I met Lisa early in my sobriety journey. I quickly learned that she is a straight-shooter, brutally honest, and will hold you accountable for your actions and behavior. One of her most admirable qualities is her ambition to advocate for women in addiction and recovery. This is Lisa’s story of recovery: one of strength, persistence, growth, and hope.
From the outside looking in, Lisa says her childhood appeared perfectly normal. However, her grandfather burned a memory into her mind at five years old; molestation. She admits that she held this secret for over ten years. This trauma followed her, leading to her first alcoholic drink at eight-years-old. When Lisa suffered kidney stones a year later, her trip to the hospital resulted in four doses of morphine. She instantly learned that she enjoyed these altering substances and, in true madness and criminal thinking, faked a kidney stone attack for pain medicine. Her theatrical kidney stone dilemma meant that pain pills were distributed, and she was given a week off of school. “The first day, my mom left me home with my pain pills, and I ate half of the bottle.” She was only ten years old.
Lisa states she really feels that her path into the madness began at sixteen after meeting a man (twenty-one) and moving out of her parents’ home the next year. “Alcohol and pain pills were my demons until one line of heroin in 2011. As a result, I was hooked. I spent three-hundred dollars the first day.” The next four years were a downward spiral as her first arrest was in 2015 and she was court-ordered to go to rehab. She bravely and successfully completed a thirty-day program and maintained sobriety for one hundred and nineteen days.
One was too many, a thousand was never enough
Despite the victory of almost four months clean, Lisa’s addiction pulled her back into the darkness. “I thought it would be okay to have just one margarita. I was wrong!” she exclaims. In the next two weeks her demons resurfaced and she smoked crack for the first time, meth for the first time, and used a needle for the first time. Lisa’s story of recovery includes how the addict’s mind loves justification. “I thought it was okay because I wasn’t using heroin,” she says. Shortly after, and inevitably, she began IV using heroin.
This relapse left Lisa homeless in Louisville, KY. Surrounded by drugs, sleeping in abandoned homes, and was not showering for weeks at a time. “Because of the grip that my addiction had on me, I was okay with all of this,” she confesses. Her struggle has given her twenty-eight convictions and they were all due to supporting her habit in some way, shape, or form. Lisa’s story of recovery leads to a terrible incident.
Lisa eventually went to live with someone whom she thought was a friend. “In the end, I was held against my will and forced to do things I never imagined,” she says. Stuck with her abuser for what had seemed like an eternity, she was with this person on December 26, 2018 and was arrested for four outstanding warrants. This was Lisa’s blessing in disguise and finally, a way out.
From zero, to hero
She used this opportunity as fuel to stay clean over six months. Unfortunately, as what happens sometimes on the road of recovery, she relapsed in jail. Her last day of use was June 21st 2019. She was sentenced to four years in prison but, “By the grace of God, Clark County opened the MAST program for women, and I was the first accepted into it. Instead of going to prison, I was released on community corrections on December 9, 2019.”
Lisa has certainly had her hardships. She has also had one hell of a comeback story. This woman has shown resilience and is a role model to many women that she encounters, for instance. She has accomplished a great many things, all in one year! A core member of the Oxford House, Treasurer of Chapter Four, and teaches others on sobriety as a recovery technician.
She has restored her relationship with her family and her children. Her bond with them has recovered right along with her. “For the first time ever, because of my sobriety, I was able to provide Christmas for my kids.” To the addicts and alcoholics still struggling or in recovery she says, “I am truly blessed in this life of recovery, and I pray the afflicted realize that they’re worth it and recovery is possible.”
-I’d like to thank Lisa for allowing me the privilege of interviewing her and her bravery of sharing her story. You can find other personal stories here!-