Milestone: One Year Sober

If someone was to ask me “Will you ever get clean from heroin?” a year ago today, I would probably say no. I came to a point where I just accepted the lifestyle of a drug addict and thought I was going to be living the rest of my life under heroins spell.

One year ago today was the day I decided to take my life back from heroin and crack/cocaine. March 30th, 2019, I just phoned my mom to let her know I’ve relapsed after maintaining just about eleven months clean time and I say to her, “I’ve been using for the last three days.” I explain how I was going to use “just once” and get myself back on my suboxone. I explained to her how frightened I was that it took only 24 hours for me to be outside a trap house again at 6am trying to get my fix, after months of clean time. She came over to help me get the twenty – four hours that I needed without opiates to re-start my suboxone medication. She helped me get back on my feet again and noticed a difference because I reached out for help quicker then before.

No one wants to grow up and be a drug addict. No one wants to grow up struggling with substance abuse and mental health. No one wants to be shamed or judged for reaching out for help or relapsing for the millionth time.

Here is part of my journey and I hope you can find bits and pieces of my experience and insert them into your recovery plan. No recovery plan is alike but they have similar aspects to maintain the common goal.

Before heroin, I would experiment with anything including weed, cocaine, pills (opiates and stimulants), alcohol, inhalants, ecstasy, and some other randoms. I always felt different because of how ready and willing I was to accept something that would take me out of my head. I was struggling with being content in my body for an extremely long time. Nothing was too powerful to disrupt my day to day life activities, yet.

I felt I was on the right track but living in an apartment and then buying my first home. Not too soon after moving in, I started rescuing dogs and cats from the local shelter. I have always loved animals as a kid so I was looking forward to having my own pets and taking care of them. Fell in love with a man I always had feelings for and we started to talk and soon after started dating.

At age 23 was when was introduced to free basing opiates and then shortly after it was heroin. It instantly grabbed me. I pawned jewelry, sold whatever I could. It is unbelievable the powerful grip of heroin and the fear of being in withdrawal consumed my every thought. My ex who introduced me into this life was just as wild as me. One afternoon, after using, he misplaced his stash. He thought I stole it. We got into a huge argument and I kicked him out of my house. He took all his belongings and threw them onto the front yard. I go outside to get him to stop or at least cool down and he was about to set all of his belongings on fire, in the middle of the day because of heroin. He wasn’t hearing anything I was trying to say so he took the lighter fluid and tried to get me and his stuff. I ran from him and I fell, hard, and battered my knees and shins. I couldn’t believe what was happening. But that still wasn’t enough to stop using. The ugly monster of addiction is so illogical that you cannot combat it with logic.

The day my best friend passed away I was forever shattered. We got into a huge argument about my addiction and he passed away a few months after that. That gave me the determination that my heroin addiction wasn’t going to take anyone away from me. Heroin has also killed many of my close friends which is a main reason for this blog. There is so much more to life. So. Much.

After all these years in active use and in and out of recovery, I have found out better ways to deal with life. Better coping mechanisms to face life head on, sober. Ways to manage my pain in a more productive way. I have been putting in the work, investing into myself, working on myself, and I am becoming more aware of how I handle my thoughts, feelings, and emotions. I am not working off the high of instant gratification anymore because that didn’t serve me in my recovery. Keep in mind, as long as you’re pushing along in recovery and putting in the work, you can make it through the storms of life. In AA they say “progress not perfection”

Not everyone is doing the same program with their own mental health/recovery, so keep that in perspective. All the power is within you to start on your sober journey and the tools to create a recovery program tailored to you for long term success.

Maybe in the future you’re inspired by helping others through their addictions by planting the seed of “recovery” within someone struggling with addiction and share all the tools you have learned through your recovery and how they helped make your life more manageable.

No matter how far you went down the rabbit hole of addiction, there is always support, free community activities ( ROC-covery & creative wellness for our Rochester NY readers). There is a better way to live without fighting off dope sickness every hour or maintaining your “normal”. The one main piece of adivce is that you don’t have to go at this alone and take on all of this by yourself. I feel that it is not practical to take on this world by yourself. There are many individuals who want to help get you out of that never ending cycle and can assist you to break free, no longer chasing the dope boys. You just have to reach out and ask.



SAMHSA’s National Helpline, 1-800-662-HELP (4357), (also known as the Treatment Referral Routing Service) or TTY: 1-800-487-4889 is a confidential, free, 24-hour-a-day, 365-day-a-year, information service, in English and Spanish, for individuals and family members facing mental and/or substance use disorders. This service provides referrals to local treatment facilities, support groups, and community-based organizations. Callers can also order free publications and other information.

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