My journey began on August 19, 2013. Like most I was beaten down and desperate. Unlike some, I wasn't too sure if I had hit my bottom because by the grace of God my addiction did not land me in jail. I made a decision to put myself in detox. Knowing 7-10 days wasn't enough. I went to a 28 day facility where I began to learn about myself and my addiction. I then again decided to go further. On September 23rd, I was accepted to the Rea. Thinking I knew better I ended up leaving the Rea for a relationship to later find out they were actively using drugs. I called Haley and Marie begging to come back and telling them my situation. Marie told me if I wanted to come back I would have to prove some willingness. I would have to get out of there. So I did what they asked of me. That bottom I didn't hit while in active addiction, I hit at 45 days clean. I had to go to a shelter clawing and fighting to keep my recovery and get back to the Rea. For the first time in my life, I had to fend for myself and I was scared to death!
I will forever remember December 3rd because that is the day a guy hung himself and I walked in and helped get him down and tried to do CPR. Thank God we were able to get him to breathe again. He was also an addict. I saw that and realized if I was still using that could have been me. It was a very humbling experience for me that I am grateful for today. On December 9th I received a phone call that I was able to come back. This time I had a whole different outlook. I was willing to do whatever is asked of me so I didn't go through all of that again.
The hardest thing I dealt with while at the house was not being able to see my daughter. My family lives five hours away so every time I would get my hopes up something always happened and it would break my heart. I was just so hurt I just became a wreck. Marie told me to never forget that hurt or that pain because when I do get her back it will be that more precious and I will never want to lose her and feel it again. I graduated from the Rea in June and now I'm living in the apartments with my daughter. I now have over 2 years clean.
This program has made a huge impact on my life. I'm rebuilding my relationship with my loved ones. My daughter is learning who her "real" mommy is and it's absolutely amazing! It is truly a blessing. The Rea has taught me how to be a self-sufficient member. I never knew what it was like to be an adult and have responsibilities. I have been given a second chance to live my life and make something of myself! I'm proud of what I have accomplished in life. I'm clean and that alone is a miracle. One thing I never thought was possible was integrity; I never even could have imagined it. Today I care about doing the next right thing whether I'm by myself or if someone is right there. I'm very grateful for where I am today and for all that has been so freely given to me.
I'm going to tell you a little about how I ended up at the Rea of Hope. I come from a normal family with a few dysfunctional members, my mom and dad. I started drinking and using drugs around fourteen. But throughout my early twenties it remained recreational. It wasn't until I was 28 and had three children that I was introduced to Oxy's and Roxy's. It was then that I realized I depended on a drug. The second time my children were taken by CPS I decided to go to detox and get clean. No treatment, no program. I just didn't use for over a year. During that year I got my kids back, took care of them, cleaned house. Life was good again. But then the pressures of being a single mom got to me.
This time I turned to alcohol. I started out with a bottle of wine a day, and then progressed to a box of wine every three days. I didn't want to do anything. I didn't clean, I didn't shower, I took no pride in anything. I did the bare minimum with my kids. Eventually it all caught up with me. CPS took my girls for a third time. I went to detox and then my sister's house. Everyone told me that I needed long term treatment but I so did not want to believe it. I heard about the Rea of Hope and called. I was told that I had to go to do 28 days somewhere first. So I got into Pinecrest in Huntington. I absolutely hated it. I got a bed here at the Rea and expected to hate it just as much. Boy was I surprised to find out I didn't hate it at all. I actually love being here. I came here because I wanted to get my girls back. But now I'm here for me.
The state absolutely did not want to give me another chance. Back in June I had a hearing to determine whether I would get an improvement period. I had thought about ways to kill myself because I couldn't imagine a life without my girls. But now, one year later, I am through my improvement period and have regained custody of all three of my daughters. Everything is looking good. The promises come true for me every day. I am so thankful for the Rea of Hope giving me a chance. I graduated on December 30, 2014. Today, I am living in New Life Apartments with my girls. I have so much to look forward to. I don't know where I'd be if it weren't for the Rea of Hope. But I'm sure I wouldn't be living the amazing life I am today.
This will be the third Christmas I am celebrating clean and sober. Although I have put in the foot work the Rea of Hope has helped me immensely in becoming the woman that I am today. Just as a recap from last year, I am 26 years old and from Wheeling, WV. My addiction started in 2007 when I was injured during my first semester at WVU. The prescriptions I was given sent me into a downward spiral that I spent seven painful years enduring. My clean date is December 20, 2012 and my first day at the Rea of Hope was January 31, 2013.
This has been my second full year here at the Rea and I have been given so much. The staff and residents have played an instrumental part in my recovery. Never before have I had women to look up to and model my life after. That in itself is a gift I could never reciprocate. Being around women that have many years of recovery and women that barely have a month or two continues to show me that every single day is a miracle when you come from where we do. I am reminded on a daily basis that simply existing is a gift. Today I live a life that I would have never thought possible and it wouldn't be without the guidance, support, and family I have found here.
