Guest post: People Who Have Struggled With Addiction Talk About Turning Their Lives Around


Today’s post is from a lady called Christina Underwood who asked if I’d post something she wrote in regards to addiction.

Life is a beautiful thing. Addiction can quickly cloud that fact, but when a person is able to get the help that they need, it doesn’t take as long as they think to gain that perspective back. This is clear from the many stories I’ve listened to from recovering addicts. Hope may seem lost, but as the proverbial smoke clears, many realize that things aren’t so bad after all.

Jarakah, a 23-year-old woman from Battle Mountain, Nevada, who attended the Michigan treatment center A Forever Recovery, said her treatment “completely” changed her life and helped her “take a negative idea and turn it into a positive one immediately.”

“My thinking process is different,” she said, adding, “It’s absolutely amazing how different I feel, how prepared I am to go out into the world and how excited I am to start my life.”

Matt, who started drinking at 15, put it this way: “What’s 45 days of your life? You can come here, and if you don’t like it, you can go home. The drinks and the drugs will always still be there. I can say a lot of people would do anything to have a seat here. And I’m just grateful I took it. It just completely changed my life around.”

Ryan from Ohio was a drug user for 9 years (including a 4-to-5 year stint with heroin).

He said, “When you’re in [treatment], you’re kind of in a bubble getting to learn the tools you need to address your life. I’m happy that I get to go home to my family. I’m happy that I’m clean and sober.”

Wesley, a heroin user from Brooklyn, told a story that’s all too common: drug abuse led him to stay on the streets for almost a year. Eventually, a relapse led him to treatment.

“At that time in my life, I was in need of some love and some real care,” he recalled. “So I thank God for the people who are on the front lines of withdrawal who paved the way and gave me the opportunity to give myself a chance. My favorite part, although it was hard for me, was to take an opportunity to give my growth some consideration. I’ve gained some tools, some insight, some awareness to be able to not misplace hostility on people who have nothing to do with what is going on inside my head. I’m not scared because I’ve been prepared for the inevitable, and that is to take back my life.”

“Now I’m ready to move on with my life,” he said. “I’m ready to be a productive member of society and take back a life that I so irresponsibly threw away. I felt like I was leaving home [when I graduated]. I felt like I was leaving my family. Those people have literally become my family. They know more about me than my own family. I thought I could never be honest in my life and let someone know what is truly going on with me. They prepared me, and they gave me my self-esteem back. They loved me more than I hated myself, and helped me to see that there is value, meaning, and purpose in my life. And today, I have what it takes. I have a new life, and I have the tools to proceed with that new life.”

Everybody has a different story about how they got to the point where they needed to seek treatment, but the common thread is that everyone who shares these stories makes peace with who they are, is able to leave the past in the past, and looks forward to a better life.

Got your own experiences or comments? I'd love to see them.

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