Drug-Free for Good Award Recipient and Narconon Suncoast Graduate Celebrates 1 year of a Drug-Free Life!

Amy H.—Narconon Suncoast Graduate
Amy receives Drug-Free for Good Award from Narconon Suncoast.

My struggle with drug addiction began when I was 32. I had a medical condition that required me to have surgery on my brain. As a result, I was placed on multiple narcotics, even before the surgery. My specialist started to pull me off my medication and that is when I turned to the streets to get what I was missing. After my surgery, it took me 7.5 months to learn how to walk and I knew I was at a place to stop using. I allowed my parents to control all my medication at this time. Over time I was able to get clean. I had been sober for 4.5 years when I relapsed. This relapse took control of my life in the blink of an eye. I left my two boys with my parents so I could go run the streets. My parents lost respect and all the trust I had gotten back was gone. I didn’t care about anyone or anything other than my next high. I knew my addiction had control over me when I looked in the mirror and all I saw was an empty, broken person. I was no longer the loving, smiling, happy, caring person I knew I was. My addiction consumed my entire being.

“... I got a knock on my door. It was a detective. He had pulled a blood test from the hospital and had been following me for some time. I was looking at my very first felony...”

On February 08, 2021, I got a knock on my door. It was a detective. He had pulled a blood test from the hospital and had been following me for some time. I was looking at my very first felony. He was about to charge me with felony possession of fentanyl, methamphetamine, and cocaine. I begged and asked him to help me get the help I knew I not only needed but desperately wanted. He told me I had 2 hours to get packed and to find a rehab. This detective didn't leave until I found a place that was going to take me. That was the day my life changed forever.

I found a rehab in my home state of Ohio. There they were able to get me off all the street drugs, however, they kept me on suboxone, along with all my other medication. I was probably 1.5 weeks away from completing my program when the director came to me and asked me what I was going to do next. I was scared at this point. I knew in my heart that if they let me out the doors after only 30 days, I was going to die. My boys would lose their mom and my parents their daughter.

That’s when I started searching for a more complete program to continue to get help. That is when I found my Narconon family. We would talk daily to make sure I knew what type of program Narconon offered. I will be 100 percent honest; I was skeptical at first and didn’t understand how all this would work. All I did know was that I wanted to continue with my sobriety and would do whatever I had to do to keep going.

I left for Florida on a Monday morning, that was when I no longer had to live in fear. I knew where I wanted to be and what I was going to have to do to get there. That was to work hard and keep my sobriety goal as the light. Was I scared? Yes! Change is uncomfortable, but it wasn’t anything that I couldn’t handle. I had hit rock bottom and the only way to go was up.

While on my journey at Narconon, I struggled at first. I wanted to give up within the first 4 days of being here. Once I started to let my guard down and realized the staff was here to help me, it changed my perspective. I wanted to get up every day to see the staff. I looked forward to doing the drills to help me stay in the present. I finally learned that I just needed to let go and trust the process. The process works!

It wasn’t until I was in the sauna that things really started to click. I was learning it was ok, it was ok to be still and just be present in the moment. I remember after the sauna one time I was having a rough day. It had been a difficult day. It was raining outside and for the first time in a long time, I could smell the rain. I could smell the freshness in the air. I realized for myself it was working. Everybody could see it, but at that given moment I personally felt it.

While I was on Objectives, I was learning new things every day. I learned how to confront the problem, own the problem, and let it go. It was here that I confronted the troubles that played a role in my addiction. However, it was here at this given point that I was finally able to let go. I held on to a lot of pain, hurt, and hate. But I also still had a lot of love. All that pain, hurt and hate I let that go. I realized my past was over and there is nothing I can do to change what I have done.

When the staff and I began to talk about my graduation, fear began to set in. You see, here at Narconon I was safe. I didn’t have to worry about the “real” world so to speak. I was protected. Yes, I learned how to confront my problems and situations and then move on. Would I be able to do that outside of here though? The work started here, but the real challenge and work didn’t start until my plane touched down in Ohio. The real challenges would start when I got home and began to regain my freedom. The real work started when I would go back home with my youngest son.

My biggest and toughest challenge that I have faced thus far was when my oldest son deployed. I messed up so much with my boys during active addiction that I wanted and still want to make them proud of me. While he was deployed, I struggled. Some days were worse than others. But what I did was confronted it. Yea, today was hard, let me write about it. Putting my thoughts on paper helped me. Being able to reach out to my mom and dad helped me. I was scared my parents were going to be disappointed in me, but they weren’t. They simply said you’re having a rough day Amy, it’s ok. Let’s talk about it. I had to learn to be ok with my feelings. It was ok to cry on hard days. But hard days don’t last forever. What is not ok for me was to let those bad days outweigh the good. My good days were and are far greater. I have been able to spend time with my boys by going on trips. My relationship with my parents is amazing. We can sit and enjoy each other’s company. The fighting is something of the past. I know the love my parents have for me is unconditional. They could have given up on me and wrote me off, but they didn’t. While I was here at Narconon working on me, my family had their own struggles they had to work out. My family didn’t walk away from me, instead they have fought this battle with me.

Amy H.—Narconon Suncoast Graduate
Amy shares her story at the Narconon 56th Anniversary Event.

On February 8th, 2022, I was blessed to celebrate my 1 year of sobriety. My family and friends all sent their blessings. There were a couple of special ones though. My oldest son and I have grown close in this journey. He showed up at my house with a surprise and asked me to close my eyes, I opened them, and he was presenting me with his very first uniform shirt from the Army that he had outgrown, along with his dog tags. He gave me the biggest hug and told me he wanted me to have something that he worked so hard for. He knows that I have been working hard and staying focused, that I deserved this special part of him. My youngest completed an art project with a letter that said I am so proud of how far you have come. All you needed was a little hope. They may not realize it, but they have helped save me. My boys finally have their mom back. My parents have their daughter back. As far as I go, I finally love myself again. I am currently working full time and going to school for addiction recovery counseling.

Nobody’s story is the same and everybody’s recovery is different. I promise you every ounce of pain I have felt, all the tears I have cried, and the struggle I have faced have been worth it. I will never let my past define who I am.

“To anyone who may be struggling or in need of help, never forget that while this is your fight, you are not fighting it alone. Recovery is a beautiful thing. The rearview mirror is small for a reason. Let it go!”

To anyone who may be struggling or in need of help, never forget that while this is your fight, you are not fighting it alone. Recovery is a beautiful thing. The rearview mirror is small for a reason. Let it go! Your future is bright, and you can do this! Moment by moment you can overcome anything. Keep pushing and never forget you are worth it!

Amy H, Narconon Suncoast Graduate



Justin has been working in the field of addiction and recovery for over 1 year. Justin earned his Bachelors's Degree in Finance from Florida State University. Having been an addict himself, he brings real-world experience to the table when helping addicts and their families, while also offering a first-person perspective to the current drug crisis. Justin is passionate about educating the public about what’s currently going on in our society, and thankfully, offers practical solutions.