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Addiction is devastating. It takes away health, personal potential, rips apart families, and all too often claims lives. What follows are the images and stories of 10 remarkable individuals who have struggled with deeply entrenched addiction, and yet still made their way to sobriety. They are heroes who were able to get the help they needed to see the way out of the fog of active addiction, where they have been able to reclaim their lives and relationships. Please consider sharing these inspiring transformations and help other addicts and their families see that RECOVERY IS POSSIBLE and that REHAB WORKS.

What follows are the stunning transformations of ten remarkable individuals who have successfully fought their addictions and come out the other side.
The Horrors of Meth Infographic
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Toni

IV Opiates

7 years addicted

25 years old

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  • When did you first try alcohol?
  • Around the ages of 12-14 but I never really drank much. Alcohol was never something I depended on or even enjoyed.
  • When did you first try drugs?
  • About age 14 I smoked pot. About two months later I started doing meth.
  • What was the first drug you tried, was peer pressure a factor? What made you want to try?
  • I tried marijuana first, as most people do. I don't think it was peer pressure. I just think I would have found my way there regardless. I was fascinated by drugs at an early age and found myself seeking out those experiences. It was very soon after I smoked weed that I began to do harder drugs, preferring meth. At 16, I started going to doctors for a condition I have (Palmoplantar Kerataderma- Ichthyosis) that is very painful. It was at this point that pills became my main focus, my only focus. I soon learned many doctor shopping techniques and took full advantage of the fact that I have a very visually alarming disability.
  • What was the first drug you became addicted to?
  • Meth was the first drug I can say I 'loved.' This was the first drug that made me do things I didn't think I was capable of.
  • Describe your addiction progression, how it began and where it ended before you got help?
  • I did drugs from an early age and I can honestly say I was an 'instant-addict.' I loved it. I needed it. It was the only thing that ever made me feel complete and calm. It was the only time I felt I could function. It was the only way I would even want to be alive. I was an extremely heavy user. It was about three years into the pill addiction that I became addicted to needles as well. I worked a normal job (Realtor/Property manager) for the most part of my addiction. In the last year, I stopped going to doctors because I had been red-flagged everywhere. I was forced to buy pills off the street and I no longer had the income I did from selling my pills. I soon lost my job. I began having medical problems. My liver is shot. I developed gallstones which were subsequently removed. I had several seizures and experienced respiratory failure and repeated blood infections from abscesses. After all of my life unraveling, my family knew what was going on. I was Marchman Acted (served a petition for involuntary treatment.) I went to detox over and over and over. I checked into rehab (court ordered) after I messed up out-patient over and over. It was at this point that I really wanted to give up drugs, I just didn't know how. I really did try. After about a dozen detox trips and three failed rehab attempts, I checked into rehab for the last time. I stayed in detox 45 days and rehab for 180. Before rehab, I had lost EVERYTHING and everyone. I contemplated suicide over and over. I didn't see a way for my life to ever become manageable. After a little time my head cleared and I was able to process thoughts rationally. I can't say this enough -REHAB SAVED MY LIFE- there is no doubt in my mind that I would be dead without it.
  • When did people first notice it was becoming a problem?
  • I kept it pretty under control for a while, but eventually I lost all of my stuff which was a lot because I worked and I came from an affluent family. It all split at the seams so quickly. My family was so concerned when I was sick all the time (withdraws, etc.), never had any money, and constantly had track marks. I could no longer hold a job or even present myself as a normal human being because my appearance and health had deteriorated so badly and I was unable to focus or talk about anything else.
  • How did you finance your habit?
  • Doctor shopping, selling my own pills, insurance and pharmacy fraud, working. Basically however I could.
  • How long were you actively addicted (using heavily)?
  • I was using heavily between the ages of 16-22. Even if I wasn't on pills, I was on something.
  • Was there ever a point where you realized you had become addicted?
  • When I could not go even a few hours without pills. I had no money and I couldn't even sleep through the night without getting up and doing pills. I couldn't keep a job. I had alienated myself and was completely deluded in my thoughts.
  • Did your drug use ever cause you to commit crimes?
  • Yes, I tell people all the time that I'm allergic to drugs - I break out in handcuffs... Here's the thing: I wasn't in trouble every single time I did drugs but I was on drugs every single time I got in trouble. My crimes range from embezzlement all the way down to bad checks. I was never prosecuted for any of the doctor shopping or fraud.
  • What was it that made you get help?
  • I had no other choice. I had to or I was going to die. I was so unhappy and I just couldn't do it anymore. I made a conscience effort not to go back to that life. My family was destroyed and my relationship was in shambles.
  • Did you have an intervention?
  • Sort of... I was Marchman Acted so the cops basically just came and picked me up. I would leave detox or rehab and they would come get me again, take me to jail, then rehab.
  • If you had a rock bottom, what was it?
  • I had nothing, absolutely nothing. I was ALWAYS sick. My mom was devastated. Her and I are very close and that hurt me a lot.
  • What treatment did you receive? Where? For How Long?
  • Detox about 12 times (ranging from 3-7 days each time).
  • Did you relapse?
  • Yes. I was in and out of treatment. I just had to keep going back. At some point I got tired of seeing those around me knowing one day I would be them. There was also a girl I used to hang out with a lot and do pills. Her and I were SO similar and I saw some of the horrible things that happened to her and how far of a fall she took and I knew it wasn't just a matter that I could be her it was that in time I would be her.
  • What do you think the biggest thing you have learned through recovery has been?
  • It gave me faith that people can and sometimes do change. It also showed me a very detailed picture of my life if I didn't stop.
  • If you could talk to your old self, before your addiction, what would you say to them?
