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Tara: ‘We are good people with a bad disease’

My name is Tara.

I’m 27 and I’m an addict. My drug of choice was heroin and my clean date is 12/1/12. This is my story.

My whole life growing up I never quite felt like I fit in. I always felt that there was something different about me but I never knew what it was until I started using drugs. My first time trying Heroin I felt like I could finally breathe. I felt like all the weight was lifted off my shoulders and that I finally figured out what was missing in my life. I finally felt like I fit in, but that was all just an illusion that the addict in me created.

My life went downhill very fast as my addiction took away everything in my life. I lost everything, not just monetary things, but my friends and most importantly my family. I became a whole different person. I was a manipulative, lying, horrible shell of a person. I was homeless because I chose to do drugs rather than be clean and go home.

My family put me in rehabs many times but it never worked because I wasn’t ready. For an addict or alcoholic to get clean they have to want it for themselves. They have to be completely committed and want it with every ounce of their being.

I lost many friends to addiction including my two best friends. I even overdosed once and almost died, but that still wasn’t enough to quit until December 1, 2012 when I became very sick and went to the hospital. That’s the last thing I remember until a couple months later. My body had been in septic shock and my organs were failing and I was in a coma on a respirator and life-support. The doctor said I had a 5% chance of living. Somehow I lived and I made it through this, and I know that I was meant to live for a reason.

My goal in life now is to break the stigma of addiction and help people understand that addiction is a disease, it’s not a matter of willpower and we addicts are not bad people, we are good people with a bad disease. I’m going to school to become a drug and alcohol counselor and even if I only save one life my life will be complete. I just want people to know that there is hope and that we are not all lost causes. All we have to do is want it badly enough and we can be back to living a normal, wonderful life even better than before.