I started using drugs at 9 years old. Today, at 35, I am still struggling with addiction. At 9, I smoked weed and tried cocaine. Most kids my age weren’t trying drugs, but I was curious. I saw family members using drugs and I wanted to see how they would make me feel. I loved it. The drugs took me outside myself, which is what I wanted. I was dealing with things that most 9 year olds couldn’t even imagine. I didn’t want to feel – and the drugs helped me escape. I continued to smoke weed and snort cocaine throughout my pre-teen and into my teenage years. When I was 17, I tried shooting heroin for the first time. The euphoria I felt was like no other and I instantly fell in love with the drug. From that point on, I was a heroin addict. I spent the next 8 years going in and out of detox and rehab. It didn’t matter, no matter how many times I tried to get myself clean, I always went back. My addiction tore my family apart. I didn’t care. I was willing to do anything for my next fix. By 25, I was dealing drugs. I needed to sell in order to make enough money to support my habit. That quickly caught up to me when my house got raided by the police for suspected drug activity. I didn’t know what else to do, so I ran back to rehab. I got out – I relapsed – I went back to rehab and was able to stay sober and maintain my recovery for 7 years. During those seven years I transformed back into myself again. I was able to build my relationships back up with my family and friends. I found employment and was quickly promoted to a management position. I was independent and supportive myself. I was happy and it wasn’t because I was using drugs. It was because I was sober. In 2013, I had to have surgery on my foot. My doctor prescribed me Percocet, a common opioid used to treat pain. That was all it took for me to fall back into my old routine – my addiction. For the last 3 years, I have been trying to get back on track. I have been in and out of detox and rehabs. I’ve been able to stay sober for a few months, but eventually I would lose control and use again. My relationships have suffered and I have lost trust of my friends and family. I’ve done things that I am so ashamed of because I was so caught up in my addiction. The atTAcK addiction transitional house has given me hope. I feel so blessed to be given another chance and opportunity to work on myself, my recovery and my life. Living in a sober environment around other woman who are going through a lot of the same struggles has helped keep me grounded. I am grateful to be sober today and I owe a large part of that to the atTAcK addiction transitional house.