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My drug use started when I was 12 or 13. Smoking pot, drinking, taking pills, stuff like that. When I got out of high school I quickly developed a daily cocaine habit. That caused me to have two strokes in 2002. Due to the strokes, I was prescribed opiates for pain. That was how I became addicted to opiates.

In 2006, I reached a point where pain pills were too expensive, so I went to heroin. It was cheaper and easier to get. In 2008, I was charged with felony drug possession in Hamilton County.  As a result of that, I was put in Hamilton County’s Drug Court, a program that helped save my life. I didn’t successfully complete it the first time. I was in the program for close to 2.5 years. It took me some time to get it. But once I did get it, it was awesome. I still visit Judge Kim Burke, who sentenced me, to show her what a difference Drug Court made in my life.

After I graduated Drug Court, I found a group called Clermont County Solace, which is a support group for family members who have lost a loved one to addiction. With the help of Solace, and the encouragement and support of other individuals and groups in the community, I began to feel the passion of helping others work toward their own sobriety. 

It is empowering to help other people get to where I am, and it is a huge part of what keeps me going and lends strength to my sobriety.

What are you doing to maintain your recovery?
I have to work my recovery every day. The accountability, the structure, the support. Support is the biggest thing to me. Whether your support is church, AA, or just coffee with the girls. Whatever that support is, it’s essential for anyone to maintain recovery.

Just like everyone else, I still face difficult things in my life. So, I still have to reach out for help and support from my network. I really did think that when I was sent to treatment, when she hit that gavel down, everything would be perfect. I was really, really wrong. You still have to deal with life on life’s terms, even when you're sober!

What is your message to others?
My message would be to just keep trying, keep working. If you put as much into your recovery as you did your active use, you will be successful. It doesn’t always work the first time, but it is always worth the effort.

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Rhonda has been sober for 6 years.
Rhonda, 38, lives in Amelia. She grew up in Hillsboro, Ohio, and is currently a peer support specialist and recovery coach at Clermont Recovery Center.

RHONDA - THIS IS HER STORY