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Inspiring Success on the Road to Recovery

Monday, May 2, 2016

From the Needle to the Paintbrush

By Carla D. Miller

In 2009 I found myself in the unfortunate, seemingly hopeless, situation of walking the streets for money to support my heroin habit. I was arrested for prostitution, drugs, and did stints of jail time over the course of a year. Staying in homeless shelters after I got out of jail, I made a promise to I would not let my mother die seeing me strung out. That began my journey on the road to recovery. It’s hard to believe six and a half years ago I was standing on the side of the freeway flinging a sign, walking the streets and sleeping in the bushes.

I stumbled onto an amazing agency, National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD). They provided housing for me at Crossroads for Women, where I progressed and became the onsite Maintenance Technician for over four years. This enabled me to participate in their Level 1 Intensive Outpatient Therapy and take GED classes. When I completed treatment, I became a licensed Peer Support Specialist in the State of Arizona.
While still a client at NCADD, I enrolled in Art Awakenings, which gave me the opportunity to discover myself as a painter. Being in recovery has enabled me to be involved in a network of dynamic people who believe in giving back and helping one another out at a moment’s notice. Through this close network of support, I have been able to start pursuing my true passion of art.
Today I am thrilled to have my first art exhibit at Carly’s Bistro from May 5 – June 5 at 128 E. Roosevelt Street in downtown Phoenix.
As a new homeowner, I have my own studio and serene surroundings which allow me to continue pursuing my love of painting.
This past November my dear mother, who was an amazing painter herself, died in her sleep at the age of 95. With much gratitude I fulfilled the promise I made six years ago that I didn’t want my mother to die seeing me strung out. The promise is complete, just another one of the many blessings of recovery.
To anyone who find themselves in the seemingly hopeless state of mind and body, let me be a testimony. If you are determined, stick with it and get yourself in the mix with the world of recovery, you will be amazed. I have a saying, “If you play in the mud you’re going to get dirty.” Jump in and see where it takes you.
Have a success story? Email to aztogether@yahoo.com