Lisa: Choosing to Live Without Substance Use

A woman shares her story of recovering from alcohol and drug use, and becoming a nurse practitioner so she can help others.

My name is Lisa Pratt, and I’m a nurse practitioner. I’m also a recovering alcoholic and drug addict.

Nine years ago I wanted to die. My life was an exhausting pursuit of getting high, getting drugs, getting drunk, and being sick. I lost my marriage, my home, my career, my business, and I also lost myself.

In a small moment of grace, I came to the decision that if I wasn’t going to die, then I was set on finding a way to live. I’d already been to chemical dependency treatment three times. But I knew I’d find help there, so I decided to try treatment one more time. Getting and staying sober was the hardest thing I’ve ever done, but once I started on the path to recovery my life began to improve so dramatically that I just kept on.

I met encouraging people in recovery who showed me how beautiful life can be through their own examples. I leaned on them, and they helped me believe in myself again. I lived in clean and sober housing and surrounded myself with people who were staying sober. Eventually I returned to school and then to graduate school. I chose a career where I could give back to others struggling with mental illness.

I’m now a psychiatric nurse practitioner with a master’s degree. I’m the psychiatric medical provider for a 10-bed youth inpatient unit at a large community mental health organization. I get to work with adolescents who have chemical dependency and psychiatric disorders. I have a husband who is on his own recovery journey, a daughter who has never seen either of her parents drunk or high, a son who still lives with his father, but he’s proud of me and he loves me. I am grateful for the gifts sobriety has given me, and I hope that through telling my story I can pass some of those gifts on to others.

Last Updated: 12/22/2015