Michaela, Sterling, CO

“There are many pathways to recovery.”

I started to party in my early 20s. It wasn’t long before I was using cocaine every day. I tried to escape the party lifestyle by moving away. Unfortunately, I had a boyfriend who introduced me to meth. It didn’t take long for me to lose everything, including jobs, housing, and, eventually, custody of my son. I experienced homelessness and incarceration, eventually spending 30 days in jail. 

A judge mandated my release as long as I went to live with my parents. My parents didn’t understand a lot about addiction. But, they were supportive and willing to learn. This support was critical despite a few returns to use. My mom even wrote letters to the judge begging them to send me to treatment. The judge actually ended up ordering me to go back home and live with my parents. From there, I found a peer coach who gave me the strength to believe in myself. Once I saw what life could be like, I never found any desire to use substances again. 

Today, I have nearly four years in recovery, which has given me the ability to help others as a peer recovery coach and gain full custody of my son again. I’m getting married, and I have rediscovered parts of myself again that I had lost in active addiction. I get to be alive, I get to be free. I try to share my experiences and hope by advocating for those who cannot advocate for themselves. The best advice I can give to those struggling with addiction is to love yourself and not let shame keep you from the help you deserve. If you’re struggling, there are people who care. Don’t struggle alone.