People get sober in all sorts of ways. Sometimes they just quit on their own. Sometimes they go to rehab. They show up in 12-step rooms, ashrams, churches and their parents’ basements. There is no one right way—something we’ve aimed to show in our collection of How I Got Sober stories. While we initially published these as either first person essays by our contributors or as interviews with anonymous sober folks, we eventually began to realize that there were other stories to tell: yours. This is our reader spotlight and this, more specifically, is Hayley:
What is your sobriety date?
January 21st, 2015
Where did you get sober?
Fairfield County Jail.
When did you start using?
I am 23 now; I started using pain pills when I was a teenager.
How would you describe your life before you quit using?
A living hell. It was like living as a ghost—always numb.
What was your childhood like?
Wonderful! I had the best childhood. My family is so supportive and we were all really close.
When did you first think you might have a problem?
When I started waking up sick without my drug of choice. When all I could think about was that drug.
How did you rationalize your drug use?
I’m not sure if I really did. Deep down I knew I had a problem and I knew I needed help but I didn’t want to stop. I promised myself I’d quit soon and I always broke my own promises.
What do you consider your bottom?
I pushed my family away. They came to me one night and offered to get me help but I denied I had a problem. The next day I was arrested.
Did you go to rehab?
No, I did not. My rehab was sitting in jail. Oddly enough, I am grateful for it. Jail was my ah-ha moment! It was a big wake up call for me. There are only two roads heroin takes you down, and that’s dead or in jail/prison. And I wasn’t about to make this my life anymore. I remember calling my mom crying in jail and saying, “Mom, this isn’t for me.” That moment was really when I decided it was time to get my shit together.
Did you go to AA or NA?
I went a few times when I got out of jail but I don’t go now. My family is my support system. I think it’s a good program. It’s just not for me.
What did you do to seek help and/stay sober?
I went to The Recovery Center in Lancaster, Ohio and took outpatient classes and groups. I also have a drug abuse counselor. And of course my family and husband.
What do you hate about being an addict?
Everything. The drug use, the numbness; I pushed away everyone who loved me. All I cared about was that drug. It made me into a person that I’m not.
What do you love about being an addict?
Absolutely nothing. It is hell.
What are the three best tools you have acquired to stay sober and happy?
Get a good support system, stay away from old people and places you used to use with and never be ashamed to ask for help.
Do you have a sobriety mantra?
Fuck heroin. (Sorry for the language)
If you could offer a newcomer or someone thinking about getting sober any advice, what would it be?
Get help. Don’t be ashamed; share your story. There are many people out there willing to help you. You deserve the best life you can give yourself. You can’t do that on drugs or alcohol. It may be rough at first but it gets so much better. I am so grateful to be here today. Life is good.
Any additional thoughts?
Find me on Facebook.
Click here to see all our How I Got Sober stories.
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