Sarah M.Sobriety date: October 8, 2009, at age 25
"I was doing heroin, sleeping on a couch at work, and self-medicating my bipolar disorder by drinking. Now I am on medications, stable and working."
How it was: I was physically, mentally and spiritually sick before coming to Harris House. I was doing heroin, the only place to sleep was on the couch at the vintage shop where I worked in Columbia, Mo, or sometimes in a friend's basement. I had been diagnosed as bipolar at age 15, began drinking at 16, asked to leave home at 17. I got a high school diploma. Then at age 20, I went to rehab for the first time and relapsed. I had just been kicked out of another rehab and diagnosed with hepatitis C before I called Harris House.
At Harris House: I immediately felt comfortable. My mom drove me, and checking in was a positive experience. The staff here is dedicated, it is lots more personal, and they all care about you. The food is much better. The focus is on all aspects of addiction - medical, psychological, spiritual. And the spiritual part is not pushy - you are guided through the process without requiring organized religion. Both of my parents drove in from Columbia on Tuesdays for family sessions, and through the counseling we learned to communicate better. It turns out that two of my grandparents on one side of my family were alcoholic, and the disease contributed to their early death.
Long-term and transitional programs: I knew that I was going to move next door, although I had been in Oxford Houses before and had not had good experiences. The women here support each other. I had some medical issues during the winter, and took a while to stabilize - but I kept working the program and it was good that I was at Harris House when that happened. Having Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous meetings at Harris House is fantastic. I began working a waitress job. I am in the three-quarter transitional house now. Most months I am able to drive to Columbia to see my family. And I am planning to get back into painting and artwork soon.