I feel it is so important to let people know that it is possible to stop using and have a wonderful life. I tell everyone who will listen that I’m in recovery.

My name is, Marcell DelCorpo, and my story is something that I’m very proud of today.  I use my story to give a message to hundreds of women going through the same journey of active addiction to recovery in the hopes it will help someone through their own journey.

At the age of 12, I started smoking pot and drinking.  The very first time I picked up I knew I was always going to use drugs.  Drugs made me happy, and I felt normal on them.  You see, as a kid I hated myself.  I was overweight and I hated the way I looked.  When I used I didn’t care about the way I was.

When I was 13, I started snorting crystal meth.  Right away I started losing weight, and was able to focus.  Within a few months I was shooting up, and then I was using benzo’s (Xanax) to come down.  I would take any drug that took me out of myself including cocaine, LSD, mushrooms and Quaaludes.

At age 15, I became pregnant, quit school, and got my own apartment.  I was a young girl with no life skills in an apartment with a bunch of 15 year old friends, it was a party house.

By age 21, I had 3 kids, no job, and a drug habit.

At age 26, I started using heroin, and it didn’t take long to lose everything.

The state took my children.  I lost my housing, and I sold my car for 30 bags of heroin.  I was in and out of drug rehab, mental hospitals, and jail.  I felt hopeless.  I just wanted to die.  I was full of guilt and shame over the fact that I would rather shoot dope then have my children.  I didn’t understand what was wrong with me, and why I couldn’t stop.  Why didn’t I want to?

At age 36, I was homeless and facing prison time for a drug conviction.  I was so sick and tired of being sick and tired that I tried to take my life with an overdose.  I was then committed to Ancora State Psychiatric Hospital, and placed on a cocktail of antidepressant medications.  Truth is I fit right in there.  I was out of my mind.  I was crazy!  So many years of using drugs and alcohol caused me to not even know who I was.  It was there that I had what we in recovery call my spiritual awakening.  One day, I was walking down the hall going out to smoke, and I just felt a feeling come over me that I had never felt before.  HOPE!  I didn’t want to get high for the first time in forever.  I wanted to get and stay clean.  I finished out my time there and went on to serve 13 months in EMCF prison for women.  While I was there they didn’t have much in the form of recovery.  The 12 Step fellowship meetings had waiting lists.  I was released in July 2004 on ISP to my mother’s house, to serve out the rest of my sentence.

I felt so alone.  I felt judged.  I was scared, but I knew I had to hang in there and try one day at a time to stay clean.  I struggled to find a job because of my felony conviction and my lack of work experience.  Also, I had no driver’s license.  I finely landed a job at the Dollar Tree and was grateful to have it.  Shortly after being released from prison I met a woman.  She too, was just released from the same prison, and together we started a non-profit called Redeem-Her.  We wanted to help women transition back from prison and rehab into the community with support because we didn’t have that.  For the first time in my life I found a purpose.  I was doing service work and was happy to do so.  We opened our first transitional recovery house in late 2004 and our first thrift store in 2008.  The store offers the women we serve employment, clothes, shoes, and anything else they need.

I went on to get my high school diploma and went to school to become a drug and alcohol counselor.  My motto is Support=Success.  We need the support of each other to be successful in recovery.

Today, I have 11 years clean and my life is more fulfilled then I ever thought possible.  I share my story of recovery in the hopes that it can help save just one life.  I feel it is so important to let people know that it is possible to stop using and have a wonderful life.  I tell everyone who will listen that I’m in recovery.  I am very proud that something good has come out of my struggles.  Today, I am still the Director of Redeem-Her.  I run the recovery house and 2 thrift stores.  Also, I go to high schools, churches community forums, and events to spread the word of recovery.  My clean date is May 8th 2003, and every day I am so grateful that I was such a mess because I have truly turned it into a message of hope.