  • I'd tell myself that it would never be enough. I would never have enough drugs to satisfy my cravings. I would explain how complicated and heart-breaking the experience would be. I would warn myself that I have this demon in me and I would remind myself that I AM stronger than whatever this thing is inside of me.
  • What have been the hardest parts of recovery and sobriety for you?
  • The hardest part for me is living with things I've done. It's hard that people still think of me as the person I was. It's hard learning to accept that the person I'm talking about is me.
  • What has changed about you since you got sober?
  • I am better at managing my finances. I'm more genuine. I have so much better of a relationship with my family and my SO.
  • What parts of life seem different now, what things do you notice now that you didn't while you were using?
  • A lot. It seems like my mind was so filled with drugs that I was constantly in this 'survival mode' and never noticed anything around me. It's a little different to have a real routine and plan things. I've also noticed how obnoxious druggies can be.
  • How has your desire for drugs/alcohol changed as you have been sober?
  • It's different. I still think about using and occasionally have dreams about it. I don't think the case is that I want to get high. I want the desire to go away, which may never happen.
  • For those who aren’t able to recover, why do you they weren’t able to?
  • A variety of reasons. Some have mental issues. Some are just surrounded by it. Some are too scared to get help and some flat out don't want it. You can't just quit because someone wants you to. You have to want it. A lot of people want to get clean and be sober, but they don't actually want to be sober. They want to want it. Does that make any sense?
  • How did your family deal with your addiction before you got help?
  • They enabled a lot unfortunately. They became very suspicious and concerned.
  • In what negative ways did your addiction impact your family?
  • They didn't trust me. We couldn't spend time together. I was always too trashed to enjoy anything or even care to carry on a conversation.
  • How have they reacted to your sobriety?
  • Wonderfully. They are so proud and happy for me.
  • How do you think enabling behavior (them enabling your addiction) by family members figures into addiction? did it with yours?
  • It did a lot. It was kinda negative because I could just ask for money and go get drugs all the time so I took advantage of it. I also took advantage of the fact that no one really wanted to say anything bad so they just went along with it.
  • What would you say to the family or friends of an addict who wants them to get help? What is the best thing they can do?
  • I'm not sure. Nothing worked for me until I wanted it.
  • What can former addicts do to get a new start?
  • I moved 1,300 miles away, but the best thing for me was to change the people places and things I was familiar with. I had to change every part of my life. Everything had to be different for me.
  • How does your past addiction and related issues (criminal record if you have one) impact your life currently?
  • It makes it hell of a lot harder to get a job. I think it makes people unfairly judge me. I have horrible credit and I'm still sorting out an identity theft situation that I'm sure was done by someone I knew when I was using.
  • What motivates you to stay sober?
  • Thinking about how miserable the alternative is. Thinking about the improvements I've made to my life. Knowing that I probably don't have the strength to go through recovery again.
  • What tricks/techniques/tips do you use when you are having an especially hard time staying clean?
  • I never really thought about it.
  • What, if any, does the role of God or spirituality play in your sobriety?
  • I am not a very religious or spiritual person.
  • Out of all the anti-drug messages out there, do you think any of them work? What do you think of the faces of meth campaign? Do you think it is effective?
  • Faces of meth is a REALLY good one. It shows facts and not some stupid warning that people don't take seriously. Campaigns like that commercial where the guys smoking a joint and hitting a little girl with his car going through a drive through. This does not work. We are not stupid. We know pot isn't going to inhibit your thoughts so much that you run over a kid. Giving out all those 'scary drug info' things is not going to work. It pretty much seems like Reefer Madness (the movie) all over again.
  • What do you think are the best ways to help current addicts?
  • Show them that they do have a chance. The only people who were ever able to get through to me were addicts themselves. I think we take their stories more seriously because they know what it's like. They've been in that dungeon before.
  • What do you think are the best ways to stop kids from ever trying drugs?
  • I'm not sure. I don't think anything would have stopped me from even trying them. Maybe if they saw the lives that addicts lead. It's not pretty.
  • What would you say to casual drug users?
  • We all thought we were casual users at one point. You will not realize you're a hardcore drug user until it's too late and you're already addicted.
  • What do you think about the way the current legal system deals with addicts?
  • I don't know what to make of this one because yes, some of these people are bad and need to be put in jail, but a lot are suffering from mental issues and genuinely need help. I think there should be more funding for substance abuse treatment since most addicts can't afford rehab or detox. They're so broke they can't afford help and if they can, they often just spend the money on drugs anyway.
  • Do you think addiction is a criminal issue, or a public health issue?
  • Public health. I don't think many of these crimes would have been committed without the perpetrator being on drugs, thus making the user not a criminal. They just genuinely need help. They are sick.
  • What do you think is the root cause of most addiction?
  • People use drugs for so many reasons.
  • How do you think trauma from one’s past influences addiction?
  • Absolutely, it could be the only way they know how to cope with their thoughts or feelings. I see this a lot.
  • What drugs do you think are the most dangerous? The least? What types of addiction seem underreported or go unnoticed most from your perspective?
  • Meth and pills are the most dangerous I think. Meth because it makes you so crazy and pills because the physical addiction is so bad. I guess the least would be weed. Opiate addiction goes unnoticed a lot because unless you are REALLY high or in withdraw there really aren't many 'tells.'
  • Do you have anything else you want to say?
  • I can't even begin to explain how much help rehab is. Not even just because of the treatment. Because the time you have to clear your head is so valuable. You can't think right for a while after using.
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Chris

