Ohioans recount journey from drug addiction to sobriety – News – The Columbus Dispatch

Taylor Hunt’s low point came in a drug “trap house,” the sleeves of his white shirt stained with blood from repeated heroin injections.

Adena Pennington felt worthless sitting in a courtroom hearing a prosecutor describe her as “a lost cause” at age 30.

Alex Kiseloff just got tired of being a junkie. “Every night, I didn’t want to wake up the next day. I got sick and tired of being sick and tired.”

Hunt, Kiseloff and Pennington hit rock bottom after years of addiction to heroin, but they didn’t stay there. The three central Ohioans are in recovery from life-or-death battles with drugs that robbed them of jobs, homes, friends, family members and their dignity.

But they held onto one thing: hope.

“There are hundreds of thousands of people in this country who are in long-term recovery,” said Cheri Walter, executive director of the Ohio Association of County Behavioral Health Authorities. “It’s not all gloom and doom. It’s possible for people to become active, contributing members of society.”

“The single-biggest thing is people have to have hope about getting better. We have to give people hope.”

Recovery is not easy because heroin is relentless. It’s among the hardest drugs to kick, often requiring up to seven stints in rehab before it’s in the rearview mirror.

Treatment experts and people in recovery say there are many paths to kicking the drug habit. Some rely on a traditional 12-step abstinence program, while others use counseling supplemented by medication, faith-based approaches, yoga, art and peer support.

But long-term support is a necessity.

“If we don’t get (long-term) help to people, we’re going to pay for them through recovery, we’re going to have to pay for them through the court system and every sort of societal ill imaginable,” said state Rep. Ryan Smith, R-Bidwell, who has helped lead the fight to add money for long-term recovery to the…

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