My name is Kari and I am a person in long term recovery from addiction. What that means to me is that I have not felt a need to use mood altering substances since May 3, 1998.
I took my first drink of alcohol at age 7 and experimented with THC for the first time when I was 12 years old. I was shy and quiet. I was bullied, teased, and struggled to fit in. I constantly worried about what everyone was thinking about me. Mood altering substances provided confidence that I was lacking. I continued to self medicate uncomfortable feelings throughout my teenage years.In my early twenties I was prescribed prescription opiates for a neck injury. They offered a euphoria that I had never experienced and filled a void that always seemed to be there. I wanted to feel like that forever! It didn’t take very long before I began taking them every day. It was an abusive relationship. It started out fun and exciting but quickly became toxic, overwhelming, and destructive. I had to keep this part of my life secret. Everything began revolving around “my pills.” My only reason for existing was to get more pills. I was terrified of running out and did whatever it took so that didn’t happen. I stopped eating, lost weight, and stopped caring how I looked. I lost all of my friends. I missed multiple days of work. I no longer cared if I died. At one point I remember looking in the mirror and not recognizing the shell of a human being staring back. My mother once described me as “here, but not present.” Then something happened that I never thought could- I was terminated from my job. That was the turning point for me. I ran out of pills and out of the energy to chase more. I realized I was ready to be done. I started outpatient addiction programming and slowly began rebuilding my life. I had to relearn how to feel my feelings and how to live life on life’s terms a day at a time. I also learned how to love and care for myself. I began to believe that I deserved a second chance. Sobriety hasn’t been easy at times but it has been completely worth all of the strength it has taken to get where I am.
I work very hard to sustain my recovery. I enjoy a robust life filled with structure, balance, spirituality, stability, and creativity. Each year of recovery has only gotten better. I love that it is always evolving and is ever changing. I can honestly say that I am the happiest I have ever been in my life! I am a responsible, productive member of my community. I value the connection I have with others who are also in recovery. I am a wife, mother, and grandmother. I am truly blessed with unconditional love and support from family and friends. Recovery has inspired me to make a difference in the lives of others. I have chosen to dedicate my life to making an impact as a peer recovery coach. My life has changed and continues to change in ways I never imagined. I am blessed to feel inner joy and serenity. Today I am filled with gratitude.
Recovery is possible and I am living proof!