Within the last year I have accomplished many things. In March I was able to pay off my fines to get my license back and in June I was able to pay off my restitution, which ended probation and all of my legal issues. Without being employed at the Rea I don't know if I would have been able to meet these goals. In October I applied for a scholarship the Rea of Hope has to offer for New Life Residents upon successful completion. Being granted the scholarship I was able to have a down payment for a vehicle and pay six months of insurance and car payments. Having a vehicle is an absolute must with a baby on board. I saved the best part for last. I just gave birth to my very first child, a beautiful, healthy little baby boy named Vincent David Pazos. The women at the Rea have been very supportive throughout the entire pregnancy. This child and I have not needed for anything and I find great comfort in that. Being a new mother is by far the hardest and most overwhelming thing I've ever been through but with the help and support here I have great faith that I'll be able to make it as a mom.
In the last two years of being clean, living at the Rea and NLA, being a member of a 12 step fellowship, and participating in service work; I have learned how to love myself and how to love other people. Two years ago that is something I would have been completely incapable of doing. Without learning to be responsible and self-sufficient there is no way I could give my child the love and care he deserves. I have learned that here. Everything I know about being a productive adult I have learned here as I have chosen to follow by example. The Rea of Hope has opened many doors for me which otherwise I wouldn't have known were there. My son never has to know the pain and despair of active addiction as long as I follow the ways I have been shown here, and that is the greatest gift of all.
I know a lot of love and support goes into the Rea of Hope from you and the other board members. A million words couldn't express the gratitude I feel towards the Rea and everyone who plays a part in keeping this program up and running. This program saves lives, it surely did mine.
I have been free of drugs and alcohol for over seven months. Without the help and guidance of the Rea of Hope, that likely would have been impossible.
I fell in love with OxyContin at the age of twelve. I spent my adolescence doing a variety of drugs. At thirteen I learned how to properly light a crack stem. I lost many nights to alcohol and Xanax, but opiates were my first love. Despite my extracurricular activities, I graduated college with a promise scholarship. I had many trophies and awards for both academics and athletics. It would seem as if I was destined for great things, but I knew better. I knew that I was three months pregnant with my drug dealer.
I had always looked down on addicts. I had used drugs for many years without the sickness that they claimed. It only took a couple of weeks of daily use to learn the true terror of withdrawal. I soon found a new man who would support my growing habit. We spent the next five years intranasally abusing prescription opiates, but pills became more expensive and harder to find. Then there was heroin. I had only used heroin for a couple of months before the needle became more appealing. I had always looked down on intravenous users. I felt I was better than someone, until I wasn't anymore.
Within three months of using the needle, I stole from my mother, and she pressed charges. The threat of neither jail nor child protective services could deter me. I continued to use heroin until I was incarcerated for the first time, less than a year after first using the needle. I was lucky enough to be accepted into drug court, an alternative corrections program. Still, I smoked fake weed daily and used when I thought I could get away with it. I had wanted to stop living that way for years, but despite my opportunities, I continued to use. I went to jail a few more times for failing a screen or neglecting my responsibilities. The last time I was sent to jail I was told that I would not get out until I was accepted into a rehabilitation facility. I was resistant. I was upset. I didn't need rehab.
Two weeks into a 28 day program I had my first realization. I needed long term treatment, and if I wanted a better way of life, I needed to leave my husband with whom I had used for years. It is amazing what a little time and distance can do for an addict like me. I am so grateful that treatment centers are available to those that want to utilize them, and to those like me, who need a little shove into recovery.
I feel so fortunate to have gotten a bed at the Rea of Hope. While I haven't been in any other fellowship homes for recovering women, I can say with an almost certainty that none could have been as beneficial to me. I have formed relationships with the women here that I wasn't open to before, both residents and staff. I have a newfound appreciation for the fellowship that is growing every day. I have found a new way of life in the rooms, and an increasing optimism for a future centered in continued abstinence and recovery.
I have improved health and happiness evident in both my appearance and demeanor. It is so rewarding to receive positive affirmations from those who can see the change in me, sometimes more than I can see it myself. I can go to work every day without concern of having enough drugs to get me through a shift. I pride myself on a work ethic I never knew before. My coworkers appreciate my presence and my bosses value my dedication. I was offered a recommendation to take home with me. That never would have happened in my unemployable days of active addiction. I have a bank account, and it isn't overdrawn.
Today, I am capable of being honest with myself and others. I have the trust of my family and friends, and the foundation in recovery that will make completing drug court possible. Thanks to the Rea of Hope and an alternative corrections program, I will not be a felon.
I can be the person I was meant to be years ago, before my drug lust made me abandon all other interests and potential. I can be a good mother to my son, a proper example of adulthood, and a mother that he can be proud of. Even greater than improving my life, the Rea of Hope has given the next generation a mother, possibly ending the viscous cycle of addiction for my son.
I wish that I could fully express my gratitude for everyone involved in this miracle, but I have learned that the best way to do that is to pay it forward. I have big plans to do great things, and when I do, you will see me again, giving away what was so freely given to me.
I can't say enough good things about the REA. Because of them my daughter has her life back. They showed her how to live again, without the use of drugs. The REA taught her useful resources and was a great support system. She is coming up on her year of successful completion of the program, she has a full time job, and living completely on her own without the help of her family. I can honestly say I don't remember the last time that has happened. Without the encouragement and the chance given to be a part of this wonderful program, I couldn't imagine where she would be today without the REA. Thank you again from the bottom of my Heart and may God continue to bless you and this wonderful program.
-KD (Mother of Current Resident)