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By the time I was 25, my addiction to pain killers had taken over my life. My mom said I couldn’t stay at home anymore. We lived in Michigan. She had friends in Florida who said they’d give me a job and place to stay. I moved down and started working in their business. I thought a new place would help. We all thought that.

It wasn’t long before I was smoking pot with the son of the people I lived with. It was easy to find the drugs, and after several months of using more and more, I lost my job and place to live.

I had been living on the streets for about three months when my dealer said I was too young for this. He knew about the ARC and drove me to their door. At least it would be a dry bed to sleep in. I was admitted to the program.

It was a real adjustment at first but I settled in after a while. I completed the program and was even recognized one month for the progress and changes I’d made.

Time was coming up for the annual retreat. I was so excited and was going to be part of the three-man basketball team. I’d been hired as forklift driver, but would be allowed to take off for the retreat. I decided to work my regular day off so I could go. That was the day my life would be altered in ways I could never imagine.

One of the forks on the forklift ran into my leg. It opened my leg up to the bone. I laid in extreme pain waiting for the ambulance. When I got to the hospital the ER doctor said he’d do his best to save my leg. I didn’t even know if I’d have one when I woke up from surgery.

That was in May of 2011. In the 14 months since, I’ve had 15 surgeries. I had to have a skin graft, which was more painful than I ever would have thought.

I’ve been back at work for a while, but am still seeing the doctors to make sure it’s healing. Because my addiction was to pain pills, it made my recovery even more challenging. My doctors were aware of my addiction and helped me in every way they could.

 Through all of this, God has given me the best. The Chief of Surgery was on duty at the hospital and operated on my leg. The plastic surgeon I had was also top rated. My hospital room was always full of visitors. It hasn’t been easy. I’ve wanted to run many times because of the pain or depression from all the surgeries. But I’ve worked hard for my recovery and there are too many people pulling for me.

I am thankful for the program of the ARC and the people there who have loved me unconditionally.