Addicted to Better: A Story of Resilience and Redemption

Barbara, 62, from Detroit, Michigan has experienced many ups and downs in her life, and she’ll be the first to tell you that her response to those challenges was toxic. Like many people across the country even the globe, Barbara turned to drugs as a coping mechanism and fell into the hopeless cycle of addiction that so many do. “It is a hopeless feeling, and when you’re in the thick of it you feel like there is no way out, ” Barbara stated, recounting her past addiction. “It’s a scratch you can never fully itch.”

A common misconception is that those suffering from substance abuse do not want to get better. Many of them do, but don’t know how to go about making such a daunting task possible. That, coupled with the issues of life, can make recovery a fantasy in the eyes of many users, but one thing about Barbara is that she always knew she was not her addiction. The former Class B softball star wasn’t happy with the depths that circumstances had taken her, and she wanted help. She would frequently seek treatment, which sometimes was difficult to find, but eventually she found help and was able to become clean for a few years. “People who are recovering have to be around positive influences as much as possible, and to the best of your ability, you have to eliminate everyone from your life that represents your old lifestyle.”

After receiving treatment Barbara was able to eliminate her addiction and remain clean for a few years. But then, a friend asked if she knew where to find illegal substances. Feeling as though she was strong enough to handle being around drugs, she took her friend to a place where she could get heroin and before the week’s end Barbara was using again.

While battling an old addiction, Barbara became introduced to opioids, stemming from a devastating car accident that left her with a broken neck, multiple leg injuries and back problems. At this point life had left Barbara, “tired and depleted”, two words that represented a current state of disposition but two words that also ignited her road to recovery.

After her doctor found drugs in her system during an appointment for her injuries, Barbara was told she could no longer receive care from that doctor’s office and was removed as a patient. From there she heard about Hamilton Community Health Network, a place she had no clue would change her life for the better.

Hamilton Community Health Network’s Root Street location is housed at Catholic Charities/Center for Hope is not only a Primary Care facility, but it specializes in substance use disorder. Usually, a place so difficult to find in Barbara’s experience, she had now stumbled upon. Instantly, Hamilton took her in and began to work with her on her physical body and her spiritual and mental health as well.

“Hamilton loved me for who I was, they kept me accountable and made the process of starting over in my recovery a lot easier.” Barbara stated.

Barbara explained that Dr. Timothy Tellez, her primary care doctor was genuinely concerned for her health well-being and that Randall Joyce, her recovery coach, was very direct and honest with her about where she was and what she needed to do to get better. She stated, “Hamilton-Flint is the best thing that could have happened to me, if you want to be better and really want to recover, Hamilton is going to make it happen for you.”

The staff at Hamilton Community Health Network, through group sessions and recovery meetings helped Barbara believe, they inspired her, motivated her and showed her that she is still in control of her destiny. Now 3 years clean from substance, Barbara has begun to dream again, wanting to become a recovery coach herself to help those who have had struggles like hers.

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