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Voices in Recovery

I started drinking when I was 16 years old. At 18, I had my first child. I started using methamphetamine at 20 years of age and used regularly for 12 years. The only time I was clean was when I was either on probation or pregnant.

In 2002, I got pulled over for a DUI. They searched my car and found a glass pipe and methamphetamine. I tested dirty and had to spend five days in jail. The only time that I was tested was when I would go in to make a payment, so I started mailing my payments.

In June 2003, I started my DUI classes at Sierra Recovery Center. At this time, I was using methamphetamine heavily every day. I got kicked out of class for absences and for nonpayment.



In 2006, our life had become chaotic. My husband sold drugs, and I used them on a regular basis. People came to our house to buy drugs at all hours, and our house was a total wreck. On May 4, 2006, our house was raided. My husband and I went to jail, and our children were taken by Child Protective Services.

I was bailed out of jail after 12 hours. The first thing I did was go to a friend’s house to get high. Our children were in foster care. For three weeks, I was in a complete daze and was using constantly until our May 2006 court date. After court, my husband and I were ordered to report to Sierra Recovery Center for drug testing. We knew we would test dirty but went anyway.



Our CPS worker challenged us to attend 90 12-Step meetings in 90 days. I was miserable and blamed everyone else. We had weekly supervised visits with the kids at the CPS office each week, during which our children spent two anxiety-filled hours competing for our attention.

At the beginning of July, I started attending Intensive Outpatient at Sierra Recovery Center. I was also attending 12-Step meetings on a daily basis. In August, my kids went to Colorado to live with my mom. On that day, I got a sponsor, and my recovery started. I also enrolled at Lake Tahoe Community College and started working on getting a certificate on addiction studies. My husband and I were approved to become clients of Dependency Drug Court and both continued groups at Sierra Recovery Center. For once, I stopped blaming everyone else and started taking responsibility for my actions.

I learned a lot about the disease of addiction from my counselors at Sierra Recovery Center. I learned how to deal with life on life’s terms from the people in the 12-Step fellowship, and I learned how to become accountable through Dependency Drug Court. Once I became willing to change, I was shown compassion and received a great amount of encouragement from my CPS worker, from Olga Hopkins and the entire DDC team, from the staff at Sierra Recovery Center, from everyone in the court, CASA office and from my family and friends in the 12-Step programs.

My kids have all returned home, and our case is closed. Through this experience, the most important thing I’ve learned is that it is OK to have a problem, whatever that may be, as long as I am living in the solution. My life today keeps me very busy, but I know that my recovery has to come first. I still attend meetings on a regular basis, and I work with my sponsors. I also know that if I am not living and working the program of 12-Step Recovery, I don’t have recovery, and without recovery, I will lose everything again.

Everything that I have struggled to get through has given me rewards that are indescribable. Every challenge has opened many doors of opportunity, and today I am an active participant in my own life. My time is so important to me, because I wasted so much of it before. I know that I am not perfect, and that is OK. Today, I know that nobody is any better or any worse than anyone else; they are just at different points in the path on this journey of life.

— “D” is a client at Sierra Recovery Center.


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