September is National Recovery Month!

September is National Recovery Month!

September is National Recovery Month! Talking about recovery is one of the most important things we can do to change the culture around receiving help. Check out Lacey’s story:

 

Recovery Is Worth It

I remember waking up from my third overdose in two months and thinking, “This is how I am going to die; I will always be an addict and will never be able to live a normal life.”  Feeling hopeful was not something I had experienced in a long time. I used to identify myself as an addict and a disappointment. I believed in the judgment these words created. Today, I no longer identify with these hurtful terms. Thankfully, I have people in my life that did believe in me and never gave up hope that I could get better. I finally realized that I could not overcome this monster of a drug by myself and that it was time to finally be open and honest about who I was and get the help that I so desperately needed.

Growing up I never wanted to admit my shortcomings. I was in the top 3% of my senior class and took college classes throughout my junior and senior year. I graduated high school with my diploma and Associate’s Degree. I was on dance teams and was a first chair violinist all throughout my high school career. Needless to say, no one had any idea that I had to take drugs every day to even function.

By the time I was 15, I was fully addicted. My boyfriend at the time became addicted to the same drug and we began to engage in criminal activities together to fund our habit. I stole from my family, lied to everyone I knew, lost friends, got banned from pawn shops, and put myself into dangerous situations where I could have been seriously hurt. I didn’t realize at the time that I was self-medicating my mental illnesses. Six months after I started using my drug of choice, my parents knew something was going on with me so they took me to a child psychiatrist who diagnosed me with depression, ADHD, and anxiety. I was prescribed meds which I never took, and placed into a therapy program. Years later and many mental health facilities, doctors, and medications later, I was still addicted to this drug that ran my entire life. My depression and social anxiety worsened and became so debilitating that I was hopeless and couldn’t see a way out. I was exhausted from taking medication after medication only to not have it work. I couldn’t handle the feelings of guilt and disappointment, so I kept using.

After I overdosed for that third time, I knew I had to make a decision; I could either try this “recovery” thing again or continue using and never achieve the life I dreamed of growing up. I began listening to the doctors and therapists and doing as I was told. I went to support meetings, practiced yoga, ate healthier, and tried to take better care of my body and mind. Even on days when I felt like I wasn’t worth it, I pushed through and reminded myself that these feelings will pass and these negative thoughts will go away. But don’t think my recovery came easy; I relapsed more times than I can remember before achieving long-term sobriety. It took a year for me to feel like I did as a teenager before I used drugs six years prior, but it was so amazingly worth the wait. Don’t get me wrong, I still deal with my own challenges and struggles to this day but I don’t have to numb myself anymore to deal with them. I don’t live in a constant state of chaos 24/7, always wondering if this last high will be my final one.

Even though I have been in recovery for the past three years, there are some things that my drug abuse still effects to this day. By abusing my brain for so many years, I have trouble putting sentences together when I speak and my memory is not anything what it used to be, but this doesn’t upset me. Why? Because without going through my dark road, I would not be where I am today. I just moved to a beautiful city, Pittsburgh; I have a wonderful boyfriend who knows my past and loves me for who I am, and two fur-babies named Armani and Biggie. By having gone through my scarring experiences, I can help others that are struggling with mental illness and substance abuse. I don’t regret a single thing in my life and can finally look myself in the mirror and know that I am worth it. Recovery is worth it. YOU are worth it.

(read more about Lacey in her upcoming biographical post!)

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  1. Ellen September 25, 2017

    Wow, Lacey. How very brave of you to move forward with your recovery and to share your personal story with the world. Props!

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