When she was younger, Claire spent time with the neighborhood kids, building Halloween haunted woods and playing shadow tag. She played sports and won medals during figure skating competitions. She was a talented artist and had a wicked sense of humor. But Claire knew she was different. She was angry and sad, but had no idea why.
When weed, cocaine, heroin and meth took over she became lost. She disappeared for days, lost her old friends and got arrested. She also hated that life.
In early 2017, Claire wrote in her journal “God, please take this sadness away. I am trying to do the right thing and remove the negative people from my life. I want things to change for the good. I want me to change. I just need a kick start. May you guide me and assure that everything I say and do is sincere and passionate. I want a life. A long and pleasurable one. But I want to fix whatever is wrong with me. Please help me see the light.”
Claire’s salvation came when she entered a long term program; detox, 28-day, and a months-long aftercare program. She had a community she could trust. New, sober friends and a strong support system. She had a job and was saving money. She became the Claire she knew she could be and began to repair the relationships she’d left behind so long ago. She was sober for 7 months; the longest in years. But it was not to continue. Without warning, the aftercare program closed. She and her tight-knit community found themselves scrambling for places to live. They split up within a matter of a few weeks.
Without that community Claire struggled. The sobriety she rocked just a few weeks earlier came to an end and she began to use alcohol and drugs. Within 2 weeks, she was dead of a fentanyl overdose; one day after her 22nd birthday.
Sobriety relies on connection, friendship, accountability and support. Long-term support has been shown to increase recovery success. Providing recovering addicts with a safe place to live and work, with rules and structure, is necessary. Self-care regimens, counseling and regular health screening along with their demonstrated desire to be free of substances fights the battle of substance use disorder.
Claire had the formula for success. It was working, but the solution wasn’t in place long enough. Please support recovery activities for young women like Claire. These women can enrich your communities and your lives with their love and laughter, if they are given the chance.