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Our Journeys – Stories of Challenge, Bravery, Hope and Loss



Wow!!! 5 YEARS!!! I still can’t believe it.

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Wow!!! 5 YEARS!!! I still can’t believe it.

Wow!!! 5 YEARS!!! I still can’t believe it.


Five years ago today I decided it was time to find recovery and take my life back. Five years ago today I took what money I had and used it for gas instead of dope like I originally planned on. I drove 2.5 hours away from where I was quickly dying. It sure wasn’t easy convincing myself to leave, and that I had to leave. It was a rough drive but I kept going and didn’t stop until I reached my destination.


I was sick. I was sick and tired of being sick and tired. I was sick of overdosing. I was sick of the abuse. I was sick of running from the law. I was sick of hurting people including myself. I was just sick of the lifestyle, sick of the pain. 


One more abscess I would have lost my arm. One more drug deal or assault I would have went to prison - not jail like I had time and time again before. One more overdose I would have lost my life.


The first few days were ROUGH!!! I cried, I curled up in a ball and just prayed for it all to go away. I was so sore my arms were so bruised with track marks and broken veins. I was no more then 100lbs, my clothes were literally falling off of me. I shook for what felt like months (it was just days) with hot and cold sweats. On top of the withdrawals I also had to learn to talk again. That’s right I had to learn to talk. My 3 overdoses within 3 weeks and all the drugs and alcohol I put into my system over those 20 years caused me to forget how to communicate verbally. My brain was a mess. 


After about a week of withdrawals I thought I was ready and strong enough to go back to that place that tried to drown me. Boy was I wrong. I remember getting half way there and saying “I can’t do this, I need more time, I’m not ready to get clean”. Then I looked beside me and saw the love of my life looking at me with so much pain in his eyes, it took me a few minutes to convince myself that NO, I don’t want to relapse, I don’t want to go back to that lifestyle. 


We got to the house where my life went to hell for the very last time. When we walked in I could smell drugs, corruption, and death in the air. It made me so sick to my stomach. Then I looked around with sober eyes all I could do is cry. What the hell did I do?! Dirty needles all over the place, orange caps all over the floors, spoons on the tables, empty baggies from one end of the house to the other. 


Around 2 weeks into my recovery we were cleaning out the van. I took the front floor mat out from the driver side and there it was, my test. Sitting there staring back at me was the needle I had lost a few weeks before. I didn’t say anything at first, I put it in my pocket and fought with myself what to do with it. I decided to tell Tyler what I had found. I broke the tip off and got rid of it (in a responsible way). 


I figured out I couldn’t stay clean in Ontario, the drugs were too easy to find no matter where I went. We decided to move to PEI. I miss Ontario, but if I ever move back I know what I’ve worked so hard for will diminish over time, and quickly. 


Five years later I’m sitting here blessed to wake up each morning not dope sick and instead waking up to the smiles of my beautiful children. I have a roof over my head and my rent is paid. I have food in my cupboards and fridge/freezer and I don’t need to steal it. I’m not lending my vehicle out to drug dealers to feed my own addiction. My life is not the same today as it was 5 years ago. 


Over the years I’ve lost so many friends and family members to this disease. The reason I share my story with all of you and risk putting myself out there is because if I can get clean and sober, anyone can. You gotta want it, you gotta be sick of the lifestyle, you gotta want better, and most importantly you need to know you DESERVE better. 


Addiction is a lifetime disease, there is no cure. But once you find recovery you get to finally make the choice to say NO to the drugs and alcohol. 


When I was a little girl I never ever imagined my life going the way it did and now here I’am 37 years old celebrating 5 years drug and alcohol free!!! 


If you have made it this far and you or somebody you know is struggling with addiction please reach out. I’m here, and I have the connections and resources to get you the help you or they may need. Reaching out for a better life doesn’t make you weak or needy it makes you STRONG!!!!!! 


Thank you everyone who has showed me nothing but love and support over the years before and during my journey in recovery. Each and every one of you mean so much to me and I wish I could put into words what an impact all of you have made on my heart. 


Stay blessed, stay clean, stay sober and always remember you too are worth recovery.


·         Andrea Donaldson

Clean and sober since July 30th 2015 

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