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[ Personal Narratives ]

Trust Your Journey

My name is Elyssa and I am a grateful recovering addict. I have been clean for one year and one month. It has not been an easy journey thus far, I didn’t just find a drug rehab near me. I definitely have been tested a lot this past year. I have experienced more loss than one could even fathom, but I am still here I am still clean. I still have bad days, I still think backwards, but I am not living backwards. 

I hit rock bottom on May 13th 2015. I was homeless with two kids who obviously deserved better. I had to really humble myself and just surrender to this demon that had left me spiritually broken and completely defeated for 9 years. It took a lot of back and forth thinking, before after 5 days, I finally got the courage to go and get some help. I took my kids to their father and it was probably the hardest thing I have EVER had to do. Saying goodbye and seeing their innocent faces teared me up but I knew that I had to go in order for them to ever have a good life. I never stopped being a good mother. I never stopped caring for or loving them, but I had a serious problem.

I found myself at the Bridgeton crisis center telling them every story that I could just so that they would help me. They based my admittance on my story and I was in there. My dad was with me and never left my side until I was admitted into crisis. I hated it. They gave me medicine to help with my withdraw and my anxiety. I was afraid and angry that I had let things go this far. I was requested to see the doctor and he had mentioned that there was a drug rehab near me in Wilmington Delaware called The Salvation Army and that the program was 6-9 months. I immediately began to freak out saying that it was to long and that wasn’t the program for me. He asked me to at least sleep on the idea, so unwillingly I did. I was left with no options and time was of the essence. I woke up the next day and told the doctor that I would go. It was not rocket science I had a serious problem. The next day May 17th 2015 I signed

My discharge paper work and they had a driver pick me up to take me to Delaware. I had nothing but the clothes on my back. Broken beaten and defeated I walked into the doors of the army. There were 9 girls who welcomed me with open arms and accepted me into their family right away. The girls were DEFINETLY outnumbered by the guys by like 70. In order for us to stay at this facility we had to up everyday and go work in the warehouse. The girls sorted through clothing donations and than the donations in decent condition were distributed to Salvation army thrift stores in the Delaware, Philadelphia, and the New Jersey areas. We also had to be on time and taking classes was mandatory. If I could sum up the eperience it was like college. We stayed in dormitory style rooms and had a room mate. I was room 231 my entire stay. The Sallys main purpose was to take these spiritually broken homeless strung out people and teach them how to live a normal life again. By the grace of God, I was at the right place at the right time. 

The girls were preparing for a weekend trip to Lancaster for a religious retreat. It was called Black Rock and this is where I had my spiritual awakening. There was a song that came on that really touched me in a way I have NEVER felt before. I cried so hard on our majors shoulder as she prayed with me I surrendered and fully gave my will and my life to God. I met a lot of amazing people in Delaware. They were mere friends that I now call family. I got past the fear of being away and started really doing some work. I began to feel better as the days turned into weeks and than months. I was so proud of all of my accomplishments. I was no longer dead inside. I was free. I began forgiving those who I thought I would hate for the rest of my life. I was alive. For the first time in my life I was actually making progress, all thanks to the drug rehab near me, The Salvation Army. 

By august I felt stronger than I had ever been in my entire life. I had receieved a phone call that my great grand mom passed away. She was 98 years old. At this time I had 3 months clean 60 days drug and alcohol free…..Still not in the clear. I made a fearless decision to stay at the center and continue to work on me and my recovery. This was huge for me because they said I could go to the services but I felt my grand mom would have wanted me to stay. I broke out paper and a pen and began writing. I wrote I spoke I reached out and I was not afraid. I wasn’t afraid to speak my mind and get things out even if it resulted in tears streaming down my face. This was all new to me. I actually had to feel things rather than escape harsh reality. I learned to love myself and live again.

 My family was extremely supportive the whole entire time. I made amends with my sister who I punched in the face before I went into rehab. I received letters and kind words and pictures of my kids every week. I was not looking for anyone when I came to rehab but I started talking to someone, his name was Joel and he worked in security. Talking and fraternizing with the guys was a huge no no. And now I understand why…. Two sick people do not make a well person but I felt I knew him my whole life and we became friends. We started talking on facebook, that turned into notes and meeting outside the center. He became a different motivation for me. It was crazy like we shared the same brain sometimes. I loved him very very much but his demons got the best of him, and I could only save myself. Things began to change with him and he slipped

away too soon. I completed my program in November and was ready to start my new life and this drug rehab near me became a part of me. Some things did not go as planned and I wound up back in NJ but I honestly put all of my faith in God. He didn’t bring me all oHe was a huge part of my recovery and now he is gone. He died on March 8th 2016 from a seizure. I don’t think that I will ever stop grieving but what I can do is keep his memory alive. He opened up a series of doors for me and I belive our meet was not by coincidence. The feelings that I had felt when I received that phone call are still fresh in my memory. I did not want to believe it, but it was again I had to experience loss, and grief. It was hard dealing with that, it still is but I’m still here and still clean. Life happens. There is no way to pause it rewind or fast forward, that is why it is so important to live right and be a good person in general. Life is to short to carry baggage around and blame everyone else for our circumstances. I lost my 24 yr old cousin on June 12th to this disease. We lost his father, I have lost to many friends its time to make a difference in this world that’s filled with so much hate and destruction. Burying my cousin who I just talked to a couple weeks ago was by far the hardest day of my life. I am aware now. The end result of this disease is death. Nobody wins in these situtions. We hurt our family and I honestly believe that a part of us dies with them. Nothing but tragedy. He was so full of life. He didn’t even get to see how far I have come on my journey. I hope that he can see how proud of him that we were now. He was clean for 5 months working doing good and living in Florida but he had reservations. Relapse is part of recovery.

recovery does not take a vacation or pause. It is a 24/7 full time job. The moment I stop working on myself will not be a good day. I know that I have to just keep trucking. Keep moving forward and get stronger and do more.

I am hopeful today. I am grateful for how far I have come this past year. I am dependable, I am employable and I am humble. I have a sponsor I go to meetings and I am getting more involved with my program. I want to spread awareness of this terrible continuing disease. It is never ending. People are dying everyday…And although I am aware that I can not save the world I hope that I can touch atleast one person with my story. You ask how I did it? Surendering, my old life for a new one. I have become so fond of this new life. I am coming up with a plan. I am setting goals and accomplishing them. I have a job I have my sanity back. As of yesterday I am warrant free. I am handling things I haven’t taken care of since September 2014. I am no where I need to be and still have a long way to go but I am living proof it can be done. NEVER LOSE FAITH. Try and remain positive and look for the good out of every situation. I hope that this has helped someone.

Thanks for letting me share.