Substance use disorder (SUD) is a mental disorder that affects a person’s brain and behavior. With the inability to control their use of substances such as legal or illegal drugs, alcohol, or medications, symptoms can range from moderate to severe, with addiction being the most severe form of SUDs.
SOME’s comprehensive SUD Treatment Program empowers adults to break the bonds of addiction, reunite with their families, and rejoin their communities. SOME offers addiction treatment in individual and group settings and both residential and outpatient treatment.Michelle, a previous residential treatment client at SOME’s facility in West Virginia, has now been free of addiction for three years, since June 2, 2018.
When we first asked her what she thought of SOME’s SUD Treatment Program, she replied, “SOME changed my life.”
Growing up in a home where neglect and abuse were prevalent put Michelle at risk for a multitude of problems during childhood. She recounted that her SUD journey began over 40 years ago, with a puff of marijuana and a sip of alcohol at just 13 years old. This led her down a road of incarceration, mental health institutions, homelessness, and different substance abuse programs, all of which left her feeling powerless and inadequate.
Before SOME, Michelle was in and out of programs for 5 years, and would call these visits an “oil change.” She did not think that she could escape addiction, and felt that she had to stay under the influence to forget about the pain of her childhood. By age 20 Michelle had 3 kids (she would have another at age 38), but her addiction made her incapable of taking care of her children, so her family stepped in.
For Michelle, life felt like a never-ending, inescapable spiral, marked by unsuccessful relationships, losing jobs, and losing family members such as her firstborn daughter and mother. It seemed that, just when things began to get good, everything would go bad, and she would start using again.
She was exhausted. “Living in the streets, eating from trashcans, and sleeping at bus stops takes a tremendous toll on you.”
Michelle finally called her sister and asked for help. Her sister went through SOME’s SUD Treatment Program and has remained sober for 21 years, recommending it to Michelle often throughout the years. Michelle says that what was different about this particular phone call was that “I WANTED help this time.” After spending a few days with her family, she was ready to go to a place she said she would never go—SOME.
Initially, there was not enough bed space for Michelle, so she went to Safe Haven for 30 days and began work with a therapist. Soon after, she got the news that Maya Angelou House (SOME’s West Virginia SUD Location) had an opening. She says, “I was scared to death, but hopeful … [SOME] taught me how to let go of resentments, and what to do with my anger. How to find a God of my understanding. How to burn shame and guilt and get rid of the blame game. How to, every day, look in the mirror and say that I deserve to be here.”
Over her six-month stay on the mountain at the Maya Angelou House, Michelle discovered resilience, strength, and hope. The next time that trauma struck her life, instead of resorting to using, she decided to surround herself with people in the program and lean on them. She built a network, got a sponsor, and started going to meetings.
Today, Michelle is employed as an SPO (Special Police Officer) and has reunited with her family and her children. “I embrace my flaws today, accepting me for right where I’m at. I can’t change the past, so I will no longer allow it to mess me up.”
Her advice to others suffering from SUD is, “When it comes to SOME, Don’t be afraid to take the risk. Allow yourself to be vulnerable, holding back nothing, and embrace your flaws, stay in the moment.”
It is important to Michelle that we mention the following people and thank them for helping her along the way: Father John, Jason, Ralisha, Shayla, Ms. Michelle, Jasmine, Mr. Josh, Ms. Sandy, Ms. Debbie, Jen, Mr. Arron, Mr. Craig, Ms. Williams, Darryl, Randy, Chef, Ms. Di Nora, Mr. Johnnie, Ms. Vera, Ms. Kima, Ms. Michelle, Mr. Julian, Ms. Jenny, Ms. Kathy, Ms. Valencia, Ms. Verdetta, Fred, Tony, Chris, Francis, Kim, Latrell, Ms. Ann, Ms. Hunt, Ms. Tate, Ms. Sharnetta, Ms. Wanda, Tom from the Gas Station, everyone in the clinic, the dentist department, and staff at Bedford Falls.
For more information about our SUD program, check out our page here!