Our 24th spotlight in the FACES OF HOPE: WE DO RECOVER series will focus on Loretta Smith’s story, Forgiven and Free
I had tried alcohol when I was younger but was able to walk away from it without a problem or so I thought at the time but in 2001 several life changing events happened at the same time. I had went through a divorce, my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer my brother was killed by a person who he had thought of as a friend. I got hurt on the job and introduced to prescription pain medication. I was a nurse and had led a productive life before these events but I started trying to medicate the pain in my heart and quickly became addicted.
My mother died in 2004 and by then I needed help but felt so hopeless. I was angry, hurt and felt misunderstood addition took me farther than I wanted to go and kept me longer than I intended to stay. I started getting in trouble with the law and eventually was court ordered to treatment. Treatment was the best thing that ever happened to me. In September 2013 I came out of Karen’s Place and started a new life that I am so thankful for. I am now a peer support specialist with the same company that helped me. Forgiveness was the key.
Describe your aha moment?
When a counselor told me that unforgiveness is like you are drinking the poison and expecting the other person to die. When I forgave myself and others it was like a very big load was removed from my shoulders. I had been packing that load since 2001. It had been so heavy.
Describe the feelings and emotions while in active addiction?
Hopeless, dead on the inside and spiritually bankrupt
What is the driving force that keeps you going when times get tough?
My relationship with God. Knowing that God loves me and has a plan for my life allows me to continue on this path. I now set the tone for the day by spending time in worship in the morning and thanking God for the triumphs and the troubles when I lay down at night.
What advice do you have for the addict that is still struggling?
It is never too late to start a new life. No matter how hopeless it looks it can be done. God is in the miracle business. I see new lives being built everyday.
What obstacles or roadblocks have you encountered along your recovery journey?
This year I have really been working on repairing my life and making amends. My struggle has been learning how to keep the peace in my heart and mind while learning how to do hard things without procrastinating.
What is something you want people who have never struggled with addiction to know?
I would like to say that nobody wakes up and wants to become an addict so please don’t condemn them.try to help them. I would also like to challenge them to get to know someone in recovery because I think they might be pleasantly surprised.
What advice do you have for family members of person in active addiction?
To love them unconditionally and to never give up hope. To keep reaching out to them trying to get them to realize that you want to help them. Educate yourself on the difference between love and enabling.
Nothing in life happens by accident and the struggles you go through show you your strengths. Start today and make a new life it is not always easy but it is always worth it.
If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, please call Addiction Recovery Care at 606.638.0938 or visit them on the web at www.arccenters.com.
There is hope. There is help.