Women in recovery from drug and alcohol addiction face unique challenges in their journey to sobriety. At Get Treatment, we want to highlight some of their stories of success in hopes that we can better understand their struggle, as well as what motivates them to stay clean and help others who are battling addiction.
In addition to feeling better, she admitted that she did drugs because they helped her fit in with other kids. After two years of running away from home, Marijon, still 12, was turned over to the state by her father. The next several years, she says, were spent in and out of juvenile detention, and the times she was out, she spend running on the streets, chasing the next high.
While Marijon’s addiction started with smoking marijuana, it soon progressed to harder drugs, like heroin. While she did heroin to feel good at first, soon, she had to take the drug simply to get up in the morning. That was challenging, but soon, Marijon would face an even bigger challenge – motherhood. She would eventually have three daughters, and while she nearly always kept a roof over their head and food on their plates, she regrets she wasn’t more emotionally available, and says that the family’s constant moving and reliance on food stamps offered little stability for her children.
In 1985, Marijon, then in her early 20s, got clean for the first time. While her sobriety lasted 3 years, it wasn’t permanent, something she chalks up to failing to change her thoughts and behaviors and “not doing the work on myself” in order to fully change her life. In 1988, Marijon started using crack, and this time, she wouldn’t get clean again for 7 years.
In 1996, she began attending Narcotics Anonymous meetings regularly and got a sponsor. While she had changed for the better, a breakup with a long-term boyfriend caused her to turn back to crack one again.
Finally, on September 10th, 1998, Marijon took the steps that led to her to lasting recovery. She says she wasn’t willing to do the same things, instead, she wanted to focus on changing her life and being a good mom to her three daughters.
For the last 10 years, Marijon has worked in the recovery industry, helping addicts in recovery in a variety of different positions. Starting as a technician in a substance abuse treatment facility, she eventually became a case manager, helping patients set goals for their recovery. Now, she verifies insurance for individuals who are seeking admission into drug rehab facilities. While she admits that working directly with patients was sometimes more rewarding than her current work, she notes that it was often difficult to separate her own recovery from the progress of the patients she worked with.
Today, Marijon is a proud grandmother. She takes care of her grandchildren, which she admits is a big challenge because her daughter also suffers from addiction. While her daughter is preparing to go to recovery, she doesn’t want her grandchildren to suffer in the same way she believes her own children did.
When asked what men might not understand about women in recovery, she said, “We all have baggage, and we all have damage.. and they need to know that women do recover, and they can do a hell of a job.”
Much like Mary, the woman we featured in last week’s video and blog post, Marijon struggled to be a good mother despite her addiction to heroin. Much like many other addicts, Marijon had to go through treatment multiple times in order to better understand herself and gain the skills and the strength to get sober and stay sober.
In the end, Marijon conquered addiction and found a better life – a life in which she has rewarding relationships with her children and a job that allows her to help others who were once faced the challenges that she did. She did it through hard work, perseverance, and the understanding that doing what’s easy isn’t always the same as doing what’s right. Choosing sobriety can be a tough road at first, and many individuals don’t wait long enough to experience the true benefits of sobriety, something, that after multiple attempts, Marijon set out to do.
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Marijon did not get sober her first in drug rehab. Instead, it took her three attempts, but when she eventually succeeded, she didn’t do so by herself. Marijon worked closely with counselors, therapists, and fellow patients to develop a better understanding of herself and to develop healthier coping skills to deal with stress, anxiety, and other mental health conditions.
Marijon’s journey from addiction to sobriety can tell us a lot about what a treatment program needs to do in order effectively help patients change their attitudes and addictive behaviors. To be effective, a comprehensive and integrated treatment plan is needed that addresses a patient’s personal issues, and helps improve their physical, mental, and emotional health.
At Get Treatment, it’s our mission to help connect patients suffering from addiction with treatment programs that can help them live a better life. That means only working with high-quality, professionally accredited addiction treatment centers that teach patients a variety of healthy coping skill so they can thrive in their sobriety. If you or someone you love is suffering from the disease of addiction, there is always hope for recovery. Help is only one phone call away.