Opiates / Meth

5 years addicted

24 years old

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Coming Soon.

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Christie

IV Opiates

10 years addicted

34 years old

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  • When did you first try alcohol?
  • 10
  • When did you first try drugs?
  • 13
  • What was the first drug you tried, was peer pressure a factor? What made you want to try?
  • Marijuana, I would say yes to peer pressure, and I tried it because I thought I'd look cool.
  • What was the first drug you became addicted to?
  • Marijuana
  • Describe your addiction progression, how it began and where it ended before you got help?
  • I would say it began at age 13 with marijuana. I dropped out of school at 16 and experimented with all types of drugs including acid, meth, coke, Xanax, and pain pills. I started doing meth and coke real bad between 17 and around 24. At the age of 24 I got a prescription for pain killers for my hip dysplasia, started out popping them, then snorting, then I 2010, I started shooting them. I lost everything, and then my family did a Marchman Act me, and I have been sober since July 13, 2011.
  • When did people first notice it was becoming a problem?
  • I would say around the age 24. It was effecting my work, even my boss at the time noticed.
  • How did you finance your habit?
  • For a while I worked, then I couldn't or didn't care to get a job so I sold pills, traded pills, and ripped people off.
  • How long were you actively addicted (using heavily)?
  • I would say for about 5 or 6 years.
  • Was there ever a point where you realized you had become addicted?
  • Yes, right before my mom Marchmen Acted me, and the reason being, my family had taken my daughter, and at the time I was only worried about my next fix, not my daughter. That's when I realized I was gone!
  • Did your drug use ever cause you to commit crimes?
  • Yes.
  • What was it that made you get help?
  • My parents Marchmen acted me.
  • Did you have an intervention?
  • Not really, the cops picked me up.
  • If you had a rock bottom, what was it?
  • My rock bottom was losing my daughter.
  • What treatment did you receive? Where? For How Long?
  • I went to detox, and then to rehab for 5 months.
  • Did you relapse?
  • No.
  • What do you think the biggest thing you have learned through recovery has been?
  • That I have had a lot of things in the past that made me want to use to not have to think about it or feel it, and that I do not need to cover those things up with drugs. I am strong enough to deal with it, and that nobody but myself is to blame for my using.
  • If you could talk to your old self, before your addiction, what would you say to them?
  • That it may seem like fun, like you have no worries when using, but it is not worth it, you lose too many things, too many years.
  • What have been the hardest parts of recovery and sobriety for you?
  • The hardest part was accepting that I was responsible for my actions, and sobriety for me would be getting into the real world having a real job, not living in a fantasy world.
  • What has changed about you since you got sober?
  • I have become the loving and caring and responsible person I used to be.
  • What parts of life seem different now, what things do you notice now that you didn't while you were using?
  • That I actually enjoy being sober. I enjoy just spending time with family and working, normal things seem pleasurable.
  • How has your desire for drugs/alcohol changed as you have been sober?
  • It has changed a lot. I have no desire to use at all anymore. I enjoy life without it.
  • For those who aren’t able to recover, why do you they weren’t able to?
  • Because they didn't want to change. Also, maybe they didn't have a supportive family.
  • How did your family deal with your addiction before you got help?
  • They didn't deal well towards the end, they were fighting with me, with each other, they were pretty much done with me.
  • In what negative ways did your addiction impact your family?
  • They were fighting with each other about me. I believe it was driving my mom and her husband to almost leave each other. They are no longer fighting about me, about how to deal with me, or about supporting me financially.
  • How have they reacted to your sobriety?
  • Quite well, I've gotten trust and relationships back with family. They are very happy.
