“I am not my addiction”

In 1999, I was an average 17 year old girl, obsessed with all things agriculture, horses and showing livestock. Within a year that all changed. Somewhere along the way I was introduced to Meth, and it forever changed my life. Within months I quickly forgot about my family, friends, college goals, hopes & dreams. I began living each moment for the next high. I found myself immersed in a life surrounded by criminals and drug dealers…and the entire time I never questioned it. I existed in a world that was untouched by time. Eventually the lifestyle, and disease, I had succumbed to lead me to arrests. I simply could not stop getting high- no matter the loss or consequence.

In 2004, I was arrested for the last time. This arrest was my divine intervention. I got clean. Family and friends reached out to me, and I finally woke up. I realized that I had a wonderful life waiting for me – I just had to find out who I was again. I moved home and I started a new journey, one that was full of self discovery and personal growth. I surrounded myself with positive people and their energy inspired me to try new things. I enrolled in school and began working two jobs. Somewhere along the way I was finally able to forgive myself for the life I had been living and the choices I had made.

I found a career in the addiction field, and it has been a way for me to reach other people struggling with the disease of addiction. Today, I work with a diverse population – ages 18-63. Some are on probation or parole, have CPS cases, or they may be homeless, while others hold degrees or have owned large businesses. They are sons and daughters, husbands and wives, parents and grandparents all fighting to get their families back that get lost in addiction. It is a daily reminder that no one is immune to addiction. I am forever grateful that my personal experience with meth only lasted a couple of years, rather than creating a lifetime of wreckage.

I have once again discovered my passion for showing horses, and the world of agriculture. I met the man of my dreams and we recently got married. I have friendships that I cherish, and that will last a lifetime. I have discovered true happiness. There are still days when I experience feelings of shame, and they serve as reminders of my determination to change. My past has made me who I am today, and for that I am forever grateful. I have a deeper sense of gratitude, empathy, and a strong desire to live each day to the fullest. I no longer define myself as a drug user. Instead, I am a wife, daughter, granddaughter, sister, niece and friend. I wake up each day without regret, full of hope for tomorrow’s endless possibilities.