My name is Abigail, I am 26 years old, and my clean date is March 17, 2022. I grew up in Charleston, West Virginia, and I lived there pretty much my entire life. I spent my younger days very sheltered and spent a lot of time with family, neighborhood kids, and in the Christian church. Both of my parents are non-addicts and have college degrees, so basically, on paper, they’re normal. Despite being religious, they raised me to be very open-minded and loving, which has stayed with me as I’ve gotten older. I was introduced to marijuana in high school mostly from peer pressure and curiosity. Looking back, I had no idea that this was the beginning of my life spiraling out of control and leading to opiate addiction. I went to college because that was what was expected of me, but I was not mentally prepared whatsoever. I spent my early adult years experimenting with pills, habitually smoking weed, and partying. When I turned 21, I was offered heroin. It didn’t take long for my life to become unmanageable, leading me to move back to my hometown.
This would be the beginning of many attempts at getting off of heroin. In 2020 I went to my first inpatient rehab. I moved out of state into an Oxford house and was on 8mgs of suboxone and psychological medication for anxiety and depression. I didn’t intend to work any sort of recovery program because in my opinion, I didn’t need one. I abstained for three months before turning back to marijuana and eventually heroin. I was in and out of facilities for the next couple of years, always substituting my drug of choice but always ending up back on it. My most recent relapse happened around October 2021. I didn’t lose everything this time physically, but mentally and spiritually; I was so completely lost. I put myself into a different facility that taught me so much about why a 12-step program was vital to life in recovery.
Before going in, I switched my medication to help my corrected diagnosis of Bipolar 1 disorder. While in treatment, I worked with the nurse practitioner to get up to a stable dose. I also began retaking 8mgs of suboxone. I decided to go on maintenance with full intentions of eventually being off it. I completed my 30 days in West Virginia and came to New Jersey to continue treatment with PHP and then IOP while beginning to really learn how to work a program. As soon as I got to New Jersey, I went from 8mgs to 4mgs of suboxone so that I wouldn’t be as physically addicted to a higher dose when I was ready to get off of it completely.
With the mindset of wanting to be completely free, I did not notice intense withdrawal symptoms other than being a little tired for the first few days. I got a sponsor before completing the PHP program and made as many meetings as possible. I took full advantage of what I had to work with so that I would be prepared when I gained my freedom back. I got a job, began step work, and went down another milligram on my Suboxone. It’s a process, but I gained trust in a higher power and knew I had help on this journey. Today I am down to 1 milligram of suboxone and will begin going down on that once I finish step two. I love the life I live, and I have let go of my reservations for all substances. I am truly blessed and grateful to have the opportunity to share my experience, strength, and hope to show other addicts that not only is recovery possible, but a fulfilling and prosperous life is too. Everyone’s recovery is different, and everyone has to choose their own path. Life will always show up, but today I have the tools and perspective to get through it without using.