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                 Veronica's Recovery Story,
"As Long As Your Still Breathing" An inside view of the life of one recovering person

“Ms. Slack made a special trip as an alumna of Eagleville Hospital to share her story of hope and recovery with us. Her presentation was decidedly powerful- the impact of her story on the audience was palpable. Ms. Slack’s unique style of storytelling was incredibly engaging and helped to illustrate her journey from pain and loss to a place of hope, growth, and recovery. Her desire to share this with others- to encourage this process in those who are also tired and suffering- is demonstrated through the creation of her very personal “participating” book series. These books, or journals, are designed to turn the reader into the writer of their own recovery story. The books show that one is never alone in their journey of recovery, and that recovery IS possible. We are so grateful that she chose to share her story and her life’s work with the staff and patients of Eagleville Hospital!”


Lara Haagen, MA, ATR-BC, LPC, CCTP

Clinical Coordinator of Adjunctive Therapy

Eagleville Hospital


A True Recovery Story

"As Long as Your Still Breathing"

by Veronica Slack


If you only remember one thing from my recovery story, remember that no matter how bad something may seem, if you are still breathing, you can still choose to recover.


I was born February 22, 1965, in a mental institution. I was taken from my mother and spent the first two years of my life with my Uncle Dominic and Aunt Marge in Baltimore, Maryland. Having no children of their own, they loved and raised me until my father requested my return home to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1967. I was returned to a family of abuse that was engulfed in turmoil. As far as I know, we do not get to pick who we are born to, or where we will live. I suppose it is either the roll of the dice or our Higher Power’s divine plan. Never-the-less, the story still plays out to whatever it is going to be. This is my family, and I love them, but make no mistake, I do not love what they did to me.


In my home, I was beaten and mentally abused by my mother, and molested by one of my older brothers. My siblings and I were disciplined by my mother on a regular basis with an extension cord with knots tied in it, that left welts on our bodies and hands. But I was beat unnecessarily, more so than the others and mental abuse was an everyday occurrence, I really didn’t know any different life. I will tell you a mild example, imagine being the youngest of seven children, somehow my meeting my siblings at the age of two made me an outsider instead of a baby sister. I was told that I cried and screamed for my mother, who I thought was Marge. I can only imagine this made my mentally ill mother feel rejected and made matters worse. One morning I was hungry and I heard the dog under the bed eating a dog biscuit. I crawled under the bed and took some of it. I was happily sharing the dog biscuit and playing with the dog. My brother came into the room and found me under the bed eating the biscuit, he called out to my sister and they started laughing. They were just being kids, they didn’t mean me harm when they called out to my mother. My mother took matters to a whole other level.  She fiercely summoned me downstairs, and I was terrified as I walked towards her. She ranted in a loud demeaning voice and commanded me to get down on the floor and crawl and bark like a dog. She went on to verbally terrorize me in front of my family by making me drink like a dog from the dog’s bowl, as she opened a can of dog food. She put the food in the dog’s bowl and slammed it on the floor in front of me and made me eat it. It was disgusting. I cried and pleaded for her to stop but my cries fell on deaf ears.


Now, imagine a five-year-old child, not even in school yet. That’s about how old I was when I started drinking. My mother made me her drinking buddy. She gave me alcohol and took me to bars with her while my brothers and sisters were at school. At the bars, I remember I liked the pretty shapes of the bottles and the vibrant colors of the drinks with the little red straws. Back then in North Philadelphia, some bars would let me in and some would not, when they wouldn’t I had to stand and wait for her outside. Inside or outside the men around her would give me change and smile and say things like, “what a pretty little girl.” I remember the first time I quit drinking, my mother took me to the corner bar to get more beer, it was a quart of Colt 45. They wouldn’t let me inside, so I waited outside and that’s when the beer I had already drank took on a deeper effect and I began to spin. I leaned into the corner that smelled disgustingly of urine, and I began to vomit, which then turned into dry heaving. I was so frightened by the horrible sound that came out of me that I didn’t touch alcohol again until I was 12 years old.

No matter what was happening or what was to come, I believe today that the two years of love that my Uncle and Aunt gave to me carried me through the physical and mental trauma. But by no means was I an angel. I began stealing at an early age. I was often hungry, so I stole food. The first thing I recall stealing was a stick of pepperoni, which I shared with my brothers and sisters. I went on to steal candy and I got caught at the corner store and they told me to never come into their store again. I didn’t steal again until I was 12 years old.


