A Recovery of Self
September 24, 2012 was the beginning of the rest of Monica St Maur’s life.
It was on this day she realized the toll her 15 year addiction to crack cocaine was taking on her life.
“I pictured my family at my funeral. I didn’t want that. I wanted to stop. I was homeless because of my addiction. My boyfriend at the time died of an overdose. I didn’t have a relationship with my son. I was scared,” recalls Monica.
Monica’s struggles started at a young age. Her father was an alcoholic. She lived in a dysfunctional household – a “party house” - where drinking and smoking was acceptable. Additionally, Monica suffers depression, bi-polar disorder and has a heart defect that has led to several surgeries and hospital stays throughout her life.
The challenges seemed unsurmountable.
“I feel like my whole life I’ve been struggling just to get to the point that I do have worth and value. I never felt that way growing up. It’s been a recovery of self in a lot of ways.”
Before Monica got hooked on crack, she smoked marijuana daily.
“There were many years where I just didn’t care what happened to me. I was in a lot of dangerous environments. But when you’re caught up in the drug, you just don’t care,” reflects Monica.
After years of seeking sobriety, several stays in rehab, and relapse Monica was able to get and stay clean on September 24, 2012.
Monica was feeling strong throughout the first four years of her recovery journey. But during the spring of 2017 life started to present her with several challenges that brought back the urge to use.
“Crazy things were happening in my personal life. The things I had been doing to keep me on track weren’t working anymore. I felt like I was going to have a relapse.”
Thanks to the amazing support of her cardiologist, Dr. Scott Gabler, whom she had shared her recovery with, Monica was connected to a local therapist.
“I was open and honest with my cardiologist from day one. He was very accepting and open to talking about my struggles with me. He told me that if I ever felt like relapsing to call him. He saved my life.”
Her therapist told her about Center For Family Services’ Living Proof Recovery Center and her life began to change.
“I had no idea what services would be offered to me at Living Proof. I got so lucky. The first time I walked in, I met my recovery coach, Elia. She helped me make it to my five year mark and beyond.”
With Elia’s help, Monica learned that she needed to do more to stay clean. She needed to be actively involved in her own recovery.
Weekly, Monica and Elia would meet to discuss her recovery and the challenges she was facing. With Elia’s help, Monica discovered local resources that could assist her with housing and training opportunities. She also started to join in on group sessions at Living Proof that focused on journaling, meditation, and spirituality.
“Elia has had my hand in hers from the moment I walked through these doors.”
Through these groups Monica was able to build community with others in recovery. She also learned how to share her emotions and how to let go of her past.
“I discovered that loneliness was one of my biggest triggers. The community I’ve built at Living Proof has helped fill that void. I have a much bigger network of support. Now I have a team of people I do different things with and can go to for help when I need it.”
Monica now dedicates much of her time to spreading the word about how Living Proof Recovery Center changes lives. She also hopes to continue to share her story as a way to inspire others.
“I’ve learned that I can rise above and that I am a lot stronger and smarter than I ever gave myself credit for. When you’re caught up in the drugs you feel so weak. It brings you so down when you’re in that state in mind.
It’s because of Living Proof Recovery Center that I’ve found all the help I needed.”
Her relationship with her son has also improved.
“We’re closer now and his love and support has been a blessing in my life.”