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Nicholas Addison Thomas

Director of Content Marketing, National Council for Mental Wellbeing

A Story of Recovery: Beating Addiction One Moment at a Time

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Hope is always within reach – even after hardship. Just ask Samantha, a 31-year-old mother who lost custody of her son in 2016 when she was struggling with addiction. In this interview, Samantha opens up about her journey from being homeless to helping others along their path to recovery.

How did you move forward after you lost custody of your son due to your drug abuse?

“I didn’t. When the state took my son away from me, I was on a suicidal, self-destructive rampage. I tried to overdose and almost succeeded, but I was revived. Some days were harder than others. I missed him a lot, but I was still struggling with addiction. Most days, I could get up and go to work without having to use heroin or meth; other days, I would be shaking at work, falling asleep and experiencing bad body aches. I just wanted to leave and find my fix and feel better.”

When did you know you had hit rock bottom?

“I eventually lost my job, was kicked out of my place and ended up sleeping on my drug dealer’s floor. I would let her use my car in exchange for drugs every day. I hated myself, so I decided to just stay high all the time. I didn’t want to feel anything. I was chasing the high to numb the guilt I felt. Around this time, the relationship with my boyfriend was becoming abusive; we would scream and beat each other daily. It wasn’t healthy. I wasn’t healthy. I was 65 pounds of misery and hate.”

What was your road to recovery like?

“There was a time when I knew the drugs, or my boyfriend, would eventually kill me … so, I ran. I fled to Virginia where my dad was living. I changed my entire life – the people around me, my environment, everything. I took a bus from Mississippi to Virginia, while going through withdrawals and nearly died from a seizure along the way. I would never recommend going ‘cold turkey’ like I did, but it did lead me toward recovery. By the time I arrived in Virginia, I was ready for a new start.”

What does life in recovery look like for you now?

“I have been in recovery for a little more than two years now. I have a job with the state and I am able to share parts of my story with people in active addiction. I’ve been reaching out to others to talk about my experiences in the hopes that it may inspire them to find their own path to recovery. I tell them to burn the bridges that lead their life back to destruction. I wish more people could know how individuals who are struggling with addiction need help. We need to fight the stigma, not the addict.”

What are your plans for the future?

“My future is something I am finally looking forward to. Every day is a new day. I can fall back into my drug abuse at any moment, but I am beating it one moment at a time. I continue to tell myself that I will remain sober, get out of bed and go to work every day. I am focused on helping people who are going down a similar path. As for my son, he is now 7 years old. Because I was not clean long enough for the state of Mississippi to return custody to me, he is going through the adoption process. I hope he will want to meet me one day and that he can forgive and be proud of me. Until then, I’m going to stay strong in my recovery.”

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