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A Grateful Recovering Hygienist

I am a recent “graduate” of the NCCDP program, and wow, what a journey it has been. When I came to the CDP 5 years ago, I was a hopeless wreck and thought my life was over; little did I know, it had just begun. I won’t take this time to dive deep into my childhood or my past (that’s what working the steps with a sponsor is for), but I will say that my first drug of choice was your approval, and my second, was work.

Shortly after becoming a hygienist in 2008, I began to have problems with my back. I was juggling so many things at the time, a recent marriage, full-time hygienist, part-time job with Pizza Inn, youth leader at church, and volunteer firefighter (hint: approval-seeker, people-pleaser, workaholic). I experienced my first dealings with sciatic nerve pain, and it was no joke, but I learned to manage until I couldn’t. Fast forward to 2012, obviously, my pain was more intense, and I couldn’t bear it any longer on my own. I went to get a second opinion from an orthopedic & spine doctor, who immediately started me on 180 Percocet a month and muscle relaxers. Now let me say this was my first experience with any type of drug, so I had no idea the nightmare I was about to experience. My mother tried to warn me, but I insisted not me (not the “golden child”).

Now you would think that 180 Percocet a month (on top of two different muscle relaxers, two different anti-inflammatories, Gabapentin, and Phenergan) would be enough for one person, right? Think again. At first, it was enough; I felt like Wonder Woman, but unfortunately, that was short lived. No longer was I just using the drugs to deal with my chronic pain, but it had become a way of life. It was how I dealt with all of my problems (good or bad). By 2015, I acquired another position…personal drug dealer. When the medications from my doctor were no longer enough, I began forging prescriptions under family member names to supplement my supply. Percocet had become my best friend, and I did nothing without it. 

In 2017, my world came to a screeching halt and the charade was over. The SBI showed up not only at my dental office but at my husband’s job as well. A few days later, I was checking into rehab. While at the facility, my mother informed me that someone from the Dental Board stopped by to pick up my hygiene license, left contact information for the NCCDP, and strongly recommended I call Nancy as soon as I got out of rehab, which ended up being one of the best decisions I ever made. 

I will forever be grateful to all those associated with the NCCDP program (Nancy, Susan, Bill, my PSV(s), the many speakers at our conferences, and other participants). Not only did the CDP save my career but it saved my life and restored my hope. Coming into the program, it seemed like a tall order, what was asked of us, but in reality, it wasn’t. We went to any lengths in active addiction, so why wouldn’t we do the same for our recovery? If it were not for God and the accountability I received with the CDP these past 5 years, I wouldn’t be where I am today. I feel like we’re the lucky ones. Beginning recovery feels so lonely and overwhelming, and I’m so thankful that I did not have to do it alone. “Happiness comes when we stop complaining about the troubles we have and offer thanks for all the troubles we don’t have.” Through God, the CDP, and recovery, I found HOPE instead of desperation, FAITH instead of despair, COURAGE instead of fear, and a PEACE OF MIND instead of confusion. Recovery taught me that you cannot heal what is hidden and that honesty isn’t trying to hurt me, it’s trying to heal me. I think the “Twenty-Four Hours A Day” sums it up pretty well…“There are two things that we must have if we are going to change our way of life. One is FAITH, the confidence in things unseen, the fundamental goodness and purpose in the universe. The other is OBEDIENCE: that is, living according to our faith, living each day as we believe that God wants us to live, with gratitude, humility, honesty, purity, unselfishness, and love. Faith and obedience—these two will give us all the strength we need to overcome sin and temptation, and to live a new and more abundant life.”