Updated: May 18, 2022
My name is Lanette Denton. I am a person in long-term recovery, and what that means to me today is that I am dedicated to making my life my best life. I no longer need to put substances in my body to feel normal. Today I am able to be present, not only for my life but those that are important to me as well. When I say that I am going to do something, today I follow through. I am able to set goals and achieve them. I pay my bills on time. I have a bucket list of dreams, and today I am an image of hope that we can and do recover.
I haven't always been able to say these things about myself or my life. Eight short years ago, my life looked a lot different than it does today. That's because I used to struggle with substance use disorder, and I have on and off for most of my life. Everything that I mentioned that is my life is now was always and only the complete opposite. I knew no different. What started out as an innocent curiosity ended up being some of the darkest and most helpless years of my life, sucking the soul completely out of me.
My addiction started at a really young age. I was part of the era that would rub alcohol on your gums when you were teething as an infant, or if you got caught trying a cigarette you would have to sit at the table and snow pack after pack until you threw up and learned your lesson (all that really did was make me a professional ring blower, LOL). I grew up in a time that drinking was encouraged and cigarettes were sold from a vending machine, like a soda. The dangers of addiction weren't known back then. Man was this going to be learned the hard way in the years to come, not just for myself but for the entire world as a whole.
My addiction was a family addiction, everyone suffered. My kids suffered, my parents suffered, my siblings suffered, all of us. No one was immune to its destruction, NO ONE! I remember thinking that I was going to die for my addiction. I also remember thinking that if I couldn't stop, then death would be the better option. I couldn't imagine my life sober. I couldn't imagine having to go a day without using. I couldn't imagine not having withdrawal symptoms, or it consuming my every thought. I couldn't imagine my future. I could not see past the survival moment that I was always in, that was my life, I just couldn't. Ahhhhh, but today, today I can.
Eight years ago, in the darkest depths of my addiction, I heard a saying and that saying was, “You can sit around for the rest of your life waiting for someone to save you, or you can go ahead and save yourself, and I will be right here with you along the way.” That was the most empowering statement that I have ever heard, and it was in that moment that I started asking for help. I started showing up. I started listening to what others before me had to say. I started doing things differently, and my life started to change. Recovery has not always been easy. I have had many years of damage to rebuild and unlearn but it has always been worth it.
Today I get to support others in their journey of recovery, and I get to meet them where they are at no matter what stage they are in. Today I get to be part of the solution in my community, and I get to show up and make a difference. Today I get to lead by example and have integrity with my word. Today I get to be one of the 20 million Americans that are living a life of recovery. Recovery is not rare. Recovery is not random. Recovery is possible. Today I get to be HOPE!!!