After multiple attempts at recovery, I woke up in jail on April 2nd, 2011 with no recollection of how I had gotten there. My arrest was the result of passing out at a restaurant while having a warrant for a probation violation. It was my third. I was twenty-nine years old and I had been in my addiction for nearly twelve years. I knew if I didn’t change I was going to end up in prison or even dead.
I went to treatment for the third time with profound willingness and humility. I remember sitting down in my therapist’s office and saying, “if you tell me to stand on my head for six hours a day I’m going to do it”. I was done fighting. I was willing to walk differently, talk differently, and approach recovery with a commitment that I’d never had before. I knew that if I were truly going to recover, I would need to change everything. Career, relationships, hobbies, and most importantly — motivations. I could no longer approach life with the self-serving interests that had controlled me for so long.
I am a person in long-term recovery.
I credit my successful recovery with a long-term inpatient program and ongoing aftercare that kept me on track. Combined with a group of friends that I met in recovery who continue to hold me accountable to being the absolute best version of myself. I stayed in a continuum of care for fourteen total months. Without that structure and support I could never be where I am today. Through this experience, I found my calling in helping others on their journey from addiction. I knew that I could never go back to the life I was living, and I was prepared to do whatever it takes. I took a leap of faith and walked away from a career that I once thought gave me everything I ever wanted. I went back to school and started waiting tables to supplement my student loans. Eventually, I secured a part-time position as the marketing director for a sober living facility and I was well on my way.
Today, I am the Chief Operations Officer for a long-term addiction treatment center in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. I am on the board of directors for Stout Street Foundation and 5280 High School, both non-profit agencies in Denver, Colorado, that focus on atypical methods of addiction recovery and prevention. I am also a featured member of an international speaker’s bureau dedicated to inspiring change in the way society views addiction.
I am a force in long-term recovery.
I am sharing my story to put a face behind the statistics. To show how one person hit multiple rock bottoms and still managed to find a way out. Our stories alone are powerful, but our stories together are powerful beyond measure. Let’s change the national conversation around addiction and prescription drug abuse. For anyone struggling with addiction: You are not alone. There is help. You can recover. With time and hard work you can think again, feel again, and remember who you were before addiction.
“Remember that just because you hit bottom doesn’t mean you have to stay there.” – Robert Downey Jr.