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Melissa's Story

“I'm in a much better place now.”

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Melissa has experienced some challenging times in her past, but she’s grateful for where she is today. Like many people with a substance use disorder, recurrences of use are part of her story, and she’s been to a few treatment programs over the years. “It’s not my first go-around,” she said. Every time she goes through a program, she sees it as expanding her knowledge about herself. “It’s more experience,” she said. Melissa’s currently at Casa Di Vita, and she’s learning that she can’t be someone who uses occasionally. “Somewhere in my head, I thought if I could just take some pills, I’d be okay,” she said. “Somehow I ended up with a needle in my arm again. As soon as crack cocaine comes back into my life, I can’t hold onto it. I get bad very quickly.”

Gratitude Makes a Difference

Despite her past challenges, Melissa realizes that recovery can be found in a lot of little things. “It’s being a member of society again, being able to hold an appointment, being able to get dressed in the morning and do laundry, having clean clothes.” This has all led her to develop a strong sense of gratitude. “We didn’t have a single bar of soap,” she said of her life in active use. “I was lucky if I could find a pillow to use.” These days, pillows, blankets, and soap all hold special meaning for her. “It’s the small things that I try to be grateful for,” she said. “If you’re not grateful for what you have, how can be grateful for what you want?”

Perhaps most poignantly, she said she was grateful that she still had her arms. Melissa used drugs intravenously. One day, her mom had a dream that Melissa lost her arms. “My recovery is that my mother can sleep again,” she added. “I have to do this for myself, but I try to do it for her, as well.”

Melissa’s Experience at Casa Di Vita

She’s also grateful for the opportunities given to her at Casa Di Vita. Deidre Anderson, Casa Di Vita’s Reintegration Manager, put Melissa into a leadership position at the program early in her stay. “She saw how determined I was,” said Melissa. “She saw that I was serious about my recovery. That helped me a lot with my self-esteem.”

Casa Di Vita’s staff have been a great motivator for her, too. “They’re incredible,” said Melissa. “What they do for us on a daily basis is amazing.” She’s been at the program for three months, and she’s looking forward to what’s next. “I’m in a much better place now,” said Melissa. “I’m glad I am where I am.”

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