Recovery Month: Chelsea’s Story

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September is Recovery Awareness Month and this year’s theme is “Recovery is for Everyone”. The mission is to remind everyone that no one is alone in their journey. One woman shared her own story of recovery alongside her family.

Chelsea Lugger grew up in a loving home in Fort Yates where she had everything she wanted. She takes full responsibility for the decisions she made but makes it clear that who she was is distinctly different from who she is today.

“Deep down I had known for a long time what I was doing wasn’t okay but I had no way of stopping it. As much as I wanted to and be there for my kids I couldn’t, addiction and alcoholism were ruining my life,” says Chelsea.

She started using drugs and alcohol when she was 14 years old and continued for 19 years. Jail become her safe place and she isolated herself from the issues she had created.

“I was just fine there, I was comfortable. I didn’t really care about what was going outside and I wasn’t worried about anything. Then it hit me, I needed to do something about that,” Chelsea explains.

One morning in 2018 while on her way to treatment, Chelsea was arrested for violating her parole. She expected prison time but the judge reluctantly sent her to treatment instead.

“That last time in jail, going to treatment and getting into sober living, things just changed for me,” Chelsea says.

Chelsea felt like her addiction was an endless cycle. Since getting help and treatment she’s taken control of her life.

“It means a lot. It means my life really. I wouldn’t have anything I have. Not just material things, it’s freedom within,” Chelsea explains.

Chelsea’s actions affected everyone around her but today Chelsea is a mother of five and it is easier for her to be genuine and responsible. Her 11-year-old daughter Dawson is excited she is to be back with her mom.

“I love her and I wish she would stay with us and not go to jail or anything,” says Dawson.

With the support of her family and the Hope Manor, a treatment center in Bismarck. Chelsea thinks it’s important to celebrate recovery. She says when she was in her dark times, she could see what life could be and that motivated her.

“It’s really important to see that you can get better, even in your darkest time, somebody can say ‘I’ve been there, I know what it’s like, let me show you the way,'” Chelsea says.

Chelsea credits a lot of her support to women she met in Hope Manor. For a list of licensed addiction treatment centers in your area, click here.

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