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“She thought she could…so she DID…one minute at a time”

My name is Tricia and I am a grateful recovering addict. I identify myself as a recovering addict because I’m proud of myself, because I truly am grateful and blessed to get another day clean. 

September 28, 2012 I was put into a medical induced coma as my oxygen was so low I could hardly breathe on my own. This overdose was going to be my last mostly because doctors didn’t think I would pull through. I awoke 4days later surrounded by my loved ones with tears of sadness and anger as well as joy that they didn’t have to bury their daughter, sister, mother..just for today. See I have overdosed before but that wasn’t scary enough for me because I felt untouchable and never thought it could/would happen to me. 

I was a mere existenence during my active addiction. I remember it like it was yesterday saying to myself “well I guess I’ll HAVE to be a heroin addict forever because I physically and emotionally can’t live a day without it.” I had no joy in my life except one very important person..my little girl. I always said I was a “funtionable addict” because I was a single mother so had to do motherly adult things. I brought her to daycare..of course usually late because I would have to have my morning fix first..I would play with her when “mommy didn’t have a headache” . I truly didn’t want to live like this, I wanted to be happy again. “Why did God have to do this to me”. Nothing traumatic ever happened to me I had a great life, was given the best of the best and loved beyond words from a huge Italian family.  Why me?! 

I am grateful for my last overdose as it didn’t give me my life back but gave me a chance to build a new life without a substance or drink to make me “feel better/normal”. I’m grateful for that overdose because when I opened my eyes I saw the hurt I have caused those that love me through a clear lens with a clear mind. It gave my family their Tricia back..it gave me- Me back. 

My words had no meaning or value anymore but I said to my family “I’m going to show you change..I want to live”.  DCF was involved and once I woke up they informed me that I would have to have supervised visits with this little innocent 3year old that I was responsible for..my one purpose in life..ripped away from me. I ripped it away though. The blame game was in full force. Instead of doing what I was used to to numb the pain I felt as a failure to my daughter, the one person whom still looked up to me whom I let down time after time by “going away to school” aka rehab. I took action, made many phone calls and went into a sober house where I would live for the next 7months. 

I went to the judge every month with clean urines from my outpatient program and each month he would commend me but said give it more time and continue doing what I’m doing. I would leave crying and furious because I’m doing what is asked and I’m not getting the instant gratification..”my reward” which was custody back. I could have used that anger and did what I was used to doing for all these years, but I didn’t. I didn’t go get high because each time I left there I was clean a little bit longer and liked myself a little bit more from the work I was doing on the problem-ME. 

Fast forward 11months, it was 2weeks before she started kindergarten and I got custody back. Those 11months I am beyond grateful for because it gave me time to focus on nothing else but Tricia. I got really involved in NA throughout my process and it saved my life. I went back to school and in 2014 graduated from Westfield State in Alcohol and Drug counseling. I was certain that I was brought back to life for a reason and with a purpose. I used my struggles as my motivation and turned it into my passion. I’ve worked in a detox for the past 3 years and wouldn’t change it for the world. Helping others in any way I can and educating whomever I can was/is my goal..I want the world to know that we aren’t bad people..we are sick people that suffer from an incurable but arrestable disease. I am currently scheduling visits to high schools to speak to them about the seriousness of addiction, the raw truth..what they need to hear. So the next generation has a chance to not have to live through another epidemic and so they won’t have to go through the pain of burying friends and family lost to addiction.

My husband’s 33 year old sister overdosed and died 3years ago on my anniversary date. She left behind a daughter whom is now 12 and lives with her grandparents (my in-laws). To watch this beautiful girl blossom into a young lady has been bittersweet, feeling so much hurt for her that she has to grow up without a mommy to teach her things, to make dinner for her while foolishly dancing in the kitchen, to have the “girl talk” with, to help her get ready for her first school dance..and so much more. It reminds me what I would have missed if I were gone..all the memories made and the mother/daughter bond…and what she would have missed if I were gone. My mother n law calls crying-Weekly. See the pain doesn’t go away..it’s easy for us to leave but it’s what we leave behind. She was my husband’s only sibling, I can’t imagine what that must feel like..I can’t imagine life without my sibings. I educate my step kids, niece and daughter on addiction-even before the “birds & bees” talk. Some may think thwyre too young..how do we  know what’s too young or not. The more they know and are aware of the better chance they have. If I shelter them from reality then they will rebel. If I don’t educate them they will be curious. 

Today, to the best of my ability, I am a mother, a wife, a mentor, a power of example, an inspiration, a warrior and I’m a grateful recovering addict 2wks shy of 4years clean! I have encountered amazing people througout my journey, different walks of life that suffer from the same disease that I do. So I’m never alone.