Date of Sobriety: September 26, 2016 — I know looking at me from the outside I’m not your typical addict. That’s the scary thing about this disease. You never know who’s struggling.

I have a clear memory of walking down the hallway of middle school and saying to my best friend, “I will never go down that road.”

It wasn’t the drink that first got me, it was the first pill. Vicodin. By the time I graduated high school in Belfast I was very well addicted.

When I was barely 18, I moved to Texas to attend college for automotive collision body repair. I wanted so badly to succeed, I relied on drugs to keep me going and motivated. They ended up destroying everything: my goals, my career, my relationships and, ultimately, myself.

I look back at pictures and my eyes were sunk into my head. I could see every bone in my body. I didn’t want to eat or sleep and the minute I started to come down it was like hell. Hallucinations when you’ve been awake for seven days; you go through some pretty awful stuff. Chemical burns, chewing the inside of my mouth raw, extreme paranoia — a scary, crazy time.

I came back to Maine and hoped to pull my life together but before I knew it my addiction had control of me again. I made the decision to change careers to hairdressing. I finally had the motivation to give up the drugs but did not give up the drinking.

At 22, I had gone from backwoods drug use to a glamorous life in Rockland, going out to fancy bars and restaurants with my friends after work. My friends could stop after two glasses of wine. I can’t. That control mechanism they have, I don’t.

I had everything anyone could ever want — I traveled, had a great apartment, lots of friends, but I was emotionally and spiritually dead. I had an amazing life but I hated everything about it, including myself. I was desperate for a change and made the decision to go to The Farm [non-medicated drug rehab center in Limestone, Maine]. 

I can finally stand to look at myself in the mirror. Through all the wreckage and destruction, I was able to find out who I really was, and because of the decision I made I am the best human in the making I can be.

I am putting this out there to be super inspiring and to say we are not just the bums under the bridge, and we DO recover.

Coastal Recovery Community Center: 691-3697,