Around the age of 12 my parents divorced and my dad, who was a truck driver, was always working, so our home became the afterschool party house run by my older siblings. I started drinking and stealing things that I needed. I paid my first consequence with drinking when an ex-boyfriends brother invited me to a party at his house, I drank too much and the ex-boyfriend dragged me into a back room and raped me. This event changed me. I realized that I didn’t have anyone to turn to, and I was mad at myself for drinking too much, but I swore to myself that no one would ever take advantage of me like this again. I was still having to deal with being harassed sexually by my older brother. I had learned to wrap myself in blankets so he couldn’t touch me, but this ex-date-rape pushed me over the edge. The next time my older brother came into my room when he was drunk, I put a stop to his behavior and stood up for myself. I jumped up and yelled frantically to get out of my room and never put his hands on me again. My loud yelling woke everyone including my dad, and then the cat was out of the bag.


Growing up, I had no guidance but myself, I found relief in the recreational use of alcohol and drugs, and it began to grow. I began writing out my pain in what I called the liquor box albums. My dad had an in-house bar that I collected the pretty boxes and bottles from and stored my writings in them. In high school, I wrote a skit that I performed, as a mime, for my theater arts class. The teacher was so taken by it, that she asked me to perform it for the entire high school in an evening event. The skit was set to the song written by the rock band The Who, titled “teenage wasteland.” It was about a girl whose boyfriend broke up with her, and she is so devastated that she decides to do all the drugs she can find. In turmoil and anger she spirals through the pain, she starts the destruction by drinking alcohol, then smokes pot, pops pills, snorts lines, then finally shoots drugs, as she is in a death spin entwined with the music, she becomes the “teenage wasteland.” The boyfriend returns with flowers and knocks repeatedly on the door, she crawls to the door, reaches to the handle and dies. Unknowingly this skit seemed to foretell the destruction just ahead of me.  Ironically, at 15 years old, I was to meet and fall in love with Bernie who was 19. About a month into dating he cried to me that he was no good for me, that he was a drunk, a junkie, a thief, and that he was lost. We loved each other to a flaw, and I should have walked away, but I was hooked on him and I wasn’t going anywhere. We became partners in crime and were inseparable. We had similar abusive backgrounds and we latched onto each other. I became pregnant at 16 years old and dropped out of school. I loved my daughter, no matter what I did, or what I became. She was the cheerful hope that got buried way down inside me, as I went from a recreational drug user to an IV drug user. I quickly spiraled out of control. We got evicted from our apartment and they kept all our stuff, including the liquor box albums, the only thing that really meant anything to me. I remember thinking I was never going to be an alcoholic like my mom. Instead, I became something much worse, a lowlife stuck in a living nightmare.


While my friends were graduating high school, I was graduating to a lost junkie. I wound up at my first detox at 19 years old, this was the first of six facilities. I was going into withdrawal and came up with a great plan to drive out to Trenton, New Jersey and rip off a drug dealer. I went alone, with my craving for drugs thinking for me. I hit the gas when the dealer handed me the drugs, he dove into the car and broke my grip off the steering wheel as I smashed into the back of a parked car. We wrestled for the drugs as I ate them, but they were sealed in tin foil and the body cannot digest tin, so after all that, I wound up sick and went into a detox, then I left against medical advice after 3 days to go get high. Bernie and I hated that we were hurting each other and keeping each other strung out, but we couldn’t stay away from one another. Our lives became more and more criminal and destructive. I took my daughter through all my scamming for drugs because I didn’t want to leave her side, she was the only spark of life left deep inside of me. Even so, l became a monster for the next 6 years. I became everything I never wanted to be. I was physically and mentally enslaved to the drug-world and to finding ways and means to get more. I no longer felt the effects of the drugs, I just wanted to keep the sickness away. I feared withdrawal more than anything. I lost count as to how many times I was locked up, I had a rap sheet a mile long, and the tracks on my arms were just as long from my drug use. A shadow of whom I used to be was chained up deep inside myself, even so, I still wanted out, I just didn’t know how to escape addiction or the destruction I was living.


