Hi, my name is Lauren and I am an addict. In 2006 I became addicted to prescription painkillers after an illness. Within a year, I became a full blown heroin addict.

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I experimented with many different drugs throughout high school with my friends, and never had any problems putting them down. The opiates were different. They became everything. And then I lost everything. Money, cars, jewelry, electronics, family heirlooms- regardless of who they belonged to- all gone. But worse than that were friends. And worse still was family. Holidays where my mother had to choose between me or her sister and mother. Some things have been repaired or replaced. Somethings will never be the same.

I come from a normal, upper middle class family. I was raised in a big beautiful house in a wealthy area of a wealthy town. I was an athlete. I was raised by both parents, both of whom are great people who provided me with everything I needed. Friends who were also caught up in the opiate crisis were in the top 25 of the class and every single one was college bound. These were good kids from good families. Some are sober. Some are in jail. One of my closest friends is dead.

I have enjoyed about as much sober time as using time over the past ten years. During that sober time I found it very natural to start helping other families. The Twelve Steps never worked for me. So I worked instead with a local non-profit and I started making noise. I was featured on Good Morning America, and Nightline. My picture was on the front page of the Sunday Hartford Current. There were many smaller articles and interviews along the way. I helped to coach many families so that they had the tools to get their child into recovery.

Unlike those who have formal education in the field, I have learned about addiction at the Devil’s knee. I learned it because I lived it. It enables me to help parents out think their kids. It enables me to see through their lies and manipulation when the parent is blinded by their love and concern for their child. It allows me to reach addicts at their level. I have experience with all of the standard medications used to treat opioid dependence. I am not only well educated regarding Narcan, I also owe my life to it. I believe I am alive because my purpose is to help others overcome this terrifying disease.