The word ‘hopeless’ has always stirred up sadness in me. It seems so final, lacking any room for progress. I’ve been hopeless. I’ve been called hopeless. I’ve heard friends whisper behind my back that I lost the willingness to live. They were right. I was an active heroin and cocaine user for 15 years and my only job on this earth was to make it through one more day.
Like so many others, my addiction started with herniated discs, a visit to an empathetic doctor, and a large dose of depression. I wanted to be out of pain….physical, emotional and mental agony, and my desire met opportunity that day. From that moment on, the spiral of addiction went downward at top speed and I became a completely different person. No one knew who I was anymore, especially me.
Then life as I knew it changed. With a knock at the window of my Nissan Pathfinder and a beam of light hitting my face shone by a man in blue, I realized in that instant that nothing was going to be the same. I was both terrified and relieved that the life I created was finally over. The police officer didn’t understand why I thanked him when he pulled me out of my car. He stopped what I couldn’t.
Going to jail was my intervention, but meeting people who were already on the path to recovery was where my journey started. I surrendered. I listened. I hoped. And I had to trust people I never met before.
I knew about PRO-ACT through the Recovery Walk and a staff member who came weekly to the halfway house where I lived in 2008 (who later became my sponsor!). She asked if I could stop by the Southern Bucks Recovery Community Center to stuff envelopes, and I did. I came back the next day, and the next. I became a volunteer, a facilitator and a recovery coach. I did this for over a year until I felt I was ready to go back into the work force. I was supported and encouraged. I treasured recovery. I loved meetings and sponsorship and helping others who struggled. I knew this was my calling.
I saw an ad in the paper for a non-profit organization that worked in substance abuse and it needed help with data entry. Not knowing it was The Council, or that it was related to PRO-ACT, I applied and got the job. That was in 2009. I now manage The Council’s Women’s Recovery Community Center, continue as a Data Coordinator, and help women who struggle to get another day clean by showing them recovery is possible.
I hope my recovery story helps our communities to see the reality that there truly is help, hope and healing from addiction. Because today, when I see the word ‘hopeless’, I only see the first four letters, and for that, I’m grateful.
Jan Landis, CRS
House Coordinator/Data Coordinator
Women’s Recovery Community Center
The Council of Southeast Pennsylvania, Inc./PRO-ACT