Hello everyone! I am so excited to welcome you to my website, Syringes to Sobriety! I am a recovering heroin addict who has tried almost everything on the market to remain sober. To give you an idea of the extent of programs I have tried, here is a non-exhaustive list:
- Inpatient Rehabilitation
- Intensive Outpatient Programs
- Individual counseling (Addiction Counselors, Psychologists, and Psychiatrists)
- ‘Anonymous’ Support Programs (including Heroin Anonymous, Alcoholics Anonymous, CoDependants Anonymous, and many others)
- Sober Companions
- Sheer willpower
- Sober Living Houses
- Medically Assisted Detox
- and so on…
- and so on,
Unfortunately, even after I tried the programs listed above, some successfully, some not, I still ended up incarcerated for felonies related to my drug use. I have spoken to many families who have lost all hope, believing a jail or prison sentence is the only way to save their addicted loved one. I can tell you with 100% certainty, this is not the case.
I encourage any drug user who is thinking about quitting, or just wants a good laugh about some idiotic things we do when we are high, to follow the Syringes to Sobriety blog and join in the discussion! In contrast to what most authorities on the subject say, I believe a drug user should have a voice in their recovery. Aside from our love/hate, but mostly love, relationship with our D.O.C., (drug(s) of choice) each of us are individuals and each of our recoveries will be different.
From Honor Roll to Homeless in Handcuffs
I was born in Canada and, around the age of five, my parents moved my baby sister and me to Arizona. Growing up in an upper-middle-class neighborhood northeast of Phoenix, my childhood was full of familial love, healthy milestones, and good role models.
It was a small town, but I had no trouble making friends. I was, still am, outspoken, fun, a bit of a teacher’s pet, and overly empathetic. I had a passion for theater from a young age, performing in musical theater productions all over the valley.
Both my parents made a good living and I was able to attend an all-girls, Catholic high school where I joined the cheer squad, was accepted to honor society, and participated in philanthropic activities. My high school friends were like-minded, each on their own paths to success. We experimented with drinking, smoking weed, cocaine and the odd prescription pill, but no more than the average high-schooler.
Voted ‘most likely to liven a party’ in the senior yearbook, I graduated with a 4.2 GPA and received a full-ride scholarship to the University of Arizona. At the U of A, I joined the Delta Gamma Sorority and started experimenting a bit more with prescription pills. During a bout of bronchitis, I was prescribed, with three refills, a bottle of cough medicine containing codeine. This is how I discovered my love for opiates.
Before parties, I would take a couple of Xanax or Percocet so I could get a ‘buzz’ from less alcohol. After long nights of partying, Adderall allowed me to wake up and make it to class, ready and focused. I started experimenting more heavily with cocaine when I did not have any Adderall. After all, I was living in Tucson and, let’s just say, cocaine prices are directly correlated with distance from the Mexican border. 🙂
Even with all this partying, I found university classes easy to pass and my behavior seemed common among my peers. I graduated U of A a year early with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and a minor in Business Administration.
Moving back to Phoenix, I landed a great job with the City of Scottsdale Community Services Department. A year passed, and I decided to attend law school. I was accepted to Arizona Summit Law School. During those three years of law school, my pill addiction worsened. I went from snorting to smoking Oxycontin and Percocet.
Waking up one day, during my 2L year, I realized I was physically and emotionally dependent on pain killers. I sought help through the Suboxone Program so I could continue with my education. The program worked for a while, but at the beginning of my 3L year, I relapsed. After spending the rest of my savings on pills, I felt I had no other option but to switch to heroin because it was so much cheaper.
In my last semester, I found myself in an intense relationship with a new guy, hiding the fact that I was smoking heroin off of foil in the bathroom between classes. Eventually, my last set of final exams rolled around and, the tall, handsome man showed his true colors. He lost his temper and violently assaulted me. I may have been too busy dealing with the stress that is law school or too busy hiding my shameful addiction, but for some reason, I did not see the warning signs.
Immediately following the assault, I went to a fellow drug user’s (an I. V, user) house to tend to my injuries and get my head right. While smoking some heroin, I became agitated, throwing the foil down because the physical and emotional pain was not going away. My ‘friend’ asked me to stick out my arm.
I put my arm out.
I let him insert the needle.