  • How do you think enabling behavior (them enabling your addiction) by family members figures into addiction? did it with yours?
  • It did with mine very much, if I needed money, or a place to stay they gave it to me. I think if they had said no earlier to helping with that, I maybe would've wanted to be sober sooner, it just made it very easy to get the drugs.
  • What would you say to the family or friends of an addict who wants them to get help? What is the best thing they can do?
  • I would say let the person fall, let them hit bottom, let them realize they need help. They need their family, even though its very hard, to turn their back. That has to be done. Also, if they are not willing to get help, do what my family did and get a court order!
  • What can former addicts do to get a new start?
  • Change their friends they were hanging with, get involved in church, in drug free activities, meet people not addicted. There is help out there, they can get work, get independent.
  • How does your past addiction and related issues (criminal record if you have one) impact your life currently?
  • It doesn't have too much impact on me, but I'm lucky because other people probably don't have the help I did, for example getting a job, and a place.
  • What motivates you to stay sober?
  • Well the biggest thing is my son and daughter, and then the fact that I don't have to chase money or drugs. I have a normal life and I love it.
  • What tricks/techniques/tips do you use when you are having an especially hard time staying clean?
  • I would say counseling is a big thing, also change the people you hang with.
  • What, if any, does the role of God or spirituality play in your sobriety?
  • I believe that accepting God or spirituality gives you a sort of inner peace.
  • Out of all the anti-drug messages out there, do you think any of them work? What do you think of the faces of meth campaign? Do you think it is effective?
  • I don't personally think they work to much, if you are going to use, then they don't affect you, but maybe they do scare some kids. I don't know, faces of meth, I don't think it works really.
  • What do you think are the best ways to help current addicts?
  • I think getting them into a Rehab for at least 90 days, but longer for most. Getting them help, showing them there is help, and that there is a life after drugs. People can't kick this on their own.
  • What do you think are the best ways to stop kids from ever trying drugs?
  • I think parents should be involved in their kids lives all the time. They should know where they are as much as they can.. who they are hanging out with, BE involved!!"answer">
  • What would you say to casual drug users?
  • They need to look at their life, and say goodbye to everything. I don't believe in casual drug use.
  • What do you think about the way the current legal system deals with addicts?
  • I don't really know how they are dealing with them. I understand some get sent to rehab and that's great, but I've seen a lot of people not care, and get sent back to jail. I think they get too many chances. I think there are people not in the legal system (yet) that could use the help."answer">
  • Do you think addiction is a criminal issue, or a public health issue?
  • Both.
  • What do you think is the root cause of most addiction?
  • I think mental issues, and traumatic events, also peer pressure."answer">
  • How do you think trauma from one’s past influences addiction?
  • For me personally, it was a way to deal with the trauma and also something to sorta blame your addiction on at the same time.
  • What drugs do you think are the most dangerous? The least? What types of addiction seem underreported or go unnoticed most from your perspective?
  • I think all drugs are dangerous, none more than meth and opiates. I think Marijuana goes unnoticed the most, and I do believe it is a gateway drug. Maybe it won't harm you as much as the others, but you have to start somewhere.
  • Do you have anything else you want to say?
  • The one thing I have to say is, don't be afraid to get the court involved. I know most people don't want to do that to their family member, but if mine hadn't I would not have gone and gotten help. It saved my life. Don't be scared or sad to turn your back on them, because if you keep enabling them, they will never hit bottom, never have a reason to get help.
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Jessica

