1.) How long have you been in recovery from opioids and other illicit substances?
I have been clean and sober for one year and 7-months, and counting, from opioids and other illicit substances
2.) What helps you stay clean and sober? (i.e. coping strategies, positive people, places and activities, counseling, MAT, your children, etc.)
My family is a big motivation for me, in my recovery. I have 3-young children who I know need me and depend on me. So, getting high and using is no longer an option or something for me to turn to when I feel overwhelmed or stressed because I know the consequences of my use will not only impact me, but my children. I also participate in methadone maintenance, counseling and have surrounded myself with people who support my sobriety. I want to succeed in life and work toward becoming the best father, son, brother, nephew and friend I can be, and in order to accomplish this goal I must work on my recovery every day.
3.) What have you learned about yourself since getting clean?
I learned that I am actually a good person. In active addiction, I did things that I am not proud of; however, in my recovery I have found joy in helping others which has helped me feel better about myself.
4.) What advice or message do you have for people who are currently struggling with opioid use disorder?
The one piece of advice I would like to give people who are struggling with opioid use disorder is to give yourself a chance at recovering. Look at it this way, if you were to put a quarter of the time into your recovery that you invested in getting high, you could turn your life around for the better.
5.) How do you feel about the person you are today compared to the person you were in active addiction?
For the first time in my life, I can say that I like the person I am today. When I was using, I hated myself; I was so angry and ashamed of my behavior. Now that I am clean and sober, I am capable of loving and helping others because I have finally learned how to love myself.
Geri Lynn Utter, PsyD Perspective Piece: Relapse, Mental Health, and the State of the World As I sat down to write this article, I