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A Mother’s Recovery Story

Karen Christian helps celebrate Recovery Month by sharing her personal story of addiction, treatment, and recovery.

“At some point it is arrested, and recovery is then possible.”  The disease of addiction is arrested, halted, stopped! These words speak to the disease of addiction and recovering addicts around the world. For me, my freedom from the bondage of more than 20 years of drug abuse was my arrest in April of 2004.  Because I was tired of using drugs, but didn’t know how to stop, I was grateful for those angels from the 3rdDistrict of the Metropolitan Police Departmentstarting me on my journey. The disease of addiction not only cost me my freedom, but the custody of my daughter. This arrest pointed me in the direction of the DC Superior Court’s Family Treatment Court program which gave me the opportunity to save my life, and regain the custody of my little girl.  I entered the program in April 2005 and it was at that point that I admitted I was powerless over my addiction, and my life had become unmanageable.  

While in rehab (treatment), I heard something that has kept me here almost 7 years: “you don’t have to do this anymore, if you just don’t use.”  I don’t have to put myself or my daughter through the pain and humiliation of my disease ever again, if I just don’t use drugs.  During the21 months in the FTC program, I learned how to live, to really live, to live sober; during my stay in treatment, I made the commitment not to ever use narcotics again.  I’m not going to say it’s not a daily struggle, but like with any other disease-- diabetes, heart disease, obesity, hypertension and many others - life changes are required in order to thrive.

Stopping drug use is the beginning, but staying stopped is daily work.  You must take certain steps to protect your recovery.  Your recovery, if you are serious about it, becomes your most prized possession.  You have control over what takes place in this area of your life; to use or not to use.  I have found this to be where 12 Step Meetings -- a network of people who are just like me, actively working on recovery, and a sponsor who has working knowledge of the 12 steps - is the formula to fight the disease of addiction one day at a time and keep me focused on my recovery. 

Today, I love my life, and I am grateful for the challenges that have come my way.  Successfully overcoming these challenges has made me so much stronger and have given me confirmation that if I don’t use drugs, I can and will be able to deal with anything that comes my way.  My daughter and I have a bond that I can only describe as grace from God.  She is a very happy 10 year old who has very little recollection of the time before I got sober.  I wish more suffering addicts could experience the joy that I feel when I wake up in the morning and I am not going through withdrawal - freedom from bondage.