I spent the greater part of my adult life attempting to find and sustain recovery. I think the biggest challenge I faced in recovery was finding support for the trauma I experienced and the shame I held due to that trauma. What helped me to overcome these challenges was turning my experiences into advocacy and social justice work and fighting to improve the systems that harmed and failed me.
My Substance Use Disorder impacted my family in more ways than I can explain. I know that my father and sister spent countless nights trying to find a way to help me and praying that I wasn’t dead somewhere. My Substance Use Disorder also cost me children that I never got to opportunity to know or parent.
I think stigma was a significant barrier to me finding and maintaining recovery. Even in the recovery community and programs that exist stigma acts as a real barrier to getting treatment. Programs discourage medication as treatment and are bothered when you seek treatment multiple times even though we know that it takes many attempts to find recovery and medication has great outcomes in treating Substance Use Disorder.
Today I am a married mother of two small children and Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Living In Freedom Together-LIFT Inc, an organization that has different programs for survivors of the sex trade, including a recovery program Jana’s Place, and CATI (Creating Alternatives to Incarceration) a Diversion Program in partnership with The Worcester District Attorney’s Office. I have over 6.5 years of sustained recovery and the most beautiful part is today I am truly happy, have supportive friends and family, and I love my work and my family.
Everyday Miracles played a significant role in my early recovery. Having a safe place that was free of judgement and supported all paths to recovery helped me feel empowered to get involved in my own community and fight for change.