I immediately fell to my knees.
All the stress, all the pain, physical and emotional, had disappeared. It felt like I was having ten orgasms all at the same time. (Please excuse my crudeness, but it is the only way I have found adequate to explain the feeling.)
Instead of finishing the final draft of my last assignment in law school, I spiraled.
Soon after, I was forced into rehabilitation.
Within the next year, I was homeless.
This was more than four years ago and, since then, I have been incarcerated multiple times, forced into treatment programs, remained sober for different lengths of time, and relapsed a few times. A circle of triumphs, failures, mistakes, and ultimately, frustration and disappointment.
I still struggle every day, every second, to keep my head on straight, but the thing that has kept me sober more than anything is writing. Sharing my story and helping others on Syringes to Sobriety.
Using my Experiences to Help Others on Syringes to Sobriety’s Blog
I hope my experiences help someone else avoid making the same mistakes. If not, I hope I can at least be a sounding board for any frustrations any of you may have. I don’t want people to blindly follow when a therapist or website tells you the best way for you to get clean. I want to help people put a plan together based on their individual needs.
I also want to help families understand what is going through a drug user’s head. Through my stories, I hope readers understand, that your loved one’s struggles with drugs have nothing to do with how much they love you. They love you very much. Take comfort in this forum as a place to refer someone to. I will never turn anyone away who needs advice and, after reading my story it should be clear, I have no room to judge!
Syringes to Sobriety’s Mission
I strongly believe we have not found the perfect approach to recovery yet, but I have not lost hope. Whether it is reviewing every meditation app on the market or recommending a treatment center that conforms to your individual issues, you will be able to find it on this site. With the age of the internet and forums like this, the opportunities are limitless.
It is my mission to provide information that sparks the passion one needs to recover. The ultimate goal of this site is to put together an extensive resource of products, programs, articles, advice, real-life blog postings and love. I want to connect the recovery community to work together to tailor custom recovery to individuals, while connecting like-minded, recovering drug users.
If this page has captured your interest, please venture to our home page to check out some of our content. If you have found any of this information useful, please check out a few of the advertisements posted throughout our site. I maintain and create content for this site in my spare time while working two other jobs to get by. Each time a reader clicks an ad, I receive a few cents. A few clicks can go a long way toward allowing me to spend more time creating content.
Syringes to Sobriety encourage positive, uplifting discussions between readers and will be available to answer any questions you may have. Feel free to post your questions and comments below and please remember to click on a few advertisements to show your support for Syringes to Sobriety.
All the best,
Syringes to Sobriety: Founder and Content Creator
15 comments on “About ANA”
I could not resist commenting.
Exceptionally well written!
Great blog, keep it up.
Thanks Ana, for relaying to us all your compelling story. I was quite moved by it as it sounds very similar to what my daughter went through years ago when she was a teenager. Just as it sounds like you have, she too has turned her life around since that period long ago.
Too many parents give up hope or take drastic measures as they try to deal with a child that may be going through something like this. You are so kind to be spreading the word about alternatives that are out there and some which you have taken the initiative to get off the ground.
The Syringes to Sobriety program sounds very much like a platform that many can come to for support and advice. I have bookmarked it, as I know very well what the parties go through when drugs and more get in the way of life for people. They are all like us and need our help and support. Beautiful concept!
I am very happy to hear your daughter has turned her life around. Every day I am grateful my parents did not give up on me when I was at my worst. See a child become dependant on substances is one of the hardest things a parent ever has to deal with. A lot of the shame we feel as users come from knowing, if not for our choices, our parents would be happy. Love and never giving up saves lives of loved ones, as I am sure is the case with you and your daughter. Thank you for bookmarking the site and we hope to continue to provide useful information for those struggling with addiction, as well as their loved ones.
First of all, I must commend your efforts in putting this together, it’s really rare to find people who’d share their own experience to help others from not making the same mistakes they made, your story is really inspiring and I must say I’m really touched. I really wish to see this mission thrive and reach out to more people as it’ll save a lot of lives and give people to stop these things the easy way. This article should reach out to more people because it speaks to almost everyone in the general populace. Thanks for sharing your experience, I’ve learned a lot and enjoyed reading through.
