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Voices for Recovery

Tonya Wheeler (06/30/2009)

Tonya Wheeler Voice

Denver, CO
President of Advocates for Recovery, Colorado

I’m a person in long-term recovery and have not used drugs or alcohol in more than 18 years. As a result of my long-term recovery, I have an amazing relationship with my family and community, and I get the honor of sharing my story with others to show the reality of recovery.
I began using drugs and alcohol at age 12, and by 18 my addiction had progressed to daily use. The consequences of my addiction, which included legal problems, being estranged from my family, and loss of custody of my daughter began shortly after I started using drugs. The internal consequences of my addiction were worse than the external, including my loss of self-esteem, the inability to feel emotions, lack of personal integrity, and the loss of who I was prior to my addiction.

To my surprise, when I was ready for help, I was turned away from treatment due to lack of insurance coverage. I reached out to my parents who, thankfully, were able to help me enter treatment. There, I began to attend 12-step meetings and learned about the necessity of support from others who had lived in addiction too and have recovery today.

Recovery has not always been easy, but it was always worth it! For the last 18 years, I have continued to attend meetings and have the support of others who are in recovery. I am so grateful for the work I get to do in my community – I get to share the message of miracles that happen in recovery. Today, my life is amazing and I know recovery is a possibility for all!

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