartments, and family members. We were also the cause of a lot of people’s last breaths, which I still hold on to until this day. Also in that time, I was in and out of psychiatric wards when I couldn’t get into rehab.
In 2017, I did what I never wanted to – steal from my grandmother. I knew I was going to get caught, and the next day I found Lakeview Health in Jacksonville, Florida. When I arrived, I was shocked by how much they cared about their patients, especially during detox. I slept my first four days there because everything caught up to me all at once, but I knew I was safe. Once I got through my 60 days at Lakeview, I was ready to work the 12 Steps to really figure out why I had so many resentments against people and uncover if the problem was more about me than them because I always blamed everyone else.
After Lakeview, I went to a halfway house in Jacksonville that was affordable for me considering I picked up my life and left Pennsylvania with no family this far away from home. It was terrifying, but it was also a life lesson I needed.
I always went back to my parents when I got out of treatment, but this time things were going to be different!
I lived in two different houses until I was ready to try living sober on my own. Eventually, I got my own apartment, then I left Florida at the end of the summer in 2018 to move home and help a family member.
Today, I couldn’t ask for a better life. I got rid of the negative people around me, and I’m working somewhere that is grooming me to become a manager so I can transfer back to Florida in a few months. I go to concerts, hockey games, and participate in adventures without having to think about “supplies” for the day. I’m in a relationship with an amazing guy who isn’t in the rooms. He understands my past and doesn’t hold it over me; he accepts me and is proud of me. Also, my relationship with my family is the best it’s been since I was 13-years-old. We worked through the things I did to them, which made them more loving towards me; despite everything that happened they never gave up on me. The biggest thing I learned is I always had people in my corner, even when I couldn’t see it. A word of advice to anyone struggling: don’t ever think there isn’t someone who cares about you!
– Shannon D