My name is Brandi and I am an opiate addict in recovery. I am 27 years old and have a 6-year-old daughter. I started using drugs and alcohol when I was 13 years old. It started with just smoking marijuana and drinking occasionally. Growing up I always felt alone. No matter how many friends I had. No matter how much my family was there for me. No matter how good I had it, I still felt very alone and as if I didn’t belong. Once I was a freshman in high school I began to hang out with peers that were much older than me, which also meant the drugs and partying was stronger. I managed to hold down a job and honor roll status throughout my high school days. I graduated high school in 2007 with an Advanced Diploma, 3.8 GPA and Top 60 of my graduating class. After I graduated I met who would become my daughter’s father. I enrolled in a community college and obtained a CNA Certification. It wasn’t long after completing the certification course that I met and fell in love with my drug of choice, opiates. In 2009 I was pleased to find out that I was pregnant with my daughter. I say pleased because at that time I thought that was my way out. I knew I had a problem and I couldn’t stop. Once I found out I was pregnant, I said to myself “This is the answer. This will make me stop using.” I quickly found out that my disease was stronger than I thought it was, and I used my entire pregnancy. Due to my higher power’s grace, my daughter was born in March 2010, a very healthy baby girl. After she was born I obtained a new job working at a physician’s office. At this new job, I again found out pretty quick how strong my disease was. At this point my disease was making decisions for me, without my permission. I began calling in illegal prescriptions. I eventually got caught, and was convicted of 13 felony counts of prescription fraud. I lost my job, my CNA Certification, my dignity, and worst of all – my purpose in life. And at that time I thought to myself again, “This is the answer. This will make me stop using.” I was wrong yet again. After my conviction I went on to work in various restaurants serving tables. I ended up losing my home and my car. I lost many friends and was slowly losing my family. Using was all I cared about. Nothing else mattered to me. It wasn’t until November 2013 that something changed. I had just stolen a good amount of money from my parents. They of course caught me. It was either get help or go to prison. I chose to get help. With the help of my parents, I packed my bags and moved 4 hours away to Richmond, VA. I moved into a recovery house and started to do what I needed to change me and my life. I had some stumbles along the way. I would get a few months clean and relapse. One relapse resulted in an over dose that I am very grateful to have made it through. But each time I relapsed I kept coming back and learned something from each relapse. In January 2016 I had 20 months clean and I made the decision to use. The 4 days that I spent using were by far more miserable than the 10 years I spent using prior to recovery. The gratitude I have for my life and my recovery process today is unexplainable. I am truly happy today. I am able to look at myself in the mirror and see a beautiful woman inside and out. Today I work for an addiction clinic. I help those persons with the same disease that I have. Not only did I think my dreams of ever working in a physician’s office were not obtainable ever again, but I never dreamed that I would be working with other addicts and helping them to get clean and go through their recovery journey. I am also a Peer Leader for the recovery foundation I went through to get clean. Helping other addicts who are just like me, help me to stay clean. Today I am present in my daughter’s life. Not just physically, but mentally, emotionally and spiritually involved in her life. The best feeling about being in recovery, to me, is that I am not alone. I don’t feel alone anymore. I feel like I belong. I feel that I have a purpose in life again. I feel happiness, gratitude and love. My name is Brandi and I am an addict in recovery. What that means to me is that I haven’t used any drugs or alcohol in 9 months. Recovery has been the best blessing that could have ever happened to me.
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