RECOVER FOR LIFE
The disease of addiction has hit Franklin County hard and we are dying to recover. We know that recovery won’t happen overnight. It isn’t a one-time thing we get over and move on from, it’s a constant on-going battle. That’s why we’re in this for the long haul, helping our residents recover to save their lives and stay in recovery for life. Together, we are recovering from opioid addiction as well as recovering from the stigma that surrounds this disease.
COMMUNITY IN RECOVERY
Recovery takes a community and Franklin County is here every step of the way. The healing process starts by understanding addiction as a disease. We provide those struggling with addiction and stigma with helpful resources, non-judgmental treatment, and ongoing support. We’ve also created a community mural where residents can share messages of encouragement and promises to help us heal. Together, we’re making recovery possible.
THIS IS RECOVERY
The road to recovery looks different for everyone. Overcoming addiction is a very real struggle with ups and downs. But recovery is possible. Read about real people’s experiences with recovery.
I started to use almost exclusively by myself. And I think for all of us who suffer from addiction, we’re not just hiding it from you, we’re hiding it from ourselves. That’s part of the subconscious recognition that we have a problem.
Later, in college I had a psychology professor who taught a lot of courses on addiction, and I thought, “Well, I'll go talk to him.” The first time I went, I lost my nerve. Then a couple days later, I went again and chickened out. I went a third time and blurted it out, “I can't stop using, I need help.”
I was feeling great shame that I couldn't stop and he was a very compassionate guy who was also in recovery. He put some things in motion for me, and got me into a treatment center. He kept tabs on me, so then I had this person I felt like I was accountable to who helped me stop making the same moves.
In some ways, when you first come into recovery, you are a beginner all over again, learning to manage your emotions in a mature way. While I was in treatment, there were some very dark moments. I felt like my past life was over and I didn't know what the next one was. You start reflecting on the guilt and shame, and on what's actually true about yourself. I started getting involved in self-help meetings, and there I found a community.
We’re kind of like Titanic survivors. We're all really different, but we all got off the same sinking boat. There is this community around that, and that's what sustained me all these years, My life is full of people who were all on the Titanic with me. We can talk to each other about struggles. Part of being in recovery is breaking out of the orbit around yourself and connect with other people.
I had a severe codependency before I ever started to drink. Drinking was a part of home and general living. I was first handed a beer when I was 10, and through the years I just kept pursuing alcohol. It didn't ever occur to me that I was an alcoholic until later.
It was during an intervention for someone else, that I reached a turning point and found myself getting into treatment. The physical withdrawals for me at age 23 were nothing compared to the mental and emotional challenges. I had no self esteem. I was so ashamed and had all this trauma from my childhood that was suddenly rearing its ugly head.
When I first got into recovery, part of my fear was that I didn't know who I was. I hadn't developed an identity, a value system or my own sense of worth. So there was a lot of catching up to do. In the 12-step program, I felt like I had been given a new life, a new chance. But I am so grateful because the pain was worth it.
My friends in recovery and the support of my sisters and my mom are what got me through. And now I've got 12 step, I've got colleagues, I've got my husband, I've got my family. If I wanted to relapse, I certainly could, but there would be no reason for me to need to do that, I've got so much support around me.
We really have so much left to learn about addiction. It's important that people know it’s not a simple disease, but the solutions can be fairly simple.
I didn't realize I had a problem with opioids until I experienced my first withdrawal. Even though I knew I was doing it every day, I was ignorant. But in that moment, I realized, “You're in the clutches now, what are you gonna do?”
For seven years it was one month, two months, three months, four months of sobriety and being clean, but then it would start all over again. I told my parents, and they were supportive and wanted to help me through it. In my head, I didn’t think I needed treatment, I thought I could do it on my own. I probably quit cold-turkey 12 or 13 times. Finally I waved the white flag, and said I need some extra help.
I went to a 13 month program at The Refuge. There was a huge support system and I lowered my guard. Instead of analysis addiction, we focused on broken relationships and how to mend them. Your broken relationship with yourself, your broken relationship with your family, your broken relationship with God. They help you find self-love and teach you how to have healthy relationships. You have people coming out of prison after 10 years, you have guys in there that made a lot of money, you have people that have been completely homeless for 10 years. You've got all the types of people and everybody's getting along. We’re a community that leans on each other.
It’s important to be able to work through your trauma. It was a turning point for me when I started to like who I saw in the mirror. I was proud of myself again. Addiction destroys your humanity and your dignity. If you like who you are, you won’t want to use anymore.
So, never give up on your loved ones who are struggling. If they call you and say, ‘I need some help’, help them. If that means you get them into treatment for the 13th time, do it, because you just never know which one's gonna stick. That's the act of love that somebody needs.
I started drinking and using about the age of 13. I knew something was wrong, but I just kept doing it. I felt ashamed, guilty, not worthy, and like a failure. All these really uncomfortable feelings. I’d feel awful physically and emotionally, but by the end of the day would come home with a six pack and I’d start feeling better.
I tried to find treatment. I went to an outpatient mental health clinic because I didn’t know where else to go. I had a good counselor that said I needed to look at my use and make some changes.
I went to rehab and didn’t think I needed to do anything when I got out. So I relapsed within two weeks and ended up back there. Relapsing is a part of the disease. It's not unusual. It's very uncomfortable but it’s a part of the process, and the hope is always that people come back and try again.
Being in active addiction versus recovery is like night and day. I just felt full of hope and gratitude. I was getting my life back. I was around so many caring people. I think part of my issue, and maybe this is what a lot of folks experience, is when we’re using you feel unlovable, but when you get into recovery, people love you. People love you not in spite of what you do, but because of what you do. You’re accepted walking in the room. It’s a sweet feeling.
I developed a support system early on, where I went to a meeting every day. Now, we know that not everybody wants to go to a meeting every day and that’s fine. But develop supportive, loving relationships, and that's what will keep you going. My recovery is very important to me, like I won't do anything to jeopardize it. Going from a homeless person on unemployment, welfare, and foodstamps, to graduating with honors from Columbia really highlights the possibilities of recovery. It's unbelievable what can happen.
Everyday tasks can
help you recover every day.
I PROMISE TO TAKE THE LONG WAY HOME.
Click below to make a daily promise to yourself. It’s the little things that make a big difference in recovery.
RESOURCES FOR TREATMENT
Talking about and understanding opioid addiction is the first step.
Franklin County has the resources to help you start your recovery journey.
PREVENT AN OPIOID OVERDOSE
At least one Franklin County resident dies from an opioid overdose every day.
We can help end the epidemic and the stigma by getting NARCAN®, the opioid overdose reversal drug.
This website was funded by a grant from the Centers for Disease Control Division of Overdose Prevention (DOP) National Center for Injury Prevention and Control (NCIPC).