According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 45 percent of people struggling with addiction have a co-occurring mental health disorder.

There are many roads to recovery. And for 29-year-old Kelly Yantzer, hers is a more holistic approach, but it wasn’t easy to get there.

Yantzer says, “I struggled very hard. I would drink during class, on my lunch break. I wasn’t eating.
I have people around me telling me, noticing changes the school was concerned. But I could’ve cared less. I just wanted to simply die.”

As a child, she had an unstable life, passed between parents after they separated. She felt like she didn’t fit in anywhere and began obsessing over how she looked.

Yantzer says, “I wanted to hate myself. I obsessed over magazines and and women in society, famous women, being stick thin. I wrote hate journals of myself. I would try to make myself to hate myself to become thinner.”

By age 12 she had an eating disorder, by age 14 she was drinking and soon Kelly says her eating disorder went to full-on binging and purging.

Yantzer says, “The high I could get from binging and purging is like no other drug I’ve done no other high ever to me because I have control of how much I’m eating and can get rid of if without gaining weight.”

After fainting, receiving an endoscopy procedure from damaging her throat, she went into treatment for her eating disorder. But after beating one thing she would latch onto something else to numb the pain.

Lance Zimmer, Yantzer’s boyfriend says, “She got a DUI and got into an accident that was pretty severe. I was thinking that like it’s not a good thing. She could’ve ended up dying from it.”

Angie Bjerklie, Yantzer’s Mom says, “It was really really hard watching her through all the years. You just wanna take it from your kids and you know get that pain away from them. I would have taken all of it for her.”

After many attempts to get sober, DUIs, and jail time, Kelly says she knew something needed to change before she lost everything. So, she made a conscious decision to take responsibility for her life. And to be there for her son.

Zimmer says, “Her attitude toward life is just a lot better. Her outlook, she’s not so down on herself.”

Her mom adds, “It’s like a breath of fresh air. There’s been many times I literally just wanted to shake her just to get her to the point that she is today.”

Yantzer shares, “What keeps me sober now this time has felt so different. I don’t have an ankle bracelet on me. I have a reason to live.”

She has been sober since March 9th this year and she’s going to school to be a holistic health coach so she can help others.

For more Road to Recovery stories go here.