My Name is Helaina C.

NHR Experience | May 29, 2016

My name is Helaina C. and I am a grateful recovering alcoholic and heroin addict. I was raised in the small town of Elkton, Maryland; a town known for our sports teams and drugs. I graduated from my high school as a National Honor Society Student and with a scholarship to play volleyball in college. I was my county’s golden girl and went to college to study Pre-Pharmacy as a chemistry/biology major. I also played on the University’s volleyball team. Unfortunately sports and academics began to take a toll on my already diminished self-esteem and no longer served as an escape for me.

At the age of 19, I turned to cocaine and heroin. I went down the dark road that my parents had warned me about. A year later I substituted drugs with something easier to obtain and socially acceptable to do, alcohol. My life took a tragic turn when at the age of 22 I almost lost my life due to alcohol. On November 22, 2014 my parents found me unconscious in a pool of my own blood. Upon arrival to the hospital, doctors informed my parents that I had liver, kidney and renal failure. I was suffering from severe pancreatitis, was jaundice, had an internal bleed, was septic and had a cyst the size of a grapefruit on my pancreas. I spent the next 6 months in the hospital fighting for my life. On Christmas Day 2014, I flatlined and although they did revive me, I spent the next month in an induced coma with machines breathing for me. I contracted an infection known as VRE and due to the powerful medication that I took to cure it, all of my hair fell out. I remember crying every night, because I could no longer recognize the monster that stared back at me in the mirror. I had lost my feminine identity and, above all, lost my will to live.

Even after everything that I had been through and the countless warning from healthcare professionals, I still went back to drinking. This solidified to me that I am alcoholic and cannot manage my own life. For the first time in 22 years I became willing to believe in a power greater than myself, because the insanity of active addiction was too much for me to bear.

While at a treatment center in July of 2015 I made the decision, no matter what happens, to save my life. I moved to Long island, New York and arrived at Harmony House on August 2015. I did relapse within the program, but in spite of that the founders and staff of Harmony believed in me, even though I was incapable of believing in myself yet. I was given another chance for a life that I always deserved. My sober date is October 11, 2015. I took every suggestion and became connected with the people of Alcoholics Anonymous. Within time I earned back what I had thought was lost. I have an amazing relationship with my family; I can be a daughter, sister and grandchild today. I have beautiful women that I can call my friends; I can be there for them. I have a job that helps people, because today I can be responsible. Today I am dedicated to my sobriety and accountable in my life. None of this would have been possible without a mustard seed of willingness, the amazing people who helped pick me up when I couldn’t stand, my higher power, and the program of Alcoholics Anonymous.

On May 11, 2016 I will have 7 months sober, and for that I am truly grateful. At the age of 23, I am a sober woman of dignity and I have a blessed life. I believe that everything in this life happens for a reason. I had to suffer through a period of my life to learn compassion, understanding, acceptance and gratefulness. My purpose is to share what happened in my life and where I am now, because there is always a glimmer of hope if you search for it.

“The age of miracles is upon us. Our recovery proves that.”