Katie, an alumna of Stepping Stone Center for Recovery, recently celebrated a year of sobriety and graced us with an interview. Her story is moving to say the least. If you are prone to goosebumps, or as you may have heard in the rooms, “God-bumps,” prepare yourself. Her transformation is real and is a clear demonstration of willingness — it will warm your heart and give you the chills (the good kind)!
What do you remember about the days before Stepping Stone?
Before I came to Stepping Stone, I was homeless, smoking crack, and shooting heroin – living in my car. I was selling my body and anything I could to get that next fix. I felt hopeless and wanted to die. I knew that I could not go on living as I was but did not know if I could stay sober due to all my past relapses. I did not care what happened to me. My family was ready to bury me and they accepted that I might die. I felt so alone.
What do you remember about your first week at Stepping Stone?
I have been to Stepping Stone twice. I was so desperate the second time I was there. The first time I was there, I did not have good aftercare set up and was doomed to fail. The second time I did not know what I was going to do when I left, but I just knew that something had to change and I surrendered fully. Stepping Stone helped me with that. They helped address my mental health issues that contributed to my using. I am so grateful for Stepping Stone and the staff there. Especially Glen, Karen, Dan, Apple, and Jules.
How did you feel about leaving treatment?
I was scared to leave treatment because I did not know if I could live a sober life. I knew I wanted to be a part of my son’s life and was determined to do anything to make that happen. It is frustrating some days still being mentally ill and being an addict. Some days it is exhausting but I put one foot in front of the other.
What was life like after treatment?
The second time I left Stepping Stone I moved back in with my family. I hit meetings constantly, I got a sponsor, and we worked the steps. I stayed busy by getting a job and enrolling back in school. I had some clean time before and it was a matter of applying what I knew worked for me. I figured if I put half the effort I used to get high into my recovery then life could get better – and it did. So much better. Some days I am amazed and so grateful and some days are rough but no matter what I know, I cannot use any more. If I do use I am most likely not going to make it back, and that scares me.
What kinds of progress are you seeing in your life?
I am 13 months sober now and work in the medical field while attaining my Master’s Degree in mental health counseling. I still live with my family in South Florida. I stay in the middle of AA and NA and do service work. My outlook on life has changed. I am getting closer to becoming a part of my son’s life. It is an uphill battle but I am so grateful all recovery has given me. I own a car that I completely paid off. I work very hard. I am more patient with others and have amazing relationships today. I like to hang out with people in recovery and do things like go out to eat or go to a movie. If I miss a meeting I feel it, and I realize not only do I need meetings – but they make me happy. Stepping Stone and AA/NA gave me a life I never thought I would have and for that, I am forever grateful.