Alcohol / Opiates

6 years addicted

24 years old

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  • When did you first try alcohol?
  • 14
  • When did you first try drugs?
  • 14
  • What was the first drug you tried, was peer pressure a factor? What made you want to try?
  • Alcohol. I tried it at parties and stuff like that. I just wanted to because everyone else said it was fun I suppose
  • What was the first drug you became addicted to?
  • Meth
  • Describe your addiction progression, how it began and where it ended before you got help?
  • At first I just tried whatever drugs and eventually I became addicted to meth. As time progressed I also dabbled in pills. I was arrested several times and temporarily lost custody of my kids.
  • When did people first notice it was becoming a problem?
  • When I distanced myself from everything else.
  • How did you finance your habit?
  • Work, men, crime, my family, whatever.
  • How long were you actively addicted (using heavily)?
  • Over 5 years.
  • Was there ever a point where you realized you had become addicted?
  • When I let drugs take priority over my children.
  • Did your drug use ever cause you to commit crimes?
  • It did, yes.
  • What was it that made you get help?
  • My kids.
  • Did you have an intervention?
  • Not really.
  • If you had a rock bottom, what was it?
  • My parents had my kids and I knew I needed to get them back.
  • What treatment did you receive? Where? For How Long?
  • In-jail treatment.
  • Did you relapse?
  • When I left rehab I started drinking a lot and it was sort of scary so I had to stop.
  • What do you think the biggest thing you have learned through recovery has been?
  • How important my family is.
  • If you could talk to your old self, before your addiction, what would you say to them?
  • I do not know.
  • What have been the hardest parts of recovery and sobriety for you?
  • learning to cope differently
  • What has changed about you since you got sober?
  • I'm a better mom.
  • What parts of life seem different now, what things do you notice now that you didn't while you were using?
  • I notice how important some things are that I previously ignored.
  • How has your desire for drugs/alcohol changed as you have been sober?
  • I don't want to do drugs now.
  • For those who aren’t able to recover, why do you they weren’t able to?
  • They didn't try hard enough. Anyone can recover.
  • How did your family deal with your addiction before you got help?
  • They didn't trust me.
  • In what negative ways did your addiction impact your family?
  • It separated me from my kids, but I have them back now.
  • How have they reacted to your sobriety?
  • It's been great.
  • How do you think enabling behavior (them enabling your addiction) by family members figures into addiction? did it with yours?
  • Yes. My parents gave me things because they didn't want to face the problem and create drama by saying no.
  • What would you say to the family or friends of an addict who wants them to get help? What is the best thing they can do?
  • Not to enable their addiction.
  • What can former addicts do to get a new start?
  • Meet new people.
  • How does your past addiction and related issues (criminal record if you have one) impact your life currently?
  • It makes it harder to get a job and explain myself, being a felon.
  • What motivates you to stay sober?
  • My kids and my family.
  • What tricks/techniques/tips do you use when you are having an especially hard time staying clean?
  • Thinking about how much harder life was before
  • What, if any, does the role of God or spirituality play in your sobriety?
  • I do believe in god.
  • Out of all the anti-drug messages out there, do you think any of them work? What do you think of the faces of meth campaign? Do you think it is effective?
  • Faces of meth works.
  • What do you think are the best ways to help current addicts?
  • Rehab.
  • What do you think are the best ways to stop kids from ever trying drugs?
  • I don't know what would have stopped me form doing drugs.
  • What would you say to casual drug users?
  • To be careful.
  • What do you think about the way the current legal system deals with addicts?
  • I think its good they have in jail rehab programs to do in exchange for a lighter sentence.
  • Do you think addiction is a criminal issue, or a public health issue?
  • Criminal.
  • What do you think is the root cause of most addiction?
  • Genetics.
  • How do you think trauma from one’s past influences addiction?
  • N/A
  • What drugs do you think are the most dangerous? The least? What types of addiction seem underreported or go unnoticed most from your perspective?
  • I think alcohol is very dangerous even though it is legal. Most people don't see it as a hard core addiction, but it easily can be.
  • Do you have anything else you want to say?
  • N/A
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Chelsea

