I am proud of the woman I have become. I am no less than anyone else. I am also no greater than anybody else.

When I decided to find recovery, it was either continue on the path of self destruction or get my life together. I didn’t find recovery on the first attempt. Hell, I didn’t find it on the second, third, or fourth attempts either. Every time I thought I hit rock bottom, there was a trap door. My life spiraled quickly out of control. I was homeless, broke, unemployed, smelly, dirty, hungry, and strung out. On September 9, 2011, while walking in the park I was sleeping in, I made a decision to surrender. I surrendered to win. I haven’t looked back since.

The very beginning of my recovery is blur to me, looking back. All I know is that I was so afraid of dying that I did anything and everything other people in recovery told me to do. I took most of the suggestions they gave me, and learned many lessons from the ones I chose not to take. I was scared. I am so grateful that I am still so afraid of using. My life is so beautiful today. Why would I want to go backwards? I have grown so much as a person since I’ve been clean and I don’t want to throw that away.

A common misconception people tend to have about people in recovery is that we still behave and think as we did in our active addiction. It isn’t necessarily the case; at least for me it isn’t. Throughout my active addiction, I did behave like a disgusting, stereotypical, as seen on TV- addict. I lied, cheated, robbed, manipulated, the list goes on and on! I take a lot of pride in the simple fact that I don’t do said actions anymore. My mom doesn’t sleep with her purse underneath her pillow anymore. I am proud of the woman I have become. I AM NO LESS THAN ANYBODY ELSE. I am also no greater than anybody else.

Over the years, active and clean, I’ve been called many names. A lot of the time they came from close friends and family. “You’re disgusting. Why don’t you go bang another drug dealer you freaking crack whore?!” These words stick out so vividly in my mind because they were repeated time and time again by my sister.

History doesn’t erase itself but it is my job as an individual to not go down those paths anymore. I work very hard on being a positive, successful, and productive member of society.  If it weren’t for the multiple “rock bottoms” I’ve hit in the past, I wouldn’t be half the woman I am today.

What recovery means to me is freedom; freedom from the hell I was living in for almost a decade. I am free from most of the sick and twisted thoughts that I thought while I was using. I am free from the sick people I surrounded myself with. I am free from the disgusting places I found myself frequenting.

What recovery means to me is freedom; freedom from the hell I was living in for almost a decade.

I am just as good of a mother as a woman who never touched a drug in her life. I am just as employable as the student that got straight A’s in high school and never took their nose out of a book. Today I am honest. Today I am trustworthy. Today I love myself and I am able to love others. Why should any of my accomplishments be discredited because of the disease of addiction? Would a cancer patient that’s in remission be spoken to any differently than somebody that’s cancer free? I am shameless. Today, I am proud and those closest to me are proud, as well.