Jamie’s addiction journey started earlier than most.
Following an injury as a child, doctors put her on opioids at seven years of age. “From then on, I struggled for most of my life,” she says. “I needed the drugs to sleep, to cope with the burning pain. But in the end, they probably hurt me the most.”
While initially the drugs served one purpose, however, as a young teenager Jamie found they had another effect as well. “I started to realize I liked the feeling they gave me,” she recalls. “And from there, I was hooked in a different way. I started using more and more, until the point I could barely function.”
Personal tragedy took her addiction to new levels. “I lost my father about three years ago,” she shares, “and two months later I lost my younger sister as well. From there, everything just got twenty times worse.”
Jamie spent the ensuing years in active addiction, sometimes experiencing drug-induced psychosis. “Honestly, I just went off the handle for a couple of years,” she says. “I would seek help, sober up, and go right back to using.”
Finally, she says, “I’d had enough. The decisions I had made in active use had cost me everything. I’d lost everyone I cared about, everyone I loved. In trying to run away from reality, I’d lost myself. I was so miserable.
It brought me to my knees.”
She arrived at Renascent desperately seeking a new life. “My experience there was phenomenal,” she says. “I can honestly say I wouldn’t be alive without it.” She wants Renascent’s donors to know the impact of their generosity isn’t lost on those who undergo treatment.
“You are absolutely saving lives, no question about it,” she says. “Please continue doing whatever you can to make a difference. Renascent is a place for people who truly want this, who truly want to live. Anything you can do to help is incredible.”
Almost a year into her recovery, Jamie’s focus hasn’t wavered. It’s the longest she’s ever gone without using drugs, and she’s attending meetings, spending time outside and taking the opportunity to contemplate her next steps.
“Every day is a new beginning,” she says, advising those new to treatment to “stick with it.”
“It’s incredibly hard at the beginning. Do all the things: get a sponsor, get a home group. Don’t give up.
You get to choose your life every single day. Decide to live the life you want. You never have to use again.”