Yesterday, I talked about one of the 35 programs The Brighton Center uses to touch the lives of over 74,000 of our neighbors annually. The Brighton Recovery Center for Women is another one of those programs.
In the heroin epidemic that is sweeping our region, they are at ground zero. They are fighting the battle. And they are winning.
In an effort to put a face on addiction, FortThomasMatters.com is teaming with The Brighton Recovery Center for Women to tell the unfiltered story of addiction through the eyes of one of it's residents. The Heroin(e) Diaries will be a biweekly feature that will detail the road to recovery of Melissa.
She is our neighbor. Her story is important. Here she is:
My name is Melissa. I am a 37 year old alcoholic and my alcoholism has a serious drug addiction. I could tell you how my childhood and teenage years played a part however you would have to come hear my lead at a twelve step meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous to know the entire story. Do know that my destructive actions and character defects began at a very young age.
I got sober in 2007 and was active in Alcoholics Anonymous until 2011. Due to my drug use I contracted Hepatitis B & C, after completing the Interferon treatment I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes and Thyroid disease.
During the four years of sobriety I relied on a Higher Power which I call God and became aware of a spirituality that I chased. I wanted to be of service to God and others, yet something inside was missing, which led to a two year struggle again with addiction. During the years of 2011 and 2012 I fell apart physically, mentally and spiritually, however I continued to go to Alcoholics Anonymous meetings.
I could pull together 10 days, 15 days or maybe 30 days of sobriety but nothing more.
I never took any action to fill the emptiness inside of me. I ran to a needle and a crack pipe to fill the void. After many hospital stays due to the abuse on my body and my health problems my final debacle came in April of 2013.
I was left for a day in a basement overdosed on heroin. By the time I was taken to the hospital my body temperature was 72 degrees and my blood sugar was well into the thousands.
I was barely alive.
After a five day stay in ICU I was released only to go back to dance with the devil again. Two days later I was found by the Fort Thomas Police in my car unresponsive from a 2 day crack binge. I again was in the ICU and I awoke to my sponsor and sponsor's sister. These two women have been by my side since 2007, with fear in their eyes and desperation in their voice I knew something had to change and a willingness of surrender came over me.
Melissa's story will continue as the Heroin(e) Diaries will run every 2 weeks on FortThomasMatters.com.