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Learn from the first-hand experiences of others.

Slide background

Learn from the first-hand experiences of others.

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Learn from the first-hand experiences of others.

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Learn from the first-hand experiences of others.


person found Whitney's experience helpful.

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My struggle with addiction has most definitely been a fight that has been difficult to win. Honestly, I don't even know if you can say that I've won the fight because the disease of addiction never goes away. It will be with me for the rest of my life, but thanks to the treatment I've received and the support of my family, I'm confident that I will continue to stay clean and lead a sober life.

At the ripe age of 13, marijuana and alcohol were the first two drugs that I ever put into my body. For the next few years, I experimented with both substances recreationally; however, at the age of 17, I started abusing prescription pills. Over the period of a few months, my addiction to prescription pills escalated.

It was in 2003 that I received a "possession" charge and conviction for having prescription pills on school property without a prescription. As a result, I was suspended from school and put on house arrest for several months. Fortunately, once I was 18, the conviction was erased from my record.

It was two weeks before my 18th birthday, in the year 2004, that I went on vacation with a guy I was dating and two other friends. On the way to Florida from Kentucky, my boyfriend informed me that he had brought drugs with him and wanted to know if I wanted to try them. I said yes, and that was the day that my love-hate relationship with methamphetamine began.

Over the next few years, I slowly became more and more addicted to methamphetamine, and at one point I even went to rehab in Arizona, but I didn't stay clean after completing the program.

I gave birth to my son in 2008 and stayed clean from drugs for almost one year. After relapsing, though, I lost custody of my son. He was put into the care of my mother, so I got to stay in contact with him on a daily basis, which was great. However, this still didn't provide him with stability of having a mother in his life like he needed. To complicate things, my son's father and I split up during this time period as well.

It was in 2010 that I chose to go to rehab. I must point out that the community resources I tried tapping into, including the local Department of Community Based Services (DCBS) office was of no help whatsoever. They never once offered to help me find a rehab or anything.

My mother and I researched rehabs for a few months and contacted several of them. Most times, I was informed that they had no beds open. In January of 2010, though, a bed came open at a detox facility in Dayton, KY. I stayed in detox for 10 days, and then I went to another facility to complete a 30-day inpatient rehab program.

It was this program that completely changed my life. It provided top-notch education from counselors who suffered from the disease of addiction themselves and, most importantly, it gave me an environment and the tools that I needed to start living a sober life.

Rehab at this treatment facility wasn't like most other co-ed rehabs, where you stay couped up in a facility 24/7. Instead, the girls stayed in a four-bedroom apartment and the boys had their own as well. We were supervised 24/7 by staff; however, we were allowed to leave for eight hours every Sunday and spend time with our families.

We spent eight hours a day during the week learning about addiction. At nighttime, we attended AA and NA meetings. On the weekends, we went bowling, to the movies, and took part in other fun activities.

Looking back on my experience with drugs, the most frustrating part of it was trying to find the help that I needed to get clean. I of course knew all along that I had a problem, but still, even when I was ready to quit, it was nearly impossible to get into a rehab center. I could have chosen to go back to the rehab that I had previously went to in 2004, but it cost nearly $30,000 a month and I didn't have that kind of money.

I don't know if there is anything that someone could have told me to make me change my mind about doing drugs. It was a childish choice to start doing them, and at the time I always thought I could quit several years down the road when it was time to get married and settle down. Years later, though, I learned the hard way that addiction is a real disease and that I severely suffer from it.

If there is any advice that I can give to someone who is in active addiction, it would be to go to rehab, preferably a 30 to 180 day inpatient program. Also, I can't stress enough that my ability to stay clean has been largely dependent on the support that I have received from my family.
I honestly think that most people can't get clean from drugs because they don't have the support of their families, and this in and of itself is enough to keep a drug user using drugs. There's nothing worse than the feeling of being alone. That's why rehab is so important. Once you get there, you realize you're not the only one fighting the battle against addiction.

On an ending note, I'm proud to say that I have been clean for several years now, and I have full custody of my son. To top things off, after my son's father spent two years in jail for manufacturing methamphetamine and then went through a 6-month rehab program, he was released from jail in 2012. We have since been together, got married, built a house, and we're living a better life than I ever imagined.

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