Jessica Tyler

Q: Could you briefly tell us about yourself?

I am 33 years old and currently live in Auburn PA. I was born and raised in Connecticut, until the age of 13 when my parents moved to Pennsylvania to escape the values that the children in Connecticut were being raised with, it mattered more about your bank account than it did who you were as a person. I graduated high school in Schuylkill Haven and left for the Army 2 months after graduating. I was discharged on a medical discharge for an injury to my foot. That is where it all started. I began lying constantly to make others have pity on me because I like the attention and the rush of not getting caught in lies. I also started to get into multiple relationships with men hoping that somehow they would bring me some type of joy. It seemed I would always doing something for a rush, including racking up big credit card bills buying things that I could not afford. In 2001 I moved back to Connecticut with my parents hope of me changing. 6 months after arriving in Connecticut I met a man that I dated for about a year and that is when I was introduced to Marijuana. For the next 8 years I smoked Pot. In 2010 I broke up with a boyfriend and moved in with people I thought were my best friends. Two weeks after living in Greenwich, CT my addiction took off. As long as I didn't have to feel anything and I was numb I tried it. I became out of control very fast, in that time period I gave my daughter to her father so that she wouldn't see me like that and went into a deep dark depression.

Q: What was your drug of choice?

Heroin and Crack/Cocaine

Q: What is your sobriety date?

March 7th, 2012

Q: Looking back, was there a turning point during your active addiction?

I was sitting in my studio apartment living with my boyfriend, his brother and his brothers girlfriend. His brother's girlfriend was getting abused my her boyfriend. I would see the constant fighting over the crack. He would literally throw her around like a rag doll. The constant screaming and crying I would hear really messed me up. I remember sitting in my apartment and thinking, this is not me, this is not what I wanted for my life. I was so tired. I was tired of shooting up, I was tired of worrying about getting arrested for copping drugs, and I was just sick of the isolation. I was selling myself for drugs, which for a woman is so degrading. I would cry at night everytime I had to shoot myself up. I just wanted to leave that lifestyle far behind me. I remember texting my mother that morning and telling her I needed to talk to her, I was ready to open up about what I was doing. I really feel that God was speaking to me at that point telling me it was time to get help.

Q: What is a slogan that best expresses your current pint of view in recovery?

The therapeutic value of one addict helping another is without parallel. I feel like this point in my recovery is all about helping other addicts in recovery. That's how our program works and why Narcotics Anonymous helped me so much. Because if it wasn't for my brother's and sister's in recovery before me I wouldn't have stayed clean. I really believe without my sponsor and my fellow sponsee sisters I wouldn't have stayed clean.

Q: What are some daily practices and key aspects in your life that assist you in your recovery?

Praying...Every morning I get up and thank God for another day clean and sober, even with over 3 years, because the moment I think I can take the drivers wheel back is the day I fall flat on my face and end up right back with a spoon and a needle.
Daily Meditation..I always keep my addiction at the forefront of my mind. My daily medidation book makes sure that everyday I am trying to work on myself as a recovering addict.
Support...I make sure that I talk to at least one person in recovery a day. I have been blessed to have kept in contact with a lot of people I was in Drug Rehab with so we have shared this journey together. Even if it is to complain about the day or talk about nonsense, I know that they are always there.
Daily Gratitude List...I list three things in my journal that I am grateful for, it gets that stinking thinking to go away.

Q: As a person in recovery, do you have any advice you could offer to someone looking to get clean?

Scared is the first emotion you feel. It is okay to be scared. Just know that once that passes you will be safe. Reach out tell someone, it is the most liberating experience you could ever have. Don't feel your less than because you are asking for help. This is your life, you are a special person who deserves to love yourself. You deserve to have a life that is free from addiction. This world is such a beautiful place. Go to a meeting if you are afraid of going inpatient, raise your hand when they ask if there are any newcomers, we will support and love you until you can love yourself. Know that YOU ARE GOOD ENOUGH and that WE LOVE YOU!!

Q: Addiction is affecting hundreds in Schuykill County and abroad. It's very saddening. Any advice to people trying to help their loved ones to seek help?

We are very good at hiding our addictions. I know first hand how manipulative and conniving we can be. I could lie right to someone's face about why I needed $200. The best is to not give them money and only love. Some addicts will run away but just keep letting them know that you are there and you love them. It's hard because it's about tough love, being a family member of an active addict is not easy. I had a lot of family stop talking to me period because of my lifestyle and that ultimately saved my life. My number one thing is do not enable them, don't take them to cop drugs and do not support them financially. Until they get help make up rules that they have to abide by. I got sick of being alone and went and got help.

Q: Why are projects like "The Skook Recovers" important in this day and age?

I feel they are important because there needs to be support. People need to see that no matter what area you live in, your economic status, or any aspects of your life, recovery is possible. And to be able to have a project like this where an addict can see recovery in their own backyard is amazing. There is so many deaths and imprisonments because of addiction and the more we put the message out there that recovery is possible I think a lot can be changed.

Q: Could you tell us about the good things that your new life in recovery has brought to you and/or improved, including what you are grateful for?

I have my family back. I moved back to Schuylkill County 2 weeks ago, something I never thought was going to be possible. They actually trust me again, I have the best relationship with my mother and father, a better one than I even had as a teenager lol. They are my best friends. They understand me better now and actually talk to me about important things. I gained custody back of my child over a year ago and I was allowed to move out of state with her. I actually have the closest relationship to her now than I ever had before. That is my little angel, every day I am grateful for her presence in my life. Recovery has also brought me love for myself. And that was a huge thing for me. I respect myself and love myself so much. I have never been able to look at myself in the mirror and like the reflection staring back at me. Today I can smile at myself.

Q: Anything else you would like to add and/or people you would like to thank?

The Salvation Army in Hartford, CT (they saved my life)- these people are so generous in the love that they give and the support that the give it's amazing.
And God- for forgiving me and loving me before I could forgive myself.