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It is always an honor and privilege to share how recovery has impacted my life. I could write a book (and have often considered this) on how my life was, where I am now, and where I hope my choices will take me in the future.

When deciding on a topic, I thought of that one word, that word being “choices”.

In active addiction, I made choices. Most choices I made in my life were not healthy for the mind, body, and spirit. I was not able to make mature, healthy choices. Most things I chose to do not only because of my disease of addiction, but out of ego, immature thinking, and insecurities, I placed myself in harm’s way more often than not.

As a brief backstory, I was a child victim of bullying, divorce, abuse both physically and mentally. But the trauma that I feel affected me the most was sexual abuse and abandonment. I will spare details, but you can only imagine how this would traumatize a young mind. I never received therapy growing up. I was left to my own survivalist mentally and the result was finding substances that allowed me to not feel, deal, or especially heal.

Being in dentistry or any health care field, we are always taking care of others. In my active addiction I know how this helped me with that “Jekyll and Hyde” lifestyle. I could pretend to have it all together long enough to keep my job but when five o’clock hit, it was off to the bar. I could put on the mask of seeming to have manageability in my life while all the while I was crumbling. My friends saw it, my family saw it, and in the end even I started to admit my life had definitely become unmanageable.

My work life, home life, finances, and even my health were suffering from the poor choices I was making. I did not know who or how I could get help. Because of the abandonment in my early life, I didn’t know or even want to reach out for help. I felt “I can do this on my own”. I knew deep inside I could not and could feel something about to happen. Something did happen. I was faced with legal consequences of my choices and now faced criminal charges, loss of employment, and possible intervention from social services in regards to my children. I was faced with the choice of continuing to live an unhealthy lifestyle and continue to use mood and mind altering substances possibly becoming homeless and losing my children, even worse die from my addiction, or humble myself and find help for one of the first times in my adult life. I wasn’t aware if anyone or anything could help turn my life around and pull me out of the hole.

I found a program we have available in North Carolina for dental professionals called the North Carolina Caring Dental Professional program. I had briefly spoke to a lady at a dental convention who was the program director .I remembering grabbing a pamphlet and without making eye contact stuffed it in my purse. I now look at this as my higher power, who I call God, doing for me what I couldn’t do for myself.

I contacted them after being charged with a felony and got honest. I expected the worse but the hell of being in active addiction I felt couldn’t be worse than what I had done to myself and others from my choices. The NCCDP immediately got me into a program of recovery, gave me accountability, and helped me get the much needed therapy I should have gotten long ago.

I am extremely grateful to share I have 9 years of no use of alcohol or drugs. Recovery has helped that little girl who didn’t know how to help herself grow into the woman I am, a woman who learned how to make healthy choices. I know I now have to stay away from people, places, and things that are not healthy for me and I have a tribe of like-minded people who love me and have only feelings of kindness for me. My children respect me and remind me constantly how proud they are of me. I met a great man who is also in recovery and we are accountability partners in life. I was able to keep my hygiene license and make choices for my life that helped me learn to feel, deal and especially heal.

In this month of gratitude, I am grateful I made the choice to call the NC Caring Dental Professionals Program. I pray if you are struggling you will make this choice as well.