IV Opiates

7 years addicted

25 years old

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  • When did you first try alcohol?
  • 13
  • When did you first try drugs?
  • 13
  • What was the first drug you tried, was peer pressure a factor? What made you want to try?
  • Weed. I was just curious about it so I tried it and I liked it.
  • What was the first drug you became addicted to?
  • Opiates
  • Describe your addiction progression, how it began and where it ended before you got help?
  • It started out pretty harmless and just kept progressing on and on until I was finally out of contact with my friends. My family soon stopped helping me. I was eventually court ordered into rehab on a Marchman Act.
  • When did people first notice it was becoming a problem?
  • When I started using needles.
  • How did you finance your habit?
  • A variety of ways, doctor shopping, stealing, and scamming.
  • How long were you actively addicted (using heavily)?
  • About 7 years.
  • Was there ever a point where you realized you had become addicted?
  • Pretty early on actually. I just didn't care to do anything about it.
  • Did your drug use ever cause you to commit crimes?
  • I do have a criminal record.
  • What was it that made you get help?
  • I was ordered to.
  • Did you have an intervention?
  • Through the courts, but not really how one would think of an intervention to be.
  • If you had a rock bottom, what was it?
  • I just got tired of being sick all the time.
  • What treatment did you receive? Where? For How Long?
  • In-jail treatment.
  • Did you relapse?
  • Each time I just went back to jail and started from day one again.
  • What do you think the biggest thing you have learned through recovery has been?
  • Patience.
  • If you could talk to your old self, before your addiction, what would you say to them?
  • I'd tell them how hard it is to come back from something like this.
  • What have been the hardest parts of recovery and sobriety for you?
  • Learning that some people may never forgive me. I'm calmer and more trustworthy.
  • What has changed about you since you got sober?
  • I'm calmer and more trustworthy.
  • What parts of life seem different now, what things do you notice now that you didn't while you were using?
  • N/A
  • How has your desire for drugs/alcohol changed as you have been sober?
  • I know the consequences.
  • For those who aren’t able to recover, why do you they weren’t able to?
  • Maybe they just didn't trust the plan enough.
  • How did your family deal with your addiction before you got help?
  • They shunned me and were very disappointed.
  • In what negative ways did your addiction impact your family?
  • I'm back in contact with most of my family,
  • How have they reacted to your sobriety?
  • Great.
  • How do you think enabling behavior (them enabling your addiction) by family members figures into addiction? did it with yours?
  • A little because my parents would help me with things, but at a certain point they cut me off.
  • What would you say to the family or friends of an addict who wants them to get help? What is the best thing they can do?
  • Not sure.
  • What can former addicts do to get a new start?
  • Live differently.
  • How does your past addiction and related issues (criminal record if you have one) impact your life currently?
  • It makes it so much harder to explain my criminal history to employers.
  • What motivates you to stay sober?
  • My family.
  • What tricks/techniques/tips do you use when you are having an especially hard time staying clean?
  • N/A
  • What, if any, does the role of God or spirituality play in your sobriety?
  • A big one.
  • Out of all the anti-drug messages out there, do you think any of them work? What do you think of the faces of meth campaign? Do you think it is effective?
  • Not many are effective.
  • What do you think are the best ways to help current addicts?
  • Talk to them and be able to relate.
  • What do you think are the best ways to stop kids from ever trying drugs?
  • Not sure.
  • What would you say to casual drug users?
  • Not sure.
  • What do you think about the way the current legal system deals with addicts?
  • They should get more help instead of just punishment.
  • Do you think addiction is a criminal issue, or a public health issue?
  • Both.
  • What do you think is the root cause of most addiction?
  • Not sure.
  • How do you think trauma from one’s past influences addiction?
  • N/A
  • What drugs do you think are the most dangerous? The least? What types of addiction seem underreported or go unnoticed most from your perspective?
  • I think any drug involving needles makes it automatically worse.
  • Do you have anything else you want to say?
  • N/A
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Kristine

