recovery testimonial jenn

First Steps Recovery Testimonial: Jennifer

Dr. Norris Von Curl, II, MD

Dr. Norris Von Curl, II, MD


“You Are Stronger Than You Think You Are”

Age: 29
Home: Sanger, California
Sober: 8 months


About Jennifer:

I am the middle daughter of a retired fire fighter and registered nurse. I have three other sisters and we are very close in age. I was raised in the small, country town of Sanger, and since a young age, I was very active in my school and community. During my high school and college years, I participated in speech and debate as well as pep and cheer. After obtaining my associate’s degree and working full time I found a career that I really liked in retail management. Once I had a job I was happy with, I started planning for the future. My husband and I had our first child in 2013, and now he is a thriving, happy, healthy four-year-old.


It started with pills then went to heroin and meth. I used pills recreationally during high school and throughout college. I was able to get that under control for a while and then was reintroduced to pain pills after my C-section. Once the prescriptions ran out and I could no longer find pills on the streets, I started to use heroin—I smoked it for a short while and went right into IV-ing it. I tried getting clean by going to the methadone clinic, and it made me so tired and that’s why I started doing meth …

The Worst Part:

The worst thing about my addiction was the lie I was living for so many years. I was so terrified of anyone finding out I was addicted to anything, so I hid it from everyone, for as long as I could. It was like living two lives. I was just afraid