Ivana: Celebrating 10 Years Clean and Sober

A woman shares her story of recovering from drug use and how, through her new life, she helps students do the same.

Ivana Grahovac
Executive Director, Transforming Youth Recovery
San Diego, CA

At the age of 17, I developed anorexia and bulimia, which went untreated. Shortly after, I developed a full-blown addiction to heroin and crack. The only reason I graduated from my undergraduate institution was because my mom sat next to me in class for an entire semester so that I couldn’t get up and leave to go get high. I did graduate, but I felt so hopeless about my chances of a successful, happy, full future that I went to live on the streets of Detroit for two months during the winter.

My parents never gave up on me. They sent someone to find me, and I was taken to jail. I spent two months there, and then I was allowed to get treatment. Having multiple attempts at treatment allowed me to finally find the intrinsic motivation to stay sober.

I now work in the collegiate recovery field, which means all of those painful experiences were not in vain because I can use them to give hope to students who are struggling. Today I am the executive director of Transforming Youth Recovery. I just celebrated 10 years being clean and sober. I am so grateful.

Last Updated: 12/18/2015