Five foot nothing and feisty as hell, this girl’s individuality and bold personality shines like a diamond. Hannah has bright pink hair and the attitude to match. Her journey is one of pure strength, and I believe is also one of hope for those working on their sobriety. “One thing I have come to believe is that God doesn’t give us anything we can’t handle,” she says. This is Hannah’s Story of Recovery.
Just a Game
Hannah was a straight-A student, played on her high school softball team as well as a traveling team, and was offered not one, but three full-ride scholarships to college. Her future appeared promising. But appearances aren’t everything and are more often than not, misleading. “My childhood was great until I was eight years old… I was molested by my brother until I was eleven.”
Hannah was unaware at that time that what was happening to her was sexual abuse. “I thought it was a game,” she says. “When I was thirteen I was in sexual education class and we had the ‘good touch, bad touch’ talk.” She went to her mother, distraught, and was told to be quiet about it or bad things would happen. This trauma has followed her for eighteen years.
She pushed through for three years, then became pregnant at sixteen. “He was my very first relationship, ever, and he killed my baby.” Hannah’s boyfriend flipped a kitchen table on top of her when she was sixteen weeks, causing a miscarriage. She endured physical, mental, and emotional abuse. One year later, she realized she was an addict. “I woke up sick and I didn’t know why.”
Drug use in the beginning was a ‘curiosity killed the cat’ kind of situation for Hannah. She witnessed her boyfriend snorting roxies and at first thought of him as ignorant. The very next day, she decided to give it a try and the downward spiral began. Hannah is one out of three children to graduate, but barely made it. Her addiction made her lose her ambition, gave her a false sense of comfort, and isolated from her family. She began using heroin and alcohol to mask her pain. This is where Hannah’s story of recovery began.
The substance abuse made sure she missed out on college and gave her over two hundred days in jail. With two theft charges and lengthy possession charge, she never gave up the fight. Hannah has been in treatment eight times, has been in individual therapy, and attends Narcotics Anonymous meetings. I asked her what is different this time around. “This is the only time I’ve come to treatment on my own. I want this for me this time,” she said.
Recovery is a rollercoaster. Relapses happen. Hannah’s first stint of sobriety was nine months. She left a treatment center in 2018, completed an intensive outpatient program, and most importantly, had stayed sober. But a judge decided she had waited too long to be proactive in her recovery and granted her parents custody of her four-year-old daughter. Hannah had lost what she had loved the most and relapsed.
Life After Relapse
Hannah admits her most clean time has been a year and a half. She says that in sobriety she feels more herself than she has in a really long time. “In sobriety, I’m finally the mom I want to be and I’m proud of myself.” After six miscarriages, Hannah carried her second daughter to full term. “I am so grateful for this second chance to be a mom to my nineteen-month-old,” she beams. I can see the twinkle in her eyes as she boasts about her baby.
Spirituality, in twelve-step programs, is a key component of recovery. Hannah says she finds her Higher Power in the fellowship with the women she has met so far. “They give me hope, faith, strength, and I learn so much from them.” Having a ‘spiritual experience’ is also a big part of the road to recovery. “God’s Will has come to light for me. I have stressed about the ‘how’ of making it,” she explains. “The day I was accepted into the halfway house, everything lined up for me. I got a job, my bed fee got paid, and I found how I would get to work, even without a car.” This has been one of her miracles.
For those Struggling
“I still struggle with how many people I’ve hurt and I beat myself up. I’ve come to understand that the trauma I went through isn’t my fault,” she says. With a clearer mind today, Hannah has a newly-restored positive outlook on her future. She aspires to be an addiction therapist.
“Acceptance is the answer to all my problems today” is her favorite recovery quote. You can read even more inspiring recovery quotes here. She says the best part of her struggle is that she is able to help others and that her personal growth has been strength and learning to be self-less rather than selfish. “It’s worth it,” she says. “It’s worth all the shit you have to go through to get sober.”
-Hannah’s story of recovery has been inspiring and I’d like to thank her for allowing me the privilege of interviewing her and her bravery of sharing her story. You can find other personal stories here!-