Opiates / Meth

5 years addicted

27 years old

close
  • When did you first try alcohol?
  • 12
  • When did you first try drugs?
  • 14
  • What was the first drug you tried, was peer pressure a factor? What made you want to try?
  • Pot, I suppose I just did it because everyone of my friends was.
  • What was the first drug you became addicted to?
  • Meth
  • Describe your addiction progression, how it began and where it ended before you got help?
  • It happened pretty fast I guess. I just got involved with my ex-boyfriend. He was arrested a lot and before he did his last stint in prison (before the term he is currently serving which is life without parole) DCF took my kids away and I had to get clean if I wanted to see them.
  • When did people first notice it was becoming a problem?
  • When I was about 21 or 22.
  • How did you finance your habit?
  • Mostly theft or schemes perpetrated with my ex.
  • How long were you actively addicted (using heavily)?
  • About 5 years.
  • Was there ever a point where you realized you had become addicted?
  • Of course. It was early on.
  • Did your drug use ever cause you to commit crimes?
  • Yes, mostly theft.
  • What was it that made you get help?
  • Losing my kids.
  • Did you have an intervention?
  • Not really.
  • If you had a rock bottom, what was it?
  • Losing my kids.
  • What treatment did you receive? Where? For How Long?
  • In-jail treatment.
  • Did you relapse?
  • I used on and off in and out of jail for about 2 years.
  • What do you think the biggest thing you have learned through recovery has been?
  • N/A
  • If you could talk to your old self, before your addiction, what would you say to them?
  • It's not worth it.
  • What have been the hardest parts of recovery and sobriety for you?
  • Living without my kids and losing my significant other even though he wasn't the best person. My kids don't have a father now because he is going to be incarcerated for the rest of his life.
  • What has changed about you since you got sober?
  • I'm more thoughtful.
  • What parts of life seem different now, what things do you notice now that you didn't while you were using?
  • I didn't notice much of anything when I was using.
  • How has your desire for drugs/alcohol changed as you have been sober?
  • I still like the feeling drugs give me, just not the effects it causes.
  • For those who aren’t able to recover, why do you they weren’t able to?
  • Maybe they just didn't want it badly enough.
  • How did your family deal with your addiction before you got help?
  • We didn't speak.
  • In what negative ways did your addiction impact your family?
  • I lost my kids, but I'm still not very close with my family.
  • How have they reacted to your sobriety?
  • Positively. I've spoke to them several times.
  • How do you think enabling behavior (them enabling your addiction) by family members figures into addiction? did it with yours?
  • Not really. I didn't have family to support me.
  • What would you say to the family or friends of an addict who wants them to get help? What is the best thing they can do?
  • That's hard to answer because most friends of addicts are addicts too and its hard to see drug use without doing it as well.
  • What can former addicts do to get a new start?
  • Cut ties to everything.
  • How does your past addiction and related issues (criminal record if you have one) impact your life currently?
  • It's hard to get a job. I'm on probation for 5 more years. I can't drive a car. I can't get financing for anything.
  • What motivates you to stay sober?
  • Trying to get my kids back.
  • What tricks/techniques/tips do you use when you are having an especially hard time staying clean?
  • Thinking of my kids.
  • What, if any, does the role of God or spirituality play in your sobriety?
  • I'm very religious.
  • Out of all the anti-drug messages out there, do you think any of them work? What do you think of the faces of meth campaign? Do you think it is effective?
  • I think people will probably still do drugs if they want to.
  • What do you think are the best ways to help current addicts?
  • Not sure.
  • What do you think are the best ways to stop kids from ever trying drugs?
  • Show them real addicts and how screwed up their lives actually are.
  • What would you say to casual drug users?
  • N/A
  • What do you think about the way the current legal system deals with addicts?
  • I hate it.
  • Do you think addiction is a criminal issue, or a public health issue?
  • Both.
  • What do you think is the root cause of most addiction?
  • I think there are many causes.
  • How do you think trauma from one’s past influences addiction?
  • I've had a lot of bad things happen and drugs always helped me forget.
  • What drugs do you think are the most dangerous? The least? What types of addiction seem underreported or go unnoticed most from your perspective?
  • N/A
  • Do you have anything else you want to say?
  • N/A
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Kristy

