"I wasn’t perfect; I did slip up a couple of times. But I learned from my mistakes and worked on my attitude towards them." - Shannon
At the age of thirteen, I started my battle with addiction with the gateway drug, marijuana. I continued to smoke for about a year until I was introduced to pills. I said to myself, “Well, why not?” First, I took some Xanax and I was instantly hooked. I loved the feeling it gave me. It was like I was in outer space. I popped pills for a while until I got into hallucinogens and then I started trying cold and cough medicine, cocaine, and crack. It was a never ending, viscous cycle that was going to kill me and ruin my life. Throughout my journey of addiction, I was placed on probation. On July 17th, 2015 I was arrested for Breaking and Entering, Possession of Marijuana, and Possession of Tobacco. I was later taken into custody and placed in the Macomb County Juvenile Justice Center, where I had a hearing and was court ordered to complete the Safe Harbor Adolescent Recovery Program (SHARP).
August 3rd, 2015 I arrived at the SHARP program. I was very shy when I first came here. I didn’t really talk to anyone. It took me about two weeks to get comfortable with the foster home and the girls there. At first, I was very resistant to treatment. I felt that I didn’t need help and that I didn’t have a problem with drugs.
Eventually, I came to realize that I have a problem with drugs. From there, I worked to find out why I used. I wanted to escape, make myself feel more confident, and I used in order to “handle” my emotions. I continued to work on what I felt I needed to in order to help me stay clean.
I had some ups and downs, from trips to detention at Horton Bay Farms to sneaky and manipulative behavior, and unsuccessful visits. I wasn’t interested in their help. I didn’t want it at first, but I had to learn to accept the help and take advantage of it. The support here helped me get out of those negative moments. I wasn’t perfect; I did slip up a couple of times. But I learned from my mistakes and worked on my attitude towards them.
I started to have consistent good behavior and I told myself I was ready to go home. I really wasn’t ready at all, looking back on it. I told myself I was ready so often, but in reality I just wanted to get out of the program. You can tell yourself a lie so many times to the point where you’ll start to believe it’s the truth and that is what I did.
I knew I was ready to leave when I started to enjoy being sober, loving myself, and not just focusing on my out date, but on my recovery. I can say now, I love being sober! I’ve never been so happy and positive in my life. I’ve caught up on school credits and I have goals and a plan to achieve them! A quote from a French writer, Antoine de Saint-Exupery, which I discovered while in the program, has helped me remember to work towards my goal, “A goal without a plan is just a wish.”
I couldn’t have done it without the help of the program director, John McLean; my foster mother, Marti Vondra; my teacher, Samantha Reeves; the administrative assistant, Julie Wheat; the Future Focus Staff; my counselors, Jill Borton and Terry VanFleet. Thank you so much!