My names Teressa, and I’m a grateful recovered drug addict. My struggle is part of my story, and I’m so grateful for my journey. It has made me the woman, mother, sister, daughter and friend that I am today. The tools of this program have enabled me to tap into an amazing power that gives me the ability to show up for others and myself.

 I don’t remember much of my childhood, but I do remember always feeling out of place. I was surrounded by drug and alcohol abuse growing up and its prevalence caused me to believe this way of life was normal. By eleven years old, I had adopted the same lifestyle as the adults around me. Drugs enabled me to face life and I assumed they would continue to be the central fact of my existence. They gave me strength, independence, security and confidence. However, Addiction is a progressive illness and it did not take long before I reached extreme lows. By age thirteen, I was taking pills, smoking weed, drinking and began smoking meth.

 After some consequences that landed me in a juvenile program, I entered my first 30 day residential treatment center.  I was able to stay off meth the following years of high school but supplemented with other drugs because I believed meth was the problem. What I didn’t understand at the time was that the drugs were in fact not my problem, they were my solution to my own internal condition. Yet the other drugs landed me in many more juvenile programs, caused me to repeatedly be expelled from school, and created issues at home.

 A big part of my story and another addiction I struggled with was selling drugs because I was obsessed with the lifestyle. I was seventeen when I left home to pursue an abusive relationship and was introduced to heroin.

 Once I started using heroin I felt like I had finally found my place. Through relationships ending and new ones starting, I hid my addiction from my family and friends for as long as I could. My deception came to a head when I couldn’t disguise it anymore.  I got honest with the father of my children after many legal consequences and started Suboxone for a few weeks until I got pregnant with my son.

 When my son was six months old, my mom went back to prison and I started using heroin again. I had tried to get sober for years - Methadone maintenance, treatment centers, relapse prevention plans, sober livings, I followed discharge plans, and for some reason I just could not stay sober. I truly believed I had to kill myself to end the cycle.

 God had other plans for me. I landed in a treatment center that actually sat me down, opened the big book and explained the truth behind step one. I felt a sense of relief that I didn’t think could happen. I was not alone. I was hopeless and doomed but there was a program that could give me freedom and all I had to do was put in the work. So, I did and though I’ve had some struggles sober, I’ve recovered from a hopeless state of mind and body.

 Today I am free. For the first time in my life I have begun to learn who I really am and begin to love myself. I’ve formed the most amazing relationships along the way and I work in my career field that I love. I’ve been able to show up as a mother to my kids and make up for time that I lost. Not only has my life blossomed but I get the opportunity to help others and take women through the same work that set me free. Watching women gain freedom for themselves and pass it on to others is truly a special experience. I’m so grateful for my spiritual life and the faith I’ve acquired along the way. I’m grateful for this program, the change that has occurred in my life and the ability to share my story.