We Do Recover
Our FACES OF HOPE: WE DO RECOVER series this week will focus on Angela Null’s story, Strength in Numbers.
Addiction is defined as a chronic relapsing brain disease that is characterized by compulsive drug use despite all the negative and harmful consequences. In most definitions explaining addiction what addicts do not see is there is a way out called Recovery.
I lived in addiction disease for seven years of my young adulthood; this disease took away many things I hold close to me today. First, college, I began not to care and didn’t have time to go to class and slowly lost focused because drugs were becoming more a priority on my way of living.
Second was my health, I didn’t care about any consequences to drug use and became careless about my hygiene and appearance. Then, all material things I owned and had value ended up being sold or pawned due to finding the funds for my next high. My family who I hold close to my heart only became hurt and broken and my addiction told me not to care or acknowledge.
Along with many other loses, my disease had such ahold of my brain I thought life was normal and I was living to my fullest: parties all the time, all the friends I could have, in and out of jails, stealing, lying, getting high, and repeating this insanity. It wasn’t until October 2, 2013, I was shown a way out. I was given one last chance at life. My options were laid out in front of me: either continue my use of drugs and keep spiraling toward death or prison sentence for 5 years due to repetitive crimes, or take responsibility and follow rules the court set for me and take the help offered by Mountain Comprehensive Care outpatient treatment.
Help? You mean someone will help me get my life back together and teach me a way to live without the use of drugs? Yes, not just someone but a squad of persons called support groups, peers in recovery, counselors, professional service workers. So I took my last chance at life, attended every meeting possible and educated myself on the disease. I meet some amazing people whom were just like me and shared the same setbacks and told me how they overcame and cope with the battle of addiction today.
I took time and I listened. I heard the stories and applied the skills taught to me. I started earning rewards from the simplest pat on the back for gratitude to regaining trust lost with family. My life began to change quickly for the better by putting down the drugs. Within two years of sobriety, I enrolled back in college and earned a degree in human services while also accomplishing being on the Dean’s List.
I rebuilt relationships lost with loved ones and earned trust and accountability. In now 6 years of recovery, I have accomplished a bachelor’s degree and enrolled in my second year of my Master’s program to become a clinician. I have my own Jeep and place to live. I am able to lead my community in giving back through non-profit organizations and directing a local softball league with over 200 women involved. I was pardoned by the governor in 2019 and completely expunged my entire criminal record. I have been working for Addiction Recovery Care for three years while helping others just like me get through the burdens of addiction and finding a way out. I continue to strive everyday working on my health and fitness. I do things of joy and entertainment like play on local softball teams, supporting causes with 5k runs, giving back what I once thought I had lost, Hope.
Recovery is a possible way of living.
Describe your “aha” moment?
My “aha” moment would be while working a 12 step program I was asked to take a personal and moral inventory of myself. Given I knew I could list all my faults and fears, even my weaknesses, but what to do with such inventory took place as I read my list back. I grew strength in tears in this moment of realization that my higher power, God above, could take hold of all these fears and faults I had faced and help my spirit let them go. I felt relieved and blessed that this burden was now lifted off my shoulders and tears of no longer fear and weak but strong and thankful that I had the strength to continue my road of recovery.
What is the driving force that keeps you going when times get tough?
I always tell that during my recovery I built this machine of sobriety. I use my higher power, meetings, peer support, family, celebrate recovery, 12 steps, and any source of offering recovery to be a part of my machine. I felt that being open to everything, something was bound to work and using all parts of my machine I was unbeatable. With each tough time I struggled I had the support system that was so wide ranged that I couldn’t turn without someone there. Relationship with my higher power and the support around me kept me striving to always be reminded I am not alone and together, we will get through.
What advice do you have for the addict that is still struggling?
There is a way out and help on all corners. Just take that first leap, whether you reach out in prayer, to a friend, or any professional. Find someone! We don’t have to fight a battle alone when so many soldiers stand in line waiting to help you. “Strength in Numbers”
What obstacles or roadblocks have you encountered along your recovery journey?
My biggest roadblock was myself. Having the faith in myself to battle or reach any goal. I was content with giving up in active addiction. I had to completely change negativity and thinking the world was all out to get me, to everything positive. The biggest obstacle I faced was making this adjustment and accepting some things I could not change. Now I wake up each day with a brighter positive focus: no matter what is thrown at me, I am not using today.
What is something you want people who have never struggled with addiction to know?
That persons struggling with addiction are struggling with a disease that takes over the mind and body. One small sentence or prayer may reach an addicts heart, you never know who is listening, so always have an open mind to helping addicts recover.
What advice do you have for family members of person in active addiction?
Tough Love. We love our family members unconditionally but for active persons in addiction the best help is showing tough love without enabling the addict to continue their use. Set healthy boundaries for yourself, because you honestly have no control over a person in addiction. Setting boundaries for yourself brings a measure of control and sanity to a chaotic and insane situation.
Let’s stop overlooking the continuous issues of drug addiction as it affects our communities as a whole. Make a difference and be the help to hope and change.
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. You can also contact Mountain Comprehensive Care “Serenity House” at 606.298.4872
There is hope. There is help.