- Mental Health
submitted by: Susanne Johnson
Rachel came to run the Heroes in Recovery race in Leiper’s Fork near Nashville while she was celebrating her milestone of two years of continuous sobriety. When asked about her drug of choice during her active addiction, she considered herself a “non-discriminator”, using anything that was somehow available to alter her mood and ease her pain. She does believe that heroin was about the worst one of the substances she used.
She started using substances at age twelve, while she grew up in Maryland. Her recovery journey brought her to a treatment facility in Las Vegas for 40 days to get the tools she needed to fight her addiction issues. She then traveled to Nashville and entered an eating disorder facility just outside of town for another 45 days, since she struggled with this as well.
Once she was equipped for her ongoing journey and ready to work on her recovery, she went to a halfway house for the duration of a year and four months. In April of 2015, she moved out of that house. She found support for her recovery in Nashville and decided to stay and or the first time got her own place.
She used and utilized the drugs to starve herself and had to receive help for both problems. Rachel is 27 today and started to live a healthy and active lifestyle. “They helped me with more than just the addiction and the eating disorder, “she says, “I was on all kinds of medication and I was diagnosed with a whole book of mental health disorders.”
Not only she was believed to be bipolar and was struggling with PTSD, she also suffered from nerve-damage in her back, depression and more. She had really bad nightmares and did not know how to get out of this downward cycle of medication and addiction. It was a lot of hard work for Rachel, lots of therapy and learning, but she was able to come off all the prescription drugs in the past year as well.
Rachel started to believe in God and kept asking for help. “God showed me a solution each time,” she says. The Lord has given her gratitude to treat her depression, physical therapy to ease the nerve-damage she suffered and a focus on her strength to combat her problems. She focused her recovery more on being a disciple in church than on meetings, but she attended some 12-step groups as well. Rachel, who used to starve herself almost to death has now been able to put on over 30 pounds and is healthy enough to run a race today. The Heroes in Recovery 6K is only the second run she has attended. In her earlier life she would have never been able to do those things.
“Relapse is not a part of my story”, Rachel says with confidence. It’s her first try of recovery. She needed God in her life to make it and understands today that if you want something in your life to change, you need to change. “You can’t do it by yourself. You have to have people around you to help you.”