But even destructive roads have bumps and potholes. It was a cold November day in Chester County in 1990 that my running on high came to an end. I was up to no good, with no car, no home, no money, and was strung out walking on the side of the road with my daughter when the police spotted me. They brought me in to question me about a complaint they believed I might be related to. They called Montgomery County Police for a better description and that was it, the report came that I was wanted in the tristate area on numerous charges. All my scams, stories, and alias’ fell through and I realized that I was going to jail. The police gave me a moment with my daughter. My cold dead heart felt a beat of humanity for my daughter who was crying because they had separated us, I got down on my knees and looked her in the eyes and said, “Bernadette I am so sorry for this life, I told you that someday I was going to get us out of this and today is that day.” Holding her tight my last words to her were, “please be strong and hold on, I love you, I am coming back for you, you hear me? I am coming back.” I revealed my real identity and gave the police my sisters number, so my family, whom I hadn’t seen in years could come to get Bernadette. I was then taken to a transfer point for Montgomery County Sheriffs and they took me to jail.


It was early evening when they processed me into the correctional center, and I knew withdrawal was on its way. I was hoping I could just hold it together to make it past the judge in the morning, then I could go get high and chase the withdrawal away. The next morning, they took me in front of the judge and he began to read the really long list of charges and it was then that I realized I wasn’t going home. Panicking, I quickly thought, “I need to get some drugs somehow” and I came up with this great idea of faking a seizure in the courtroom. I threw myself on the floor and started shaking in front of the entire courtroom. The sheriffs quickly handcuffed me, then turned me on my side, and called an ambulance. When you are a prisoner and are taken to the emergency room, they don’t put you with the public. They put me in this room with the doctor behind a glass wall. The doctor approached the side of the gurney and said, “you’ll be fine, we are going to give you something for the withdrawal,” he administered an IV and went back behind the glass wall. I thought I was about to get some drugs, to ease the physical craving, but instead, my whole body started to freak out. I sat straight up on the bed and screamed, “what kind of crazy sh-- did you give me,” as I went into a violent withdrawal. The sheriffs and police ran to hold me down. I was gnashing my teeth and horribly twisting my entire body from the pain, the sheriff who was near my shoulder thought I tried to bite him and yelled out, “she tried to bite me!” At this time in history, AIDs was an epidemic, no one knew who had it, and people were scared of contracting it. Biting was one of the ways of passing it, so they went into a high alert mode and pushed me down into the gurney to restrain me, they pushed so hard that I thought they were going to break my neck. They continued to press so hard that they broke my boot, then they “four-pointed” me with a strap on each leg and each arm. This was the height of animalistic living for me, I was just a junkie with a number now. Twenty minutes later I could barely lift a finger, I was in such a weakened state from the “drug” that they gave me. Not that it would have mattered, but they forgot to advise me that this “drug” could have side effects. Especially on a junkie already in withdrawal, being that it eats all of the drugs out of your system and leaves you half dead. But that didn’t matter, I was a prisoner, off I went back to prison in a wheelchair.


The next day they took me back to the courthouse and put me in a holding cell.  All I could think about was how bad I wanted to get high and how could I get out of there. So I came up with a plan. Back then when they took you to court from jail they put you back into your street clothes. So I devised this escape plan, I would call the sheriff back to light my cigarette, and when he turned to walk away from lighting my cigarette, I would flip my belt into the door jam and just walk right out of the place. So I call the sheriff back to the cell, he lights my cigarette and turns and walks away, I flip my belt perfectly into the door jam and when I try to push my belt just slides out. Anxious to escape I go on to the next plan, I start looking at walls and the ceilings and I notice that in the bathroom there is a rim around the light. So, I climb up on the toilet wedge my belt under the light fixture thinking I’m brilliant and that I can escape through the ductwork, never thinking the sheriffs might shoot me in process. I didn’t care, I just wanted to get high. I could see space behind the light as I was pulling down, sawdust was falling everywhere. I heard the sheriffs coming and jumped down and acted like I was not doing anything. They took me to a courtroom with the same judge, and that judge saw right through me. I was a mess, my clothes were sloppy, my boot was broken, my hair was unbrushed, and I am sure that I had sawdust all over me. The judge read my charges, ordered me held until my court date, and stipulated me to Eagleville Hospital treatment center. Leaving the courthouse, I had one more senseless escape plan. Even though my hands and feet were in shackles, I thought that when they were transporting me back to the prison I could drop to the ground and roll under one of the buses, flip my coat over my chained hands and hitchhike to Philly and get high. Somewhere in that walk of shame, sense came to me. It might have had something to do with the seven or so sheriffs around me, but I got in the van without incident.


I suppose it was a couple weeks later when the guards loaded me up and took me to Eagleville Hospital. On arrival, a guard opened the van door, closed it behind me, then got back in the van and left. Standing there in shock for a moment I realize they just left me standing there penniless, with the clothes on my back, and my broken boot. The next thought I had was, “I can go get high.” I don’t know if it was the fact that I had a couple weeks clean, but another thought entered my mind, I could just walk through the doors in front of me. I had no idea what was on the other side of them because I never made it through any of the detoxes or rehabilitation centers I had gone to. Looking out towards the road I knew that the horrors on the streets of Philly would always be there. I was at a crossroad of worlds and through the grace of God, I walked through the doors and started the road of recovery.


