My name is Amanda and I have been in recovery since March 3, 2008.

I first started using when I was 11. I had decided in 3rd grade that I
would use marijuana as soon as I could get my hands on it. I honestly
can’t tell you why, but I never felt apart of and something inside of
me felt like drugs or alcohol could be the solution to that. By the
time I was 14 I was using everyday, and progressively harder drugs. I
was sober briefly at 16 but it wasn’t long before I returned to using,
I was baffled at that time by how easy it was to step back into using
everyday, I didn’t realize that was a sign of addiction.

I quickly went through drug after drug, either finding that I couldn’t
appear functional while using it or not liking the effects. I
eventually stumbled upon Oxycontin. This to me seemed to be the cure
all, but the truth quickly became apparent after a weekend in jail.
The thing I had used to feel ‘free’ had turned into chains, I couldn’t
stay away or I would be sick.

I pretty quickly picked up IV using, it was cheaper and stronger than
pills. I moved from just heroin to heroin and crack. Everything I had
managed to hold on to quickly fell apart but that didn’t matter. My
life felt like a show room at Ikea, all the stuff was there but no one
really lived there. At that point I went to a brief treatment where I
was provided with Suboxone and 10 days of treatment and then sent
home. I went into another round of withdrawals several days after
being discharged, amazingly I didn’t use then either. It was several
months after, of not having friends or support, of not knowing what to
do with myself that I started drinking again. Within 7 days I had
started using heroin again, lost 30 pounds from being so sick, was
fired from my job and on the verge of homelessness.That was what lead
me to ask for help from a woman I had known from 12-step meetings. She
picked me up and took me to a free, non-medical detox center. Through
public funding I was provided with 90-days in patient treatment and
that is where I began to build a foundation in recovery.

This month I graduate from a Master’s program. I share a home with a
loving partner also in recovery and two furbabies. I live a life I
couldn’t have ever imagined for myself that is over flowing with love,
laughter and adventure. My life is no longer just an empty show room.