Carly overdosed on heroin and found herself in the hospital, wanting to use again. It was in that moment that she realized that something had to change. Now, almost 3 years sober, Carly is taking life day-by-day, and working to help others get sober.
Q: What excites you the most when you get up in the morning?
A: When I wake up in the morning now, I get excited that I have a new day to look forward to. When in active addiction, I never knew if I would see another day. And when I did wake up in the morning, I was never happy. I was always filled with anxiety, thinking about how to get my next high. Today, I wake up with a happy heart and I am filled with gratitude.
Q: What is your motto? And what about this motto appeals to you?
A: My motto is to keep going no matter what. I have had some very difficult times in recovery and have had to constantly tell myself to keep going. Nothing in this world can make me go back to my old life.
Q: What has been the best part of recovery for you? Why?
A: The best part about my recovery has been repairing my relationships with my family and meeting new people who also struggle with the disease of addiction. While in active addiction I caused a lot of harm to my family and put stress on my parents’ marriage. Today, I have amazing relationships with my parents and my sisters. They trust me again.
The people that I have met along the way while on my recovery journey have had such an impact on me. These women have helped me tremendously. While in active addiction, nobody wanted to be my friend. And the “friends” that I had, were not truly my friends. My community up in Maine would do anything for me, and I would do anything for them. It is so important to have a community around you that you trust when trying to get sober.
Q: What would you say is the biggest success – professional or personal – you’ve had since leaving Mountainside?
A: My biggest success in my recovery, and life in general, has been working in the field of addiction. I worked as a case manager for a year at an extended care treatment center for women, and now I am working as a recovery coach for homeless women who want to get sober. It is more rewarding than anything I have ever done in my life. I am also in school getting my BS in Psychology of Addictions.
Q: What has been your biggest hurdle in recovery, and how did you learn to overcome it?
A: My biggest hurdle in recovery has been my finances. I never knew how to properly spend money while in active addiction. I was so used to my parents bailing me out of everything. When I first got sober, I had to learn how to not rely on my parents for money. It was extremely difficult for me, but now I can pay all my bills on time without having to call my parents because I don’t have enough money.
Through writing inventory, praying to be conscious of my money, and learning that I can’t swipe my debit card whenever I want to, I have been able to maintain a budget.
Q: What was the turning point that led you to get help?
A: The turning point that led me to get help was when I overdosed. My parents found me and could not wake me up. I spent 4 days in the ICU due to heroin induced pulmonary edema. I was in a ton of pain. I could barely walk, talk, or eat. I had bruised ribs from the CPR. My first thought was not, “I am so scared. I have to stop using.” It was, “When can I get high again? I am in so much pain”.
That is when I knew something had to change. I was more scared of my thoughts than what had happened. I was scared that I wasn’t scared of dying, and that I wanted to use again. That is what drove me to get well.
Q: If you could, what would you tell your younger self?
A: If I could, I would tell my younger self to love myself. Even before I started using, I had very low self-esteem and didn’t think I was worth it. Today, I love myself. I value myself. I cherish the body that I live in. It took a very long time and a lot of hard work to be able to say that I love myself.
Q: What would you like people who are afraid to receive treatment to know?
A: To anyone who is afraid of treatment, it is ok to be scared. I was very scared, but it is going to be ok. This is the start of the rest of your life. You are so worth it. Dig deep and do the work, it is so rewarding. You will get so much back in return. You will know a new freedom and a new happiness.
Q: What suggestions do you have for the newcomer?
A: To the newcomer: Reach out and ask for help. You are loved. We want you to be here. Pick up the phone. Ask for rides to meetings. Find a sponsor that you can connect to. Find your community.
Q: What is the best advice you have been given?
A: The best advice that I have received has been to take it day by day. I find myself very overwhelmed when I think about the future and what it will look like. When I stay in the day-to-day, I am calm and ready to take on the day.
Q: What is the one item you can’t do without?
A: The one thing I can’t do without is my higher power. I find that when I am self-willed, things start to get pretty chaotic. When I stay God-reliant, my life is calm and everything plays out the way it is supposed to.