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Sandra: The first time I touched alcohol I was 12, I went out for New Year's Eve for the first time. I drank champagne and oh my God, it just gave me that freedom of not being afraid. Being able to communicate with people without thinking that I'm not good enough or I'm not pretty enough.
I tried my first weed joint when I was around 20 something and I found my real love. I could talk to guys, I could dance or do anything really. I thought without it I wouldn’t be able to do anything. Shortly after that, I was introduced to heroin and at first, I was just snorting and having fun smoking it. When the money ran out, I starting using needles. I would lie to my parents, I lied to my grandparents. I would make up stories, they would believe me and give me money. I would swear that I would pay them back but I never did.
I remember that I had an old needle that I was just looking at it one day. It wasn’t broken but the metal part was exposed but I didn't care. I should have cared, I ended up getting an infection in my right arm so bad, it's miracle that I still have my arm. The infection got worse and worse and I wouldn’t go to the hospital. I live in a small town where everybody knows everything. If I would go to the hospital my parents would find out what was happening. I waited until the pain was so bad I had to see a private doctor. The doctor said If I had waited 1 or 2 more days, they would have to cut my arm off.
I was 3 years sober when out of nowhere, I called my dealer and I asked if I could come by. I wanted to shoot heroin again and my dealer said “It's really dangerous, you haven’t use heroin for 3 years”. I replied, “I know what I'm doing, I just want to do it one last time and be done with it”. Sure enough, I overdosed and I saw that I had a problem. I couldn’t understand the fact that no matter what I put in my body, I was putting myself at risk.
I was using and drinking for 25 years and I didn't know myself anymore. I didn't know how to feel. In reality, I knew I BSed my way through life and I bought that BS.
Interviewer: So let's talk about today, what is your life like today?
Sandra: Nothing like it was before, people trust now. For 37 years I couldn't go a day without getting my fix, it's just amazing that today I don't need to use.
Interviewer: To all of your friends, family and the community that ended up extended themselves to you, if they were sitting in this room right now what you would like to say to these people?
Sandra: The only thing I can say is thank you, you saved my life
* This story was submitted voluntarily to share hope and inspire others. This story is of their own experience and does not represent the point of view of Freedom From Addiction. Freedom From Addiction believes recovery is a personal journey and peoples experiences vary.
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