Motivated to Stay Clean

At just 23 years old, she was dying.

Her liver was failing and her body was shutting down. Prescription medications, alcohol and heroin were in control of her destiny. It was all her own doing, but she didn’t want to die.

“I started writing fake prescriptions, and got arrested at 18.“

Shortly after that she started dating a drug dealer. When she first met him, she had a good job, a car, and her own place. But within two years, they both lost everything.

“It got really bad, really fast for both of us. But any time I got in trouble, he rescued me. He was my enabler, and I couldn’t leave him.”

Then she got arrested for a felony and the courts ordered her to be in transitional living. She was able to stay clean for the first time ever, but eventually, she ended up relapsing and going back to her boyfriend.

That was the beginning of Gabby’s three-year journey of trying to get clean, which followed the typical cycle of abuse, detox, sobriety, and relapse. She went through detox six different times and inpatient programs five different times. Ultimately, she ended up in the hospital where they diagnosed her with liver failure and Hepatitis C.

But her diagnoses didn’t change anything. She continued to use, even though she wanted to get clean.

“Using wasn’t fun for me anymore. I was in and out of the hospital, and I was getting sick all the time. They set me up in a methadone clinic, but it didn’t work because I wouldn’t stop using. I tried it several times.”

She even tried to detox on her own by taking an excessive amount of Xanax, but then she had to detox from that. It was then that she was referred to another inpatient program where everything was about to change.

“They told me about the Vivatrol shot, but they weren’t able to give it to me because my liver enzymes were too high. After two weeks of being clean, they tested me again and I was able to get the shot before I left. I knew Vivatrol was my only hope, because it would help me with my cravings.”

Gabby has been taking Vivatrol for 11 months and does not have the urge to use today. Her life looks a lot different because of it.

“This time I decided to take things slowly. I wasn’t looking for relationships or acceptance. Because relationships and resentments are the two biggest reasons people relapse, I stayed clear of all that drama. I was totally focused on myself and my recovery.”

Gabby went through the Jackson County drug court program where she started by doing treatment 4 nights a week and attending meetings every other night for 90 days straight. As a repeat offender, she was required to spend 24 months in the program, but eventually met all of the requirements and graduated with honors in September of 2015.

“If it wasn’t for the drug court program being so strict and dropping in on me every other day, I wouldn’t have ever gone to treatment. I probably wouldn’t be alive. Without Heartland, I wouldn’t be anything like I am today.”

Gabby’s new life is a stark contrast to what it once was. She is free of addiction, with a healthy liver and no signs of Hepatitis C. Her life is full of healthy relationships with her mom, a newfound family at The Healing House, and friends who are truly ‘friends.’ She is no longer considered a felon because of her participation in drug court and is employed with good pay as a result. That’s what she dreamed recovery would be like, but getting there wasn’t easy.

“I had to change EVERYTHING. I had to give up all the bad for good. By getting out of it myself, now I can help others get clean and sober.”

One life positively changing another.
That’s exactly what recovery is like through Heartland.