Dona Lemoine-Acierno -

Recovery Date: 11/05/2017

“The sun will rise no matter how dark the day before was.”

My name is Dona. I’m 27, I’m a single parent & I have 3 years clean. I grew up in small town outside of the city. My life up until I was 20 was easy and manageable. When I turned 20, I moved back to Worcester to live with my mom. I had my own car, I had a job, I had been on my own for 3 years before I came back home. After being home for a few months I met a guy. He introduced me to heroin… but he never explained where it would take me next.

After that first time my life slowly started falling apart. I was 21 and IV using by then. My habit turned from a $20 a day to $120 a day. At this point I was ready to end it all. The day I knew my habit was out of control was the day I hurt my mom. To this day it still really bothers me what I put her through. I got arrested for a domestic, & I was taken into custody until my next court date. I never thought I would end up the way I did. I played soccer, I was involved in a lot of school activities in high school, I did great in school & I always followed the rules.

Drugs REALLY do affect the brain and the decision making aspect of it.

When I got released out of jail they wanted me to get on board with level 3 probation. I had to attend classes that taught me how to start a new life. Showed me that even though I fell, I could come back & succeed in life.

I fell a few more times after this… but I got back up every single time. I knew I made a mistake & that mistake did NOT have to define me. They rolled out with Worcester’s first Drug Court. At this time I had just found out I was pregnant and I was on my third VOP (violation of probation). I was so scared, I had NO idea how to be a mom and the last thing I wanted to do was have a baby in jail. They offered to give me one LAST FINAL chance.

Drug Court and everyone including the other participants really helped me see that Recovery is possible. That life is beautiful. That I matter. They showed me kindness, they showed me tough love, they showed me compassion when I slipped up. I’d be dead if it wasn’t for the DA, the lawyers, the Judges, the Counselors, the Case workers, and the probation department. My life would be a completely different story if they didn’t help me when I needed it the most.

Today, my foundation for being who I am and the push to make the world a better place came from that amazing place and the amazing people connected.

Today I’m an example that we DO recover regardless of what other people think.
We can start over.
We can AND do find ourselves again.

Don’t listen to the odd’s against you. You can always come back from a fall, & you can find a better life than you had before. It all starts with YOU.

Keep holding on. It gets so much better. You are NEVER alone. I promise.

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