by Andrea Donaldson

7 years ago I made the most agonizing 2.5 hour drive I’ve ever made.

I was so sick and all I could think about was getting high. I remember thinking there is no way I’m going to make it without using. My thoughts raced the entire time, I kept driving though.

For 20 years I fought this battle of active addiction.
 Along with many others I honestly thought this would be how it would end for me, active addiction.

7 years ago I had a well thought out plan and it was I’m either going to get clean or I’m going to die. July 30th 2015 was going to be either my recovery date or my day of death.

I was sick. I was sick and tired of being sick and tired. I was sick of overdosing. I was sick of the abuse. I was sick of running from the law. I was sick of hurting people including myself. I was just sick of the lifestyle, sick of the pain.

One more drug deal or assault, I would have gone to prison - not jail like I had time and time again before. One more overdose I would have lost my life.

I told myself when I woke up if I didn’t get into my vehicle and drive away for good I was going to put enough chemicals into my body to end it all.

I withdrew in a motel room and it was the worst (worth it though) but I was determined to get clean. My emotions ran rampant, I cried, I screamed, I threw tantrums but I knew deep down there had to be a light at the end of this road so I continued to fight for my life with every ounce of strength I had.

I was so sore. My arms were so bruised with track marks and broken veins. I was no more then 100 pounds, my clothes were literally falling off of me. I shook for what felt like months (it was just days) with hot and cold sweats. On top of the withdrawals I also had to learn to talk again. My 3 overdoses within 3 weeks and all the drugs and alcohol I put into my body over those 20 years caused me to forget how to communicate verbally. My brain was a mess.

After about a week I had to return to where I had originally left to pack things up for the last time and move. That was hard because as soon as I walked into the house you could just smell that trap house smell (if you know you know). It triggered the cravings I was so desperately trying to escape from. First thing I did was I started to clean up all the needles and drug paraphernalia and of course the addict in me was also looking for any “lost” drugs in the house, thankfully there were none.

When I looked around with a clear mind and eyes all I could do is cry. What the hell did I do?!

I figured out I couldn’t stay clean in Ontario, the drugs were too easy to find. No matter where I went I knew somebody or where to get them. So I packed up the things I had and sold the things I couldn’t bring and decided to move to PEI. I miss Ontario but if I ever move back I know what I’ve worked so hard for will diminish over time, and quickly.

7 years later I’m sitting here blessed to wake up each morning not dope sick and instead waking up to the smiles of my beautiful children. I have a roof over my head and my rent is paid. I have food in my cupboards and fridge/freezer and I don’t need to steal it. I’m not lending my vehicle out to drug dealers to feed my own addiction. My life is not the same today as it was 7 years ago.

Over the years I’ve lost so many friends and family members to this disease. The reason I share my story with all of you and risk putting myself out there is because if I can find recovery so can you. You need to want it, you need to be sick of the lifestyle, you need to want better, and most importantly you need to know you DESERVE better.

Addiction is a lifetime disease, there is no cure. But once you find recovery you get to finally make the choice to say NO to the drugs and alcohol.

If you have made it this far and you or somebody you know are struggling with addiction please reach out. I’m here. Reaching out for a better life doesn’t make you weak. it makes you STRONG!

Thank you to everyone who has showed me nothing but love and support over the years before and during my journey in recovery. Each and everyone of you mean so much to me and I wish I could put into words what an impact all of you have made on my heart and my life.

Don’t give up 5 minutes before the miracle happens.




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