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Voices for Recovery

Whitney O'Neill (08/15/2011)

My life truly began in June 2005, when I finally broke through to the side of recovery. I had no idea recovery would give me the life that I couldn't even conceive for myself. In recovery, I gained back my physical strength, mental capacity, and spiritual well-being.

I badly needed this, because my addiction had hit me hard and fast. I went from being an excelling student and athlete from a good family to being broken, homeless, starving, and suffering from a potentially fatal liver disease. When I entered a treatment center at age 25, I didn't know what year it was or how old I was. My family had suffered greatly from the sidelines with no tools to help me.

The help I so badly needed arrived when I was arrested for being under the influence. In California, a program called Proposition 36 instituted treatment instead of jail time. Rather than serving 90 days in jail, I was offered residential treatment. Since that day, I have lived alcohol and drug free.

I was introduced to the 12-step program, which taught me how to embrace life in a way that I had never been able to before. I became active in politics and my community. I even landed a job with a top firm in Los Angeles. I now work in Washington, DC, in recovery advocacy. The biggest gift of all has been motherhood. My newborn son is nothing short of a miracle, and his father and I have built a true family. My recovery has taught me that no life is disposable and everyone deserves the hope of recovery.

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