For many years I wondered if I would make it to my next birthday. I remember how shocked I was when I had made it to my 21st. My name is Marissa Cagnina and I am a grateful recovering drug addict and today I am celebrating my birthday, sober, for the third year in a row.
The last time I used was on my 25th birthday and tomorrow will mark my third year of sobriety. I have been faced with many hardships since surrendering to my disease and have managed to get through them all without turning to my old ways. I have learned how to become a mother in recovery and to forgive myself for the past mistakes I have made, especially to my daughter, but never forget where I came from. I have endured heart break and loss, leading to being a single parent. I have mourned loss due to this disease of many loved ones. I nurse a prolonging heart issue on a daily basis. I do not work a perfect program but the best thing I have done the past three years is not pick up no matter what.
I have also done the unthinkable positive turnarounds while in recovery. I have become independently financially stable. I am dependable and reliable. People actually want me around today, when In the past I wasn't able to get an answer on the other end of the telephone. I am able to see my beautiful little girl every day and am trusted to pick her up from preschool or drive her to dance class, when 3 years ago I didn't know if I'd ever see her again. I took a vacation to New York for an AA conference and boat cruise, when the only vacations I used to take was to a state run facility or detox. I have gotten my entire family back in my life, when I dragged them through the grips of my addiction for many years.
I have worked in the substance abuse field for over 2 years. I have a career helping women in early recovery get their lives back. I have witnessed miracles happen while being employed at Banyan Treatment Center over the past year. I have seen women get their children back, their families back, the sparkle of life appear in their eyes. And to me, that is why I continue to do this. Every day. My reason to push forward no matter what. To help at least one person. To make a difference. To believe in someone when they don't believe in themselves. Because that was me for over ten years. I thought I didn't matter, that I couldn't ever stay clean and sober. That I would die by the needle and be another overdose statistic. And now I am able to use my experiences to help save another life. I am a shining example that women do recover, no matter what the circumstances may be.