Crack

10 years addicted

36 years old

close
  • When did you first try alcohol?
  • 12
  • When did you first try drugs?
  • 12
  • What was the first drug you tried, was peer pressure a factor? What made you want to try?
  • I think that marijuana is probably the frst drug everyone does.
  • What was the first drug you became addicted to?
  • Cocaine
  • Describe your addiction progression, how it began and where it ended before you got help?
  • I started out just snorting cocaine or smoking it with weed. It seems like everything changed once I started smoking crack.
  • When did people first notice it was becoming a problem?
  • When my looks went really far downhill.
  • How did you finance your habit?
  • Dancing and private parties.
  • How long were you actively addicted (using heavily)?
  • Over 10 years.
  • Was there ever a point where you realized you had become addicted?
  • When I went to prison the first time.
  • Did your drug use ever cause you to commit crimes?
  • Yes. I have been to jail and prison as well as court ordered rehab. I am not on community control anymore.
  • What was it that made you get help?
  • The judge.
  • Did you have an intervention?
  • No.
  • If you had a rock bottom, what was it?
  • When I was in prison I thought about all the things I was missing out on in my kids lives and how much prison sucked. I still relapsed a couple times though.
  • What treatment did you receive? Where? For How Long?
  • In-jail treatment and 18 months outpatient.
  • Did you relapse?
  • I did relapse some but every time I just started again at day one.
  • What do you think the biggest thing you have learned through recovery has been?
  • That we really don't need drugs to survive.
  • If you could talk to your old self, before your addiction, what would you say to them?
  • I would tell them how it is going to play out.
  • What have been the hardest parts of recovery and sobriety for you?
  • Acceptance.
  • What has changed about you since you got sober?
  • I care more about the people in my life and have more morals.
  • What parts of life seem different now, what things do you notice now that you didn't while you were using?
  • I don't remember much when I was using.
  • How has your desire for drugs/alcohol changed as you have been sober?
  • I'm no longer in survival mode.
  • For those who aren’t able to recover, why do you they weren’t able to?
  • Lots of reasons.
  • How did your family deal with your addiction before you got help?
  • They accepted it.
  • In what negative ways did your addiction impact your family?
  • I spent a lot of time away from my kids and my family.
  • How have they reacted to your sobriety?
  • They are happy for me.
  • How do you think enabling behavior (them enabling your addiction) by family members figures into addiction? did it with yours?
  • A little bit. They didn't give me money to support my habit, but they also didn't call me out on it.
  • What would you say to the family or friends of an addict who wants them to get help? What is the best thing they can do?
  • Try to get their loved one to a treatment center or counselor.
  • What can former addicts do to get a new start?
  • Be different people.
  • How does your past addiction and related issues (criminal record if you have one) impact your life currently?
  • I have a lot of baggage and a criminal history and no credit.
  • What motivates you to stay sober?
  • How my life is now.
  • What tricks/techniques/tips do you use when you are having an especially hard time staying clean?
  • Thinking about my family.
  • What, if any, does the role of God or spirituality play in your sobriety?
  • A little bit.
  • Out of all the anti-drug messages out there, do you think any of them work? What do you think of the faces of meth campaign? Do you think it is effective?
  • i think faces of meth works to an extent.
  • What do you think are the best ways to help current addicts?
  • Help them see you can be happy sober.
  • What do you think are the best ways to stop kids from ever trying drugs?
  • I don't know.
  • What would you say to casual drug users?
  • That we all used to be casual drug users.
  • What do you think about the way the current legal system deals with addicts?
  • I hate it because most of us need help not a punishment
  • Do you think addiction is a criminal issue, or a public health issue?
  • Public health.
  • What do you think is the root cause of most addiction?
  • Not sure.
  • How do you think trauma from one’s past influences addiction?
  • Yes, in a lot of ways.
  • What drugs do you think are the most dangerous? The least? What types of addiction seem underreported or go unnoticed most from your perspective?
  • N/A
  • Do you have anything else you want to say?
  • N/A
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