Dreaming of a Future without Heroin, Hepatitis C and with Hope is another piece by Jennifer, a former heroin addict and activist for recovery. Her life has been transformed right before my eyes. Her achingly honest words are spoken with candor. Her tenacity is an inspiration to never give in to despair. Dream on Jen. You’re doing it!
The changes in my life are seriously beginning to sink in this morning. It’s like a dream + reality colliding. Maybe it’s a moment of clarity shining through between the brain fog and mental illnesses.
A dream is a wish your heart makes. Walt Disney
Like everyone else, my heart was filled with dreams. I am 28 years old, and definitely not who or what I thought I’d be as a child.
Today I own next to nothing. Just 2 years ago, I literally had nothing. I was homeless, addicted, sick, and literally traveling across the country with nothing but the clothes on my back.
I’m now employed part time making minimum wage instead of working back in health care or pursuing my dream of forensics.
I have 4 beautiful children which I do not have custody of. I live with my youngest daughter and her father and we aren’t really even together.
I live with PTSD, Major Depressive Disorder, and Borderline Personality Disorder. It took 28 years to get an accurate diagnosis and actual help for what has been corrupting my entire life.
I am a recovering heroin and cocaine addict after having been basically straight laced almost my ENTIRE life! I’ve tried damn near every drug in the book, all within a single year of active addiction.
I was sober just shy of 2 years and relapsed one time back in April. Now I’m only 6 months sober. I see now that I was self medicating a mind filled with pain.
I contracted Hepatitis C because I shared needles with my ex while going through active addiction. I then completed 28 weeks of triple therapy (chemo) for the Hepatitis C. Now, one year post treatment, I have achieved and maintained SVR. Basically meaning I’m cured of Hepatitis C.
I lost several people I cared a great deal for throughout the previous year, including a relative who was murdered.
You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream. C.S. Lewis
In the past year I have begun to tell my story in many ways:
To educate others about addiction AND Hepatitis C. Everyone is talking about heroin locally, but who’s talking about Hepatitis C? My efforts are focused on trying to be heard (as scary as that is), by local news reporters, non-profits, and rallies. I was given the opportunity to speak at 2 Anti-Heroin Rallies. I was a nervous wreck!
I was recently interviewed, along with several others, by a news reporter for a local newspaper about heroin addiction and recovery.
I am in the process of writing testimonials for 2 friends for their websites. I have had an opportunity to share an article about Hepatitis C transmission on this website through Karen who edits and posts the words pouring from my heart.
I was able to distribute mini posters (thanks to Daryl of hepcawareness.com) about Hepatitis C in a local hospital. My case manager has given me resources and ideas on how to start speaking in schools as well as information on creating my own local support group for Hepatitis C.
“Between the great things we cannot do and the small things we will not do, the danger is that we shall do nothing.” – Adolph Monod
I am not sure why I’m reflecting on all of this. It’s nothing new to anyone…but today it feels so new to me. Like I’m waking up for the first time and realizing…this actually happened! The last 3 years have been such a blur; flying by with endless speed. This IS happening. It’s not a dream.
My future is coming at me. I WILL do something with it. My emotions are literally bouncing all over the place. I can’t grasp just one.
I am saddened that my life has turned out as it has.
I am mad as hell it took 28 years to get the proper diagnosis and help I needed for my mental health.
I am remorseful that I threw away so many great opportunities and hurt so many people.
I am shocked, stunned, and in disbelief that I became an IV drug user and actually contracted Hepatitis C.
I am relieved that going through a form of chemo helped me to be free from Hepatitis C.
I am scared beyond belief that I’m going to fail in my recovery.
I am terrified that I will never know what structure and stability are.
I am hopeful now that I’m getting the professional help I’ve needed and that I’ll learn to get and maintain structure and stability.
I am grateful for the support base and friends I have found throughout my journey.
I am blessed to have been given the opportunity to know God and study His Word.
I am thankful that I am allowed back into my children’s lives.
I am proud of how far I’ve come.
I am amazed by the strength and courage I’ve come to know in myself and in others.
I am motivated to help others suffering at the hands of the same demons that I have endured.
No matter what trials or tribulations are yet to come, I have faith that I will overcome them. No matter how scary or how alone I may feel in doing so. If I can help save just one life…I have fulfilled my purpose.
“If a little dreaming is dangerous, the cure for it is not to dream less but to dream more, to dream all the time.” – Marcel Proust
Dreaming of a Future with Heroin Hepatitis C and Hope left me in tears of joy that Jen is finding her way. Do you have a story or poem to share? You might be just the inspiration that someone needs today. xo Karen:)
Do you have an abandoned dream? What can you do today to start making it come true?
pics lorrainenasser.org, google+ Jason Levy