“I am what I like to call myself a recovering addict because I have a biochemical disease in my brain that led me to search for happiness, dopamine, and ways out by abusing mind-altering and life-controlling controlled substances. Like most people, my start down the road felt great and okay, in the beginning. It ended in a disaster that started with an injury. I was involved at 17 in a car accident and by the age of 27, I found myself in my primary care doctor's office begging for help for my neck and back pain. This lead to pain management and overprescribed medication for what turned into 8 years. 8 long years of me thinking “it’s okay. My doctor prescribes me these medications and I go to work and pay my bills, what’s so wrong with it?” 8 long years of me struggling with different life stresses and trauma in my life. Because who doesn’t struggle with losing loved ones, everyday life stress, depression, and anxiety, right? 8 years of me losing relationships that meant the most to me from my family to my significant other, to friends and it felt like my only “true friends” were those who were also buying and abusing opiates and other drugs like myself. Besides, no one cared like my other drug-using friends, sleeping in my car and hotels and buying and taking pills with me. And certainly, no one got me like they did either! 8 years of doctor hopping to get extra medication when I would run out or overtake what I was prescribed. 8 years of chasing my next high what seemed like every second of every day because in reality I was! 8 years of robbing Peter to pay Paul and spending every dime I had just to make sure I wasn’t pill-sick! 8 years of losing jobs because of carelessness and only caring about my addiction. 8 years of my life that I robbed myself of that I can’t ever get back!
On August 15th, 2018 I finally decided I had enough. My doctor had passed away and I could no longer afford to support my habit and I knew I was ready to finally get clean. Please know I tried cold turkey, the Thomas method, Kratom, I mean you name it I tried it! I had friends over the years in and out of both suboxone and methadone clinics and I was petrified of what admitting I had a problem to a doctor would finally do to me! I was told horror stories about their time at clinics and I was so scared but I knew I couldn’t do it on my own and I couldn’t kick the pills naturally or deal with the withdraw so something had to give. I finally got up the nerve to call a facility and they told me they could get me in the next couple of days and the meds, labs, and doctor's visit was going to cost me around $900 monthly out of pocket.
Fortunately, I was able to come up with the money and I went to the clinic and was asked some questions, urine screened, spoke to briefly by a doctor, and was sent on my way with a month's worth of suboxone. I quickly filled my prescription and began taking them as prescribed, but knew I couldn’t continue to pay monthly but I finally felt a little sense of relief that I was doing the right thing. I did this for two months but I still just felt like I was taking one thing and replacing it with the other and $900 a month is a lot of money that I didn’t have.
Shortly after, I spoke to a good friend that mentioned he, as well, went to a clinic. He loved where he went and his insurance paid for it. He never had to spend more than his copay and that going to A New Start saved him. I made the phone call and from the first encounter at A New Start, I spoke with someone who told me they took my insurance and would be happy to have me as a patient! I finally felt some sense of relief. I had my first appointment at A New Start on October 15, 2018, where the program and what was required were explained. I remember thinking "they really want me to go to a lot of therapy and come here every week, goodness that’s a lot, but hey you are saving $900 a month so suck it up. A little therapy never hurt anyone.
I quickly found myself going to group meetings where I would speak about my life and my struggles or my successes. I quickly was able to open up to not only my therapist, Donna, but I was also able to open up and openly speak in front of other therapists and patients who had struggles just like myself. I would leave that clinic once a week with a smile on my face from either individual therapy, group therapy, or even just a visit with my doctor who is amazing! I found myself telling my story and being proud of myself and who I was gradually becoming.
Before I knew it, I had a job and my friends and family back. I had a sponsor and loved going to meetings because I always left feeling refreshed. From the moment I walked in that door to the moment I left, I was always treated with the utmost respect and wonderful patient care! I quickly realized I wasn’t there for just a pill or doing this just for medication, I was doing this to gain control and get my life back. And wow what a lucky girl I was to have this whole team and staff of people that quickly became like family alongside me the whole way! I wasn’t just a patient I was part of a family and an amazing family that took the biggest part in molding and making me into who I am and who I have become today!
As I recently celebrated my 3-year sobriety. I took time to really reflect on the last 3 years of my life and how far I have come. I not only have my own beautiful new townhome that I work hard to pay for every day, but I also have an amazing career, all of my friends and family back, an amazing support group of friends, and a huge family at A New Start that I owe nearly all of my success to! Sure I did the work but without that team and office staff, I wouldn’t be nearly who or where I am today! I am so thankful for my doctors, nurses, therapists, and even my peers at a new start for helping take part in making me who I am today!
I make the drive that is now 1 hour and 20 mins from home and I’ve had many people ask me, "Why do you continue to go there?" There are other clinics around, and closer, but my response is always the same. I know there are, but no way I would ever go anywhere else. Those people know me, they care about me, they are my family, and who I owe my success to today for being the woman I am. And nothing in the world would ever make me go elsewhere.
I love everyone at that clinic and they care about my sobriety and success just as much as I do. And for that, I am blessed and so grateful. Like most, I thought the program was overwhelming at first, but now I know it is what saved my life. I am living proof every day that if you work the program and do your part, it will work. I can’t get that 8 years I lost back, but with this program and clinic staff, I can continue to make the next 8 or however many years the best and be someone I am proud of. And be part of a family and program that I am more than proud of! Thank you to everyone at A New Start, I owe it all to you!”