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Updated: May 18, 2022

Hello! My name is Heidi, I'm a woman in long term recovery. What that means to me is that I have the freedom to participate in my life today. I get to live authentically, I understand, and have integrity. I think about the cause and effect of my actions and use that to influence my choices. I no longer allow substance use to control my life or cause harm to myself and those I care about. I have implemented coping skills that have taught me how to regulate my emotions and handle life on life's terms. I love myself and am truly happy in life today. I had my first drink of alcohol when I was 15. By age 18 it progressively went from every other weekend, to every evening, and quickl,y to all day, every day. I became dependent on alcohol, I needed it. In constant survival mode throughout the next 12 years, it became my number one focus. After many criminal charges, losing my license and several jobs, years of violence and living on the streets, loss of family members, losing my parental rights and getting out of jail for the last time. I found myself alone with nowhere to go, no one to turn to, and nothing but the clothes I was released in. I was desperate for change. I had gotten some treatment for the first time ever and was able to stay sober for 9 months prior to being unsuccessfully terminated from the drug court program, so l knew I was capable of recovery. I decided to run a program of my own. I started to make better choices in my life, one at a time. I kept myself busy by working 72 hours a week, attending support meetings daily, appointments with my recovery coach and therapist weekly, and surrounding myself with healthy connections who are also in recovery. I went from walking on a broken foot and living in a tent to riding a bike and living in an RV. After regaining my license, I moved to a motel room and eventually bought a new car and moved into my own house. Today I'm blessed to be able to give back to the community, work toward rebuilding and maintaining healthy relationships, and have found purpose and meaning in my life. I wouldn't be where I'm at today without my recovery and those who never gave up on me. I thank God for giving me another chance at life. The opposite of addiction truly is connection! Together, we are stronger.

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Cathy Coates
Cathy Coates
May 26, 2022

I love you Heidi! You are a wonderful person and I truly wish that we had been able to stay in touch! I am SO VERY PROUD of YOU! And you Mom would be also! Always know that you are loved! And you look incredible! Very beautiful!

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