Growing up I did well in school and played softball. I would eventually go to school for nursing. I was never the kid you would have thought would end up being defeated by heroin. However, growing up my mom was an alcoholic, and my dad was an opiate addict who was in and out of my life. For a long time I focused on school and softball, always declaring I would not be like my parents. At seventeen, a senior in high school, I took my first drink. After that, it was not progressive for me. It went from that innocent red solo cup and a blunt, to eight months later going to inpatient treatment for the first time. I was addicted to crack cocaine, and shortly after found the demon that would take me down fast, heroin. Once I did heroin, it took away every dream and aspiration I ever had. School was no longer important, family, friends, etc. I didn’t care about anyone or anything including myself. I turned into a selfish, self-destructive animal! I got a DUI at nineteen that hurt four people in my car including myself. It wasn’t enough to make me quit. I stole an ample amount to money from my dying grandmother, it wasn’t enough to make me quit. I hurt people I loved, the ones that loved me the most over and over. It wasn’t enough to make me quit. Any emotional appeal that should have made me wake up and ask myself what I was doing wasn’t enough, it didn’t suffice. It was a vicious cycle, in and out of impatient treatments, detox, and the fourth floor from the age of seventeen to twenty-three. At twenty-three, I was granted another opportunity that so many don’t get, to go back into inpatient treatment once again. This time I listened because I was physically, emotionally, and spiritually broken. I left that twenty eight day program and went to a recovery house, which was one of the best decisions of my life. I needed that structure at the time, and I wound up staying there for a little over ten months. When I got there I was introduced to and started working a twelve step program of recovery. It changed my life! I started to look at my part in everything that had happened to me. I stopped blaming my family and the world for my problems, and instead looked at myself and what I had to change. It’s only by the grace of God that I am here today. I have had a short lapse in my recovery. I relapsed when I was almost a year sober. I went back to the evil that did nothing for me or my life. I overdosed, almost died, and I’m very blessed to be here telling my story today. I went right back into that recovery house and continued to work on myself. Relapse is a part of my story, but it doesn’t have to be a part for everyone. My relapse taught me how fast I can go back to my old behavior if I’m not vigilant every day in my recovery process. More importantly now, I am a person in long term recovery from drug and alcohol addiction. What that means to me is that I have not found it necessary to put any mood or mind altering substance in my body since March 24, 2015. I think it is a huge misconception among people in recovery that we struggle with this every day. I do not struggle with this every day because I do what I need to do on a daily basis to keep the desire to use away. I have no desire to use and it still blows my mind. It is something that I have to deal with for the rest of my life, but I don’t struggle daily. Today for me it is about helping others that are suffering. I have been blessed with a job that I get to do that on a daily basis. I love what I do, and getting paid is just a bonus. I am truly grateful for the life I have today and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I am for once in my life, content with myself and genuinely happy. I am forever grateful to my twelve step fellowship and God. I am still one bad decision away from being back to that dark place of active addiction, and I never want to forget that. Anyone can see this other side of addiction! Recovery is the better way to live, just give yourself a chance. Don’t ever give up no matter what. If you are still breathing, there is still hope!