“Before you can break out of prison, you must realize you are locked up.” –Unknown
Since the beginning of my recovery, this quote has stood out to me. For the longest time I was weighed down by my addiction. It had me in shackles and chains and I was truly convinced it was the life I was supposed to live. I grew up in the world of addiction, so I never knew there was another side. I believed and was okay with living.
Before I went to prison at the age of 19, I had already been in the prison of my own mind since I was 12 years old. Going in and out of group homes and being incarcerated was normal for me. Every day I was in addiction was only downhill. There was not room for improvement while I was poisoning my body and mind. I had to realize where I was at before I even thought about a “better life.”
One day after living in hell for eight years, I had an awakening while I was incarcerated; this was the first time I had been freed from my addiction. At first it wasn’t by choice but as time went by I noticed my skin looking brighter, my shoulders feeling lighter, and my mind feeling clearer. After talking with others and learning more about recovery I had hope that I was capable of living a good, healthy life. I fought for it hard and did not give up. Still today, I wake up and choose to not let my addiction take over; my God and I run my life today. I will not return to the prison of addiction, or an actual prison ever again.
It’s never too late, no matter where you are, how old you are, or any given circumstances. Breaking free from addiction is possible – I am living proof. I encourage everyone to be the change and end the vicious cycle. You can do it!
Katelyn is a peer support specialist in North Carolina, and has been in recovery since 2019. She says she has the best job, because being able to support others in early recovery supports her continued recovery. She says, “Being able to understand where they are at, and how they feel means a lot to them and myself as well,” and she notes it is a humbling experience.