52 Addicts Recap #3

Martinsburg, WV Heroin Epidemic

It’s time for update #3 of the 52Addicts Project! If you are new here, check out this post to learn about the project.

Update #1 can be found at this link.

Update #2 can be found at this link.

Here are the latest stories for those of you not on Instagram. To get these stories as soon as they are published, follow along on our Instagram page here!

Nicole is a loving mother of two who has a huge heart for animals. Not only does she rescue countless animals, but she also helps dog owners find their lost loved ones using her own search dog. She is proud of how far she has come recently since recovering from a pill addiction that lasted several years before turning to heroin. It began when someone very close to her passed away from cancer, and her family fell apart. She says she is lucky to have had some close friends and family who didn’t give up on her through her struggle, but she also lost some very close friends who turned their back on her. She wanted help throughout her battle, but she had no one to care for her kids if she were to go to rehab. She also couldn’t bare the thought of being away from them even if she could find someone to watch them. This is a common theme among many young mothers who are struggling with addiction. They love their kids so much, just as any other mother does, but rehabs that allow children are very few & far between. It’s time to extend an arm to those who need help, especially those who have families to grow. ‍‍ Follow along on my journey to meet 52 people who have struggled with addiction. These are our mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, nurses, teachers, military members, business owners and more. Let’s end the stigma of addiction, so we can move forward with a plan to make positive changes in our community. #52Addicts

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If you ever watched the show “Intervention”, you may have seen the story about a young Berkeley County girl addicted to heroin while her family heartbreakingly begged her to get help. That girl ended up taking the offer of rehab in Arizona, yet quickly relapsed after coming back home several months later. She ended up going to prison, but she continued to get high there as many inmates do. While incarcerated, she got in trouble and found herself in solitary confinement with absolutely nothing for 42 days. It was there that she said she finally realized that she needed to fully commit to staying clean or her life would be filled with more days like those. When she was released, she asked to go back to rehab to learn the skills needed to stay clean. One part of treatment that she says has contributed most to her success, was neurofeedback. Once a controversial treatment, it is now recognized by the FDA as an effective tool to rewire the brain to make better decisions throughout life. You certainly wouldn’t recognize Tiffany today as that same girl, as she has done so much growing in many ways since those dark days that addiction had a hold of her life. She is back in her oldest daughter’s life which she is very proud of, and is married to a great guy who is very supportive. They have a precious little girl and are looking forward to another new baby girl due in April! She currently works for East Ridge Health Systems helping adults with mental illness, and she hopes to soon be working at the new rehab facility set to open this year where she can use her knowledge to help others who are struggling with addiction. Follow along on my journey to meet 52 people who have struggled with addiction. These are our mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, nurses, teachers, military members, business owners and more. Let’s end the stigma of addiction, so we can move forward with a plan to make positive changes in our community. Visit the link in our profile for more info on this project, and please share! #52Addicts #MartinsburgWV #HeroinCrisis #EndTheStigma #RecoveryIsPossible #BerkeleyCounty #Martinsburg #WV #SwadleyStudio #CommunityServiceProject #Addiction #addict #Stigma

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Denny is one of those people whose strength amazes me after all he has endured. He was born into drugs, and was given to his grandmother at only a few months old after being found alone with a baby bottle full of beer while his mom was at the bar. He thinks he would have thrived if he could have stayed with his grandma, but he was forced to go back to his mom at 5 years old where he was raised in an environment no child should be exposed to. At only 10 years old, Denny found drugs could ease his pain of abuse and neglect. He started with marijuana, then went to huffing paint thinner and eventually on to every other drug he could get. He liked that it made him feel like he didn’t know where he was. His addiction grew worse as he became an adult and had to deal with the responsibilities that come along with everyday life. His first wife left him when she couldn’t handle his addiction, but he met another woman with whom he fell in love. After many relapses, and many times where she was fed up with his behavior, she ended up getting pregnant. She gave him an ultimatum, and Denny woke up to the reality of what he needed to do. He was determined to stay clean for his new family. He became a workaholic to keep his mind off his addiction, sometimes working 3 jobs to stay busy. Today, he is a superintendent for a construction company in DC and actively involved in the recovery community. He is proud to say he has 23 years clean! Follow along on my journey to meet 52 people who have struggled with addiction. These are our mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, nurses, teachers, military members, business owners and more. Let’s end the stigma of addiction, so we can move forward with a plan to make positive changes in our community. Visit the link in our profile for more info on this project, and please share! #52Addicts

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Sammie was one of the many young women who found herself in a relationship with a guy who abused her. To ease the pain that he caused, she began taking opioid painkillers which eventually led to heroin use. Her addiction took over her life, and like so many others she became a different person who lied, cheated and stole to get high. In February of 2014, she overdosed and almost lost everything, including her life. Luckily, she was saved and the police came to arrest her. As she was handcuffed and walked into ERJ, she says she felt like she could breathe again because she knew this struggle was over for her. She spent 5 ½ months in jail, and she made it through her sentence becoming closer with her family, being involved in programs like Celebrate Recovery and Bible study. Today, she has a brand new life, a brand new baby girl and a guy who treats her like the strong, inspiring woman she is. Sammie’s clean date just passed and she posted an image of where she was and where she is now. Here is a little of her post that I found inspirational: “… I found God I found strength I found love but most importantly I found Sammie… I will continue to pray not just for myself but for anyone fighting addiction, I will never forget who I was. It made me who I am and I love the woman I am today because I fought to become her…” ✨ Follow along on my journey to meet 52 people who have struggled with addiction. These are our mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, nurses, teachers, military members, business owners and more. Let’s end the stigma of addiction, so we can move forward with a plan to make positive changes in our community. Visit the link in our profile for more info on this project, and please share! #52Addicts

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The parking lot of this church holds tremendous meaning for Chelsea. It was the church that her parents were married in. It was also the spot where she overdosed in 2014. She was in a car with two of her friends while they got high when they noticed she was turning blue. They dumped a gallon of cold water on her thinking somehow that would wake her up, but of course that didn’t do anything. At first one of the “friends” suggested they push her out of the car and leave her here. Luckily, the other one decided to drive her up the road to the front door of the hospital where she was quickly taken by the staff. Chelsea later woke up to a doctor gently stroking her head telling her that she was very lucky to be alive, because she was technically DOA when her friend dropped her off and disappeared. Since that day, Chelsea has never looked back. She credits God for giving her a second chance at life, and wants to help others see that there is a way out and a hope for a better life. ✨✨✨✨✨✨✨✨✨ Follow along on my journey to meet 52 people who have struggled with addiction. These are our mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, nurses, teachers, military members, business owners and more. Let’s end the stigma of addiction, so we can move forward with a plan to make positive changes in our community. Visit the link in our profile for more info on this project, and please share! #52Addicts

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  • Tinka Fedorka - July 9, 2017 - 4:41 pm

    Just wanted to tell you I read about your 52 Addicts project in The New Yorker and immediately went to your website to learn more. I am very impressed with your open mindedness and desired to help others. It is a wonderful commitment to help the community with this devastating problem. Best wishes for this project. Rosemary Judy’s mother, Tinka

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