Lauren SchreckWe Do Recover

Failure is not in the fall; it’s when you stop getting back up.


My addiction started when I was around 12 years old. I felt so different than my peers. Whether that was true or not, that was my reality. Everyone else seemed so sure of themselves and put together. I couldn’t figure out what was wrong with me. I realized that if I experiment with drugs and alcohol, my classmates and friends would be more focused on the substances than teasing me and picking apart my insecurities.

It started with stealing out of my parent’s liquor cabinet. I hated the taste of alcohol, but I loved the results I got from drinking. That same year, my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer, and I found my true love in her medicine cabinet, opiates. Without even realizing it, escaping through substance abuse became my answer to every problem or unwanted feeling. My parents were officially living with an addict.

My mantra growing up was “I love how it feels not to feel.” If you stood between me and the next fix, I would plow through you.

Active addiction is a hell that I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. In a short amount of time, I went from partying like any other “normal teenager” to needing these substances to function. My friends had boundaries and would stop the party for school or when they got in trouble with their parents. I couldn’t understand why or how they did that. Alcohol and drugs came before everything else for me. All the dreams and goals I had growing up were no longer relevant.

My disease caused incomprehensible pain to my family and friends. I was raised in a beautiful middle-class family. I went to private Catholic school for 13 years. My household growing up was an open-door policy. My parents would do anything for us and give us the shirt off their back in a second. We went from an open-door household to locks on all the bedrooms, and it was horrifying. My father could no longer leave his wallet on the counter after a long day’s work. My mother had to lock up whatever jewelry and family heirlooms that she had left after I had pawned 99% of the rest of them. My sister and brother always came second to my sickness, not because my parents liked me best, but because I was always in a self-inflicted, life or death situation.

My parents were there for me through every treatment center, overdose, arrest, and relapse. I have one vivid picture that sticks out in my mind. Through a small window, I watched my father sobbing on the other side of a steel door. I was locked into a state-run baker act unit and forced to sleep on a rubber pad in the hallway. My poor father couldn’t bear to sit with me through the intake. The thought of his little girl turning into this monster was eventually too much handle.

I am the type of addict that had to be cornered without any options. My “rock bottom” seemed to have basements and trap doors that went on forever.

It wasn’t until my family refused to support me that I had no choice but to take responsibility for the mess that I made. I wasn’t allowed to return to my childhood home, and my parents were done helping financially. I was homeless and broke for the first time in my life. If I was going to make it, I had to do it on my own. I finally got the help I needed at a rehab in FL called Ambrosia. That was truly a godsend. With the physical pain and psychological anguish, I doubt I would have stayed sober on the outside. I got a sponsor and a scholarship to a local halfway house and started my journey.

Through living the steps and spiritual principles, the doors of opportunity began to open all around me. Recovery makes me feel like the empty space in my heart is finally filled.

When I make plans, God laughs. There is no denying that my higher power was looking out for me and had big plans for my life. I have ideas of what I want my future to look like, but I know that it’s not up to me.

I have the motivation and drive that I have never experienced before. For the first time in my life, I believe I have a purpose, and I am so much more than just a hopeless junkie sentenced to a life of misery.

My first job in recovery, I worked at a pizza place for minimum wage for almost two years, and my employer was sad when I put in my two weeks. I walked everywhere for that year in recovery and today I have a car of my very own, and I’m able to make the payments on it monthly. I went back to school and got my Associates Degree. I am now in my third year for my Bachelor’s in Health Care Management.

I can’t explain the gratitude I feel on a daily basis. I am managing the facility that saved my life. If that is not the promises of recovery coming true, I don’t know what is.

Today I have faith and confidence that if I do the right thing, my higher power will provide. I know that if I am capable of arresting my addiction for five and a half years, there are no limits on what I can accomplish!

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