HANNAH’s Story

The Early Years And Beyond

“I grew up in a great family,” Hannah says. “Was captain of the cheerleading squad, got good grades.” But she had issues just beneath the surface. “I had some daddy issues and was always the party girl. That was my purpose. I had my first drink at age 13, then smoked weed.”

Still, she did well at first, graduating from high school at age 16. That same year she was placed on prescription painkillers following a surgical procedure. “That’s when I knew I had a problem. I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I let everything go. My grades slipped. I fought with my parents constantly and was sneaking out to hang out with boys because I knew they had drugs.”

After a bout with depression, she convinced her parents to let her travel to California to stay with a friend she had met in a rehab program, and her life took a bad turn. One night “I came home drunk and on Xanax, got kicked out of the house, and moved in with a heroin addict I had just met. And that was the beginning to a never ending cycle of destruction.”

Things got worse, and she kept using drugs. “Heroin was my best friend. It never let me down except when I ran out.” Soon there was a felony conviction, a prison sentence, probation. And she still hadn’t hit rock-bottom.

After release from prison “I stayed clean, started school, and was doing really well,” she says. She had a sponsor to help her stay on track. Then came finals week. “I was overwhelmed and had just broken up with my significant other, when an old using friend called me. I was stressed out, so I thought why not?” Against her better judgment, she went to get coffee with her friend, a fellow addict. “We didn’t make it to the coffee shop.” Instead, they took a detour, and she resumed her heroin habit.

The Road To Recovery

Eventually Hannah’s sponsor had to take her to a hospital for detox. That’s when she was given the opportunity to come to Bluff. She’s learning some powerful lessons: That addiction is a disease, that it does not discriminate, that it tears families apart.

“I’m sure I would have lost my family eventually. That’s the one thing I still feel horrible for, is what I’ve done to them. They didn’t deserve to go through that, but I’m grateful they stuck it out with me,” Hannah says. Her recovery program gave them an opportunity to reconnect and “fix the bridges we burned. We have assignments to make amends to each other for things we’ve done,” she says.

Recovery is “not just about the substance abuse. Here they’re really pushing me and challenging me – it’s more about lifestyle changes. We have to dig deep and confront those things that cause us to relapse. They are helping me find my purpose, not just sending me out with a textbook full of things I’m going to forget.”

The Difference At Bluff

The program at Bluff keeps Hannah busy every day, which took some getting used to. “We exercise every day and learn to replace endorphins with healthy things. We go to groups, exercise and therapy. After a week I felt better. Exercise helps with detox. Also meditative movement and yoga. I’m learning to be mindful and in the moment. I’m learning how to live again.”

Diet is another key part of her recovery. “The food is low glycemic. Dr. Jacobs informed me sugar makes us crave the drugs. I had no idea. We eat very healthy, and I feel like I’m a professional athlete.”

Ultimately, Hannah is glad she came to Bluff. “When I’m sober I’m much happier. Is it hard? Absolutely. But is it worth it? Yeah, 100 percent.”

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