Ashlee Petersen | A #WeDoRecover Story
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Ashlee Petersen
We Do Recover

I can’t believe I waited this long to let myself feel this good.

On the outside, I had it made. By 18 years old I was a successful makeup artist in Hollywood, working with famous clients on massive projects within the industry. I even won two Emmy’s for my work. But, behind closed doors, I was addicted to opiates. There was so much stigma in the industry about addiction that I knew if anyone found out I would never work again. I had a dream career, but my life was a nightmare.

It was a dark, hopeless, lonely, and scary place.

I started with pain medications that were prescribed to me, which later escalated into a full-blown addiction. Eventually, I had to stop working. I had hidden my disease from my colleagues for 15 years as my disease progressed. I was unable to travel with my job because I didn’t have drug connections out of town. I went to the worst neighborhoods imaginable to get what I needed. How I survived my active addiction is beyond me. It is truly a miracle that I am here today.

I was a single mother, and my son was scared all the time. My parents didn’t know how bad it was and had no idea how to intervene to help me. They had to learn how to practice detachment. Once I lost everything and my ability to live independently, they were supporting their grown daughter because she ceased to function. I couldn’t be counted on anymore. I had burnt every single bridge I had ever built.

Try to get sober as hard as you tried to stay loaded.

I was living in an apartment I hadn’t paid for in 9 months. I was living in piles of trash and dirty laundry when my family performed an intervention. I was so desperate for help that I didn’t even let them finish the intervention before I said ‘yes.’ I stayed at the drug rehab in California for 18 months and worked on myself from the inside out.ashlee sober 2

It wasn’t always easy, but the results have been unbelievable.

Since then, my life has taken a complete 180. Sobriety has given me too many gifts to count. I have a beautiful family, a college degree, and I get to work in the addiction industry helping people every day who are just like me. Most importantly, I have my life back.

If you are fearful of getting sober because you perceive it to be a painful experience, just give it a shot. My advice is always the same for those who fear detox, withdrawal, feelings, emotions, or life without drugs and alcohol – give it a shot. Work a program of recovery, find connections in recovery communities, and give yourself the do-over. If your life doesn’t get exponentially better – which I promise it will – you can always go back to that old life. But at least try wholeheartedly. If you put as much effort into sobriety as you did into your addiction, life will get better, and you will be happy. I promise.

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