DreaJay, thank you for commenting and reading through the site. We hope anyone who needs help has the opportunity to find the information they need to help them turn things around. Hopefully, I can get the information on this site in front of enough people, in the hopes that they will share. Eventually, someone needing motivation will read a successful recovery story, This may be enough to encourage this person to take the first step to get clean and sober, as well as save their family from further heartbreak. This will make all of the hard work worth it.
Thanks for reading!
Hello Ashley, your story is one story that really gets to the soul and I feel happy for you that you are doing something about overcoming and trying to help someone overcome. I know there are lots of things to try out there but I know you have tried and are trying every possible way, I wish you luck on your way to perfect recovery? Do you believe in perfect and total recovery? I do.
I have battled with my own addictions as well and one day…. one day I fasted thought I had fasted so many times before but that one day it was a different day, things changed. You could pray a million times, but there is always that one last time you pray and things change, all it takes is your realisation that all you got is God and your desire for change. I pray that one day you will it.
Thanks for reading and sharing a bit of your own story with us.
I find it hard to say I believe in ‘perfect’ recovery because, in my opinion, there is no such thing as perfect. However, I think we are on the same page in that, we are perfect with all our imperfections. I know that sounds confusing, but if one is able to find their own way in recovery, (aka find a recovery program suitable to their own individual needs), then perfect recovery for that person has been achieved.
Remember, there are as many ways to recover as there are people in this world. There is a perfect, albeit completey unique, recovery plan out there for everyone who is struggling to overcome substnace abuse.
Some programs are not as mainstream as we may want them to be, so acceptabce is going to play a huge role in society adopting a helpful attitude towards recovery.
I am very happy prayer worked for you. For others, this may not be an option. We hope to identify all the different ways people can recover and help society accept these paths, as long as they are truly helping at least one person recover.
Thanks so much for stopping by and I wish you the best of luck with your future endeavors!
Thank you so much for sharing your story. I know sometimes we make decisions that we cannot easily turn awway from even if we want to. Addicts of any form need love. We cannot give up on them no matter how bad it gets. May you continue to soar high on your journey and may you continue to inspire others to sobriety. This article is worth sharing.
Thank you, Carol, and thank you for sharing!
Hello dear Ana,
Your story is inspiring and I really think you are a very strong and brave person! Sharing your journey in order to help others is a very noble cause and I hope you really succeed in that!
Lots of love
Kate- Thank you and I appreciate you taking the time to stop by and read my story.
Your story is truly inspiring, and I want to be around to read how you continue it. I think more people should know about it because that is real life based with real experiences. You don’t just make these stories up.
You’re already inspiring and helping people, and I’m sure more will follow.
Stay wonderful! Have a good day!
(I love what you did with your website! These colors are really easy to the eyes and somehow it has this connection with you. Are you an artist by any chance?
Your graphics are wonderful! I’m taking notes. )
Hello Migz!! Thank you for stopping by. If anyone else is reading this comment, this is the famous Migz who writes all the wonderful stories on http://wordsandotherthingsforthesoul.com. Be sure to check out his blog!
Yes, real life has its way producing good stories. Unfortunately, the most painful experiences usually make for a great read, BUT they also have the ability to spark real change in people.
For a long time I was ashamed of the decisions I had made in my life, but today I try to remember how lucky I am to still be alive, enjoying our beautiful planet and all the interesting people living on it. Plenty of my friends did not make it past the age of 25. I owe it to them to stay positive and spread kindness and compassion to all.
(I do not consider myself an artist, but I love to create! As for the images I use, they are mostly done by street artists. I think graffiti and mural paintings are some of the most beautiful pieces of art and, if you look close enough, most cities are littered with colorful walls painted by very talented artists. The best part is, most of these artists specialize in the street art medium because they love art, not because they want to make money. That is the sign of a true artist, in my opinion!)
Hope to speak with you again soon.
This is Awesome, great to read another inspiring person’s story aside from attending my TX which is NA/AA meeting. I’m kinda on the same mission as you and want to help others as well as long as they are ready or willing to have that seed planted in their minds that there is a way to stop. Hope to connect at some point and bounce some ideas off each other.
Absolutely.. Congrats on your recovery! It is always nice to hear there are other recovering users willing to plant those seeds. We have a huge epidemic on our hands. It is deadly and not slowing down. We will be in touch. Thanks for stopping by!