I loved cocaine. And I loved alcohol – probably more than anything else in my life. But in the end, after trying to kill myself with them, I realized that I really didn’t want to die for them. I’m so thankful that my family got me to Anuvia. I don’t think I’d be here today if I hadn’t made it there.

Beer became a regular part of my life when I was 16 years old: I’d been raped, and I just didn’t have any idea how to deal with it. Beer provided an easy way to escape and feel better. For years, my substance abuse spiraled from there: alcohol led to pot. That led to acid, and in my mid-20s, a “friend” introduced me to coke.

My life was a merry-go-round of partying. For a long time, I was a functioning drug addict and alcoholic: I had a job that required drug testing, and I picked my drugs by how long they would stay in my system: I never failed a drug test. I could always cut back for the testing. Alcohol was another story. I could never cut back on it for long. I got drunk every weekend at the very least.

But addiction is a progressive disease, so of course I got worse. I lost my job and got to where I was doing ½ an eight-ball of coke every day – by myself. It was total annihilation. I was estranged from my family and everyone who loved me. My “friends” cared about me only when I had drugs.

When I was getting evicted from my apartment and facing homelessness because every cent of my income was either going up my nose or through my liver, I began to really want help. I had been raised in the church, so that was the first place I tried to fix myself – to try to clean myself up and get my life in order. But I just could not do it. When I realized that there was no way I was going to be able to fix this, I went on 3-day suicide binge – alcohol, coke and crack cocaine. I can’t believe I survived, but I’m so glad I did.

I called my parents and begged them to help me. They couldn’t find an inpatient program that could take me immediately, but my brother knew about Anuvia (actually, it was called the Chemical Dependency Center then), and my family took me there.

When we arrived, I told the staff, “There is no way your little outpatient program can work for me. I need to be locked up. I’m too far gone.” I’m so grateful that I was wrong. It’s such a good program. I love that place. They just really care. My counselor was incredible, and I love her still. The staff was all amazing – I cry just thinking about how good they were to me. Even the receptionist is awesome. She remembers me even to this day. And I developed such a bond with the other women in my group. The classes were co-ed, but the groups were same-sex, which was great. We really wanted each other to succeed.

I learned a lot there – the education and medical knowledge has been so important to understanding my addiction and keeping me clean.