YAKIMA, WA - After ten years of having a substance use disorder, Kristen Mead celebrates five years sober. She is now using her experience to help others through their recovery journeys with Peer Support at Triumph Treatment Services.
Mead survived not one, but three opioid overdoses.
She started using drugs when she was just 16 years old. It wasn't until she got into a serious car crash, her addiction spiraled from just party drugs to morphine, then to heroin.
"It was something that was always there for me," said Mead, "it was just really numbing and I was able to stay numb for a very long time."
She said when she became homeless, she had no other option but to put a needle in her arm every day.
"I don't think I did so much and I actually remember the person I was with looking at me and I told him 'it's not like I'm going to die I'm fine,'" she said thinking back to one of her heroin overdoses.
She woke up to paramedics surrounding her. They told her Narcan saved her life.
But she couldn't stop using. Mead said she knew she had a problem when she couldn't stop using even during her pregnancy.
She gave her son to her parents and decided it was time to change her reality.
"I've been in abusive relationship after abusive relationship and believed I was worth nothing and I was better off dead, that was my reality," said Mead.
She started to gain her self-confidence back in recovery.
"It's like a breath of fresh air and I don't have to be choked by shame and guilt and I just want that for other people too," said Mead.
Right now, she is training to become a Peer Supporter and help others find a new reality through recovery.
Her old counselor now coworker, Theresa Adkison said she couldn't be more proud of how far Mead has come.
"Every person is a miracle whether they see it yet or not. And every once in a while, we get to see the seed that we planted flourish," said Adkison.
Mead flourished and bloomed.
She now is happily raising her 7-year-old son, Mitchell.
Going through substance use recovery herself, Adkison said anyone can turn their life around like her and Mead.
"Kristen is not a random example of like the one percent that make it, it's possible for anyone," said Adkison, "if you're done, there are people ready to help you."
Recovery at Triumph Treatment Services is only one phone call away (509) 249-1800. They offer free Narcan to anyone who wants it, no questions asked.