Name: Bonnie Thomas (Nikki)
Life Before and After Addiction
7 years ago, I was a hopeless drug addict walking into detox for the third time. I was lost, broken, spiritually empty and physically dependent on many different drugs.
I started using drugs my freshman year of college, but drinking was a problem way before that. I’m now 45 years old. It’s safe to say I struggled for 20 years. I dropped out of college, lost many good jobs, lost material things that I’d worked hard for, I lost the trust of my family and friends. And, I had lost myself. I had no idea who I was at 37.
My husband was still willing to help me, but from a distance. He stopped enabling me. Everyone had stopped enabling me. And honestly that is what saved my life!
After detox, my husband wouldn’t allow me to move back in the house, unless I went to treatment. I ended up at the Haven House a residential substance abuse facility in Oxford, MS. After I left there, I had a spiritual awakening. I surrendered that day. I gave my life to Christ. It was a peace I’d never experienced. The Lord has placed people in my life, since that day, who have helped me walk every step of the way. FINALLY, I was ready to chase my dreams instead of the drugs! And I was about to turn my addiction into bettering myself instead of killing myself.
On October 21, 2021, I was 7 years clean. I am happy to be alive and who God created me to be. I have rebuilt my life, from the very bottom. My purpose and passion is helping others. I’ve been working at our local community mental health facility for 6 years. My husband and I have an amazing relationship. I had 3 years clean when my dad passed away. So, he got to see me healthy and happy. I’ve mended the relationships with my family; some are still a work in progress, because I caused a lot of damage. But I’ll never give up trying.
Every day I share and spread the word of hope to other families and those that are still stuck in addiction. I want them to know that they can have this too! I share for the family’s out there watching their loved one in active addiction. I believe that if they don’t take care of themselves first that they will become sick too. Treatment and therapy work miracles.
We are in the middle of a drug (spiritual) crisis right now. We’ve got to get rid of the stigma placed on those with drug addiction and mental illness. It’s killing people. Look at your neighbors on each side of you. The chances are that one of them has an addiction or struggles with their mental health. I want everyone to know that it’s ok to talk about it. If they need help, reach out. To not be afraid.
I’m in school, to learn more about how to help others who are struggling with their mental health and/or substance abuse disorder. I have the experience from active addiction. I’ve also been employed for the last 6 years, by the treatment facility that I received help at. My goal is to get my master’s degree in social work so I will be qualified to help others. I started back to school, at Northwest Community College, in 2020. I will graduate in May, with my Associates of Arts degree. This week I was accepted into Bethel University’s online Social Work program. This program will allow me to work and go to school full time.
Another one of my goals is to stay as debt free as possible. I have prayed that there would be a way. It’s taken a lot of work to repair the damages from my past. I’m hoping to accomplish this with the help of scholarships.
I am very grateful for this opportunity, your time and consideration.
Bonnie Thomas (Nikki)