Eagleville Hospital processed me into their facility and assigned me a room to share with another person. The room had its own bathroom, with clean sheets, and towels. They also gave me a voucher for clothing and shoes. They had a dining room that had breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks. They took me to meetings with people like me, and educated me about the disease of addiction, as well as gave me medical treatment and dental care. They wowed me. I had no idea people cared like this. Then they introduced me to therapies. One on one therapy was nice, a therapist would discuss issues and offer solutions, but group therapy was the clincher. In group therapy, the counselors would come into the room where we were all seated in a giant circle, and we all would discuss matters at a group level. I noticed that they seemed to pick someone and pull them out of their shell. So I learned to co-operate and not stand out. However, one day the feelings counselor, Sandy, came in, sat down and started looking around the room. We were all nervous when she did this, and today she stopped at me. I was sitting there looking at the group through my long head of hair. You could not see me looking at you, because my hair covered my face and my eyes. “Veronica,” Sandy says, in a slow, sneaky clear voice, “let’s talk to Veronica. Veronica, I don’t know where it happened, when it happened, or why it happened, but somewhere, somehow, somebody told you it wasn’t okay to think.” Her words were like a punch to the stomach that knocked me right back to my childhood, to being abused and humiliated in front of my family. I tensed up, not knowing how to respond, then she calmly said, “here is what we are going to do with you, we want you to wear your hair pulled back from now on, and we are giving you a clothes voucher for dresses, that you will wear.” I thought to myself, that wasn’t so bad, I can do that.


Back in my room, I pulled my hair into a ponytail and instantly felt exposed, like people could see me, my expressions, and I could see them. I couldn’t hide behind my hair anymore. I got a couple of proper dresses and they made me feel professional, even though I never had a real job. The dresses made me feel intelligent and pretty. I went to the next group with my head up, sitting up straight, and smiling. Sandy came in started around the room and stopped again at me, her intent was to pull me the rest of the way out of my shell. She asks, “So Veronica, what’s going on?” and I tell her. She looks seriously at me and says, “from now till you leave, you are this groups leader.” I shuttered inside and thought no way, this is everything I don’t want to do, I don’t want to tell people what to do, or pull them up on behaviors. I don’t know how to talk them down from wanting to use or leave or how to be there for them, let alone listen to them and care about them. I’m not a leader, but I did what they told me to do. The facility pulled me out of my shell, being group leader helped me to speak up and helped me to stand up and be a productive team member. I found my voice being part of a group. But no matter how good a person is doing, life on life’s terms happens and a shell is easy to crawl back into.


I was called into the office and I knew something was wrong as soon as I walked in because the staff and Sandy were in there. They told me to sit down and stay calm, Sandy rested her hand on my shoulder and said, “Veronica, remember we are here for you.” All I heard echoing after that was, Bernie was dead. Bernie who was my other half and my chaotic partner in crime that I loved, was found dead in the streets of Philadelphia. He laid ten days in the city morgue as a John Doe before his father found him. My mind exploded with a grief I had never felt, I hadn’t cried in years, I collapsed there in the office into a pool of sorrow, somehow these people held onto me. Arrangements were made for me to attend the funeral, my sister picked me up and took me to the service in Bristol, Pennsylvania. In Bucks County, the place I considered to be my home, I had burnt all my bridges and was not welcomed anywhere. I was a disgrace with a bad reputation of a junkie gone wild. I wasn’t there to repair anything, I just wanted to say goodbye to the man I loved. I walked into that funeral home with my sister, but the rehab was my mental support. I had my hair pulled back in that damn ponytail and wore that damn dress that made me feel like I mattered and I walked right through that room full of people. People actually moved, and no one said a word. I could see the casket and my body went cold and my mind went blank. I headed straight to Bernie, seeing him laid-out there made my emotions take over. I just wanted to be close to him, to hold him, I laid my entire upper body as far into the casket as I could. No one dared approach me. Being locked up, I didn’t get to assist with any funeral preparations or get any special time with him, people saw Bernie and my last moments. Who knows, it was a sad funeral, maybe they needed to see love. I stared at him, as deeply as I possibly could, as my mind mapped every last detail of his face to store in my memory. I touched his hair, his eyes, his mouth, his mustache and I smiled at the snake earing dangling down from his ear. He didn’t feel cold to me, it mirrored how I felt inside without him. It was a treasure to have this last moment to say, “I love you Bernie. You no longer have to struggle in this world, and I will stay clean for both of us.” I stood there a little longer and turned to leave, I suppose I hugged a few people, I really don’t remember. What I remembered was my word that I gave Bernie. I went back to the rehab, and I completed the program.


