The thing with addiction is that something that may seem small and inconsequential has a way of turning into something bigger than you ever planned — way bigger. Life-changing, even. What’s meant to be a little experimentation becomes a habit, and before you know it, evolves into the most important thing in your life. And that was certainly what happened with Raine.
Now happily in addiction recovery, Raine lost 8 years of her life to her substance abuse. It was a long, bumpy road to sobriety, but she said that now that she’s here, she’s never looking back. Her story is one we can all feel inspired by as a triumph of the human spirit.
Early beginnings, big trouble
Raine’s foray into the world of substances started in high school.
“I started messing around with Xanax and smoking weed,” she explained. “I was a big athlete so I didn’t really do much until the weekends, but on the weekends I would party as hard as I could.”
Many teenagers struggle to feel like they fit in with their peers, but for Raine the situation was even more complicated. Her Hard of Hearing status made her feel especially self-conscious, and in turn, her self-esteem suffered.
“I have hearing aids, so I always put myself in a different category than everyone else. I always was a little more insecure than other girls. I didn’t think much of myself,” she admitted.
Raine said she tried several different drugs throughout the next five years, including cocaine and molly. But it wasn’t until she tried heroin that she fell deeper into addiction than ever before, and things took a dire change for the worst.
“I just fell into heroin a lot harder and harder,” she recalled. “It came to a point where I couldn’t get up without it. I lost my family. My mom kicked me out. I decided either I was going to be homeless and miserable forever, or I was going to try to find some help.”
Making a change
Just about any addict will tell you that the first step toward sobriety is making the conscious decision to do it for yourself. Raine was focused and determined, but it was a matter of finding the right drug rehab facility to get her on the right track. It was at Serenity Rehab that she found the support she needed.
“The people [in treatment] are great. I feel like I really started to bond with people and become part of the group, and that’s tremendous for me,” Raine said. “Being able to have people like me that I can relate to to get through this with is a big thing for me.”
And it was in addiction treatment that Raine found something else she hadn’t expected: acceptance.
“You think that you’re going through something that nobody else knows about, and when you walk in those doors and you start talking to people, you realize the things that you’ve done really aren’t that bad. There are other people that have been there. There are other people that understand. When you sit down and you talk to someone, you realize they care,” she said.
A brighter future
Raine’s battle tested her strength and courage, but in the end, she came out on top. She no longer feels defined by her hearing status — nor her addiction. She fought past her addiction and her insecurities to find a happier, better life. Today, her dreams for the future are hopeful because she knows she can handle whatever life throws at her.
If you ever find yourself facing a difficult time — be it the stress of school, hardships at home or work, or even anxiety over being deaf or hard of hearing — reach out for support from someone you trust. You can always find an empathetic ear without having to turn to debilitating substances like drugs or alcohol — and no matter what, there is always an opportunity for a brighter future.
As Raine said, “You’re able to realize that although it’s bad, it was the past, and there’s a chance for you to fix things and it’s never too late.”
Constance Ray started http://recoverywell.org with the goal of creating a safe place for people to share how addiction has affected them, whether they are combating it themselves or watching someone they care about work to overcome it. The goal is to share stories of hope from survivors who know that the fight against addiction is one worth having, because no matter how it affects you, life can get better.