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Lavinnia’s Story

“I don’t have to give my will up to another thing or person. Recovery is just a happier life.”

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The Importance of Language

Lavinnia’s been at Casa Di Vita since early November. Unsurprisingly, she has great things to say about the program. “This is by far the best facility I’ve been in,” she said. Lavinnia also feels that Cazenovia Recovery treats people with substance use disorders “like adults.” This can be very empowering. In fact, we deliberately choose not to be punitive or punishing – especially in our language – thanks to our focus on Trauma-Informed Care.

She is very straightforward with how she describes life in active use: “Life in addiction is terrible,” she said. “It’s horrible. I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy.” Lavinnia knew what she was doing had consequences, but she couldn’t stop. “That is what almost defines the disease,” she added. “It’s like knowing you have cancer, but you’re going to smoke cigarettes anyway.”

Lavinnia also noted that she doesn’t identify with the label of “addict.” She says that “addicts” are often seen as “thieves or monsters with no morals or no emotion.” That is clearly not her. “A lot of times in the community, people just say, ‘She’s just a drug addict and that’s all she’s ever going to be,’” she added. “I don’t like that.” Language is important to Lavinnia, and it has the chance to empower people or make them feel ashamed. Lavinnia chooses to be empowering. Instead, she says that she has a substance use disorder. This subtle change recognizes the reality that this is a disease with a proper medical diagnosis.

Moving Through the Continuum

Her journey also demonstrates the benefits of moving through our complete continuum of care. She first started her treatment at Madonna House. Currently, she’s at Casa Di Vita. Next, she’s planning on moving to Supportive Living. Lavinnia hopes to bring her three-year-old daughter with her into her new apartment when she regains custody.

When she moves into Supportive Living, she’s planing to hit the ground running. “The moment I get there, I’m looking for work,” she said excitedly. Lavinnia also applied to the vet tech program at Medaille. “I love animals,” she said. “My heart breaks when I see them without a home.”

She knows that she moves quickly, but Lavinna makes sure to take it one day at a time. In fact, every night, she says a prayer in gratitude for staying sober. “I congratulate myself,” she said. “I don’t have to give my will up to another thing or person,” said Lavinnia. “Recovery is just a happier life.”

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