But love wasn’t going to be enough to steer me straight. On the day that I was to graduate rehab, Sandy and I spoke, I told her I was scared and that didn’t trust myself, and she told me that all I needed to do was make it to the meetings and keep going to them, no matter what happened. When I left that facility I entered into a transition. It was up to me now, I was a diamond in the rough, I didn't know who the hell I was. I knew what I wanted I just didn't have the trust or the confidence in myself that I could do it. But I did have a desire to live differently, and the desire was all I needed to start the refining process of recovery. My aftercare plan was to live with the brother that I was close with, go to meetings, and find employment. Later that same day, in Croydon, Bucks County, I walked into my first meeting and said, “Hi, I am a drug addict with a desire not to drink,” that’s what Sandy told me to say. She said that I fit in just about any program because I went to so many extremes, she meant any program except the one I went to.  “Welcome to Al-anon” they said, after the meeting the members graciously told me where a 12-step meeting was that would be a better fit. The next day my brother dropped me off at 4242 Bensalem Boulevard. This place looked like someone's house. I walked in and looked around in disbelief, the living room had sofas, loveseats, overstuffed chairs, and folding chairs all around the perimeter of the room. I wasn’t sure what to think. I could smell coffee coming from another room, there was one or two people standing around, so I just sat down. Within 15 minutes the room was completely full and just kept overflowing, people were stuffed everywhere. They were sitting on the floor, lined up all the way out the door onto the porch. They wowed me. I was a bit nervous that there would be someone there that I had ripped off, but that fear left when the meeting took a 10-minute break. I had gone outside to smoke a cigarette, I was staring straight at the ground, when this lady walked up to me and said, “Hi, how ya doing, my name is Dorothy. Are you new?” I said, “yeah, I just got out of rehab and they told me to make meetings and get a sponsor.” Dorothy said, “yeah that’s right, we’ll give you a meeting list and phone numbers to call, ’dial them, don’t file them.’” We talked and she told me what drug she did, and I blurted out, “will you sponsor me?” she laughed and said “yes.” I had no idea what a sponsor really was, but Sandy said that’s what I needed to do to recover, so that’s what I did. I was attending meetings, but I was still in transition and I ended up relapsing. I went back to the meeting and told them. They told me, to “keep coming back,” and that I needed to get a sponsor that I would work with.  The next 12-step meeting I went to, I noticed this tall woman who walked in with bleach blond hair, wearing hot pink spandex, with her head up with confidence and recovery. When she walked past me her long chain of recovery key tags jingled and caught my eye. I wanted what she had, I was attracted to the air around her. You see, I was either a stone-cold junkie or good school girl with hands folded. I didn’t know who the hell I was, but I was making the effort to help myself. Interestingly, I had been using that phone list from the meetings and I had been talking to some lady on the phone for a few weeks, but I hadn’t met her. When the meeting paused for break I approached this lady, introduced myself and told her that I was new and that I had relapsed, she said “what did you say your name was?” I said, “Veronica,” she started laughing and said, “I’ve been talking to a Veronica on the phone, it’s me, Pam.” We definitely connected, I asked her to sponsor me, and she said yes. She invited me to her home and fed me a tuna fish sandwich, and said, “the first time you are a guest the next time you get everything yourself.” Her house was a haven for addicts and there was always recovery drama, or something going on, which was exactly what I needed.


However, I was still grieving Bernie and struggling with the obsession to get high even though I was attending meetings. One day I got caught in the obsession and compulsion and I decided I didn’t want to live in this rat-race without Bernie. I was mad at him for leaving me here, so I took the El train to North Philly to buy the same drugs that took Bernie out. I fell out in the streets of Philadelphia and junkies walked me around till I came to. Frustrated I bought more drugs and went home. The next morning, June 7th, 1991, Mike, a friend from rehab stopped by to take me to a meeting. I lied and said I was going to take a shower and did my last dose in the bathroom and fell out. This is where you know God has a plan and you are not always in on it. At that precise moment, the phone rang and Mike, my rehab friend answered it. It was my daughter needing to talk to her mother. Mike was already suspicious and knocked on the door when I didn’t answer he broke the door down and I laid there dead with a needle hanging out of my arm. Mike panicked and called Steve, another addict from the program, who lived right down the street and then he called the 911. Steve and Mike tried frantically to revive me, they said that my eyes were wide open, I wasn’t breathing and had no heartbeat. I had an experience that day that I hold sacred with my Higher Power, but no matter how sacred that experience, it didn’t change the fact that I had to pick a road to walk. The paramedics administered that same crazy drug that eats all the drugs out of your body and revived me. The first thing I did was yell, “get the f--- out, I didn’t use!” Denial in its finest form. The paramedics took me to the emergency room and I left against medical advice. My brother was upset with me about the overdose and really didn’t know what to do for me. He said, “Ronnie, I don’t want you to die, but you can’t do this in my home again.”


Later that night feeling totally lost, I walked past the window and over-heard Steve sternly tell Mike, “Veronica’s my sister in recovery. Back off and let her recover,” and then he said for him to get with the men the program. Mike and I were friends, but both of us had relapsed. Steve had time in the program and was looking out for us, the newcomers, to help us stay clean. He called me his sister, his words reached me emotionally, and I really needed them because I was disconnected and I felt like a hopeless piece of shit. When Steve got done with Mike, he came into my brother’s place and got a hold of me in the living room and as he pointed his finger in a pissed off manner in my face he said, “Veronica you were dead! Not everyone gets a second chance, you’re a f---en miracle, you better listen to me really good here, I’m telling you if you don’t use your sponsor, work the steps, attend meetings, and hang out with recovering people you are going to use within the next five days and be back in the streets living that same junkie lifestyle.” His words scared the crap out me and gave me exactly what I needed, the cold hard truth with love from the heart of another addict. His words kicked me out of transition and into full-blown recovery. I moved in with my sponsor and grabbed hold of the12-step program and held on for dear life. With the guidance of my Higher Power and people, the days turned to weeks, to months, and to years. I experienced deep-rooted care from friends, sponsorship, working the steps, and giving back what was given to me. The 12-step program taught me how to deal with a multitude of problems, and taught me to stay clean for me. They helped me put Bernie’s death into a better perspective that gave me the strength to live. Staying clean and sober I was able to get my daughter back from family and I became employable. The continuous care from people taught me to express myself, which helped opened my mind and my heart to getting married, raising my daughters, and guided me to recapture personal dreams.


The respect and love I had for recovery fanned my creativity to write again. In the late 90's I was to begin writing a book series inspired by my Higher Power for all people who are hurting, hard-headed, or too busy, like me. I also founded a televised recovery meeting and had the opportunity to host this meeting that was for all people struggling with issues, that aired on the public access channel in Bucks County, Pennsylvania from 2003-2006. I will be honest and tell you that harsh things can happen in recovery as well. In 2010, I faced a major life set-back when my head was smashed by a dump trailer door, leaving me with five titanium plates in my face and brain damage that contributed to the loss of our trucking company, which left our family in complete financial ruin. I am so thankful that recovery is there whether I am broke or doing well. Recovery from this accident lead to a college degree and the manifestation of the recovery book series that continues to be my life's work.


For over 27 years I have been clean, sober, and have dealt effectively with life stressors. I am still holding on to the best thing that ever happened to me, the gift of recovery. Life on life’s terms has occurred throughout the years and the solution is still the same as when Sandy, Steve, Dorothy, Pam, and so many others taught me years ago. They showed me by example that come hell or high water we choose to work a program of recovery, whatever program that is, and we face whatever comes down the pike. I could never tell you how thankful I am that I chose to walk through that door at Eagleville and start the road of recovery instead of going to Philly, to get high -just one more time. Each day there is still a crossroad for us! One road leads to the horrors of addiction in the streets, on the other road is the door that we don’t know what is on the other side of. Each day we have to choose to walk through it. No one is saying recovery is easy, sometimes it’s extremely difficult, but it is always better than the living hell of active addiction!


It is my hope that sharing my recovery story and my recovery book series will open the door to any person struggling in life. It is also my hope that anyone can see that I am an ordinary person and that if I can do it, so can they!


In closing, I leave you with this, we are all diamonds in the rough being refined in some way. No matter what economic class we are from, no matter what gender, culture, race, or beliefs you hold, at this moment we are all human beings. So rememeber -Whatever has come down the pike in your life, as long as you are still breathing, you can still choose a road of recovery. So choose it, right now!



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