“It got really bad, really fast,” Cheyenne says of her addiction.
What began as drinking “more than usual” to cope with the death of a loved one and an abusive relationship had quickly escalated, leaving her feeling out of control.
“I started using hard drugs,” she shares, “and everything went downhill from there. I almost died from an overdose, and I tried to take my life almost constantly. I was in a very dark place.”
Through sheer will, Cheyenne stopped using for a while. She gave birth to a beautiful daughter, but addiction drew her back in.
“I started drinking again when my daughter was 18 months old,” she says, “and that led me back to drug use. My ability to care for her deteriorated, and the authorities became involved. It was clear I needed help.”
At Renascent, Cheyenne learned the science behind addiction. “I got to learn about myself, codependency, and how the addict’s mind works,” she shares.
“While there I saw the true reality of addiction, which really is misunderstood. Many people think it’s a choice, but addiction is actually a mental health issue. A lot of times it doesn’t feel like a choice at all – the person doesn’t want to use, but the substance is what their brain gravitates towards.”
In treatment, she also made lifelong friends.
“The women I met in the house are amazing,” she says, “all of them. The counsellors are in recovery themselves, so they really do relate. And I’ve built strong friendships with other women I met through Renascent as well.”
These days, Cheyenne has her sights firmly set on the future. Ten months into recovery, everything she does is focussed on giving her daughter the best possible life. She’s left an unhealthy relationship and is looking for housing that better supports her new lifestyle.
“I’ve returned to school and have almost finished my diploma,” she says. “I’m working full time and rebuilding my credit score. I have the trust of my family back, and my relationships with them have never been stronger.”
In the future, Cheyenne hopes to pursue social work as a means of giving back.
“That’s something I’ve wanted since I was in active addiction,” she says. “I’ve had a lot of good experiences with social workers, and I have a ton of empathy. So many people struggling with addiction end up dead, incarcerated or institutionalized; sadly, I’ve already lost two people I met while in treatment.
I wish people knew how much they were valued,” she reflects. “If you’re listening: keep going. You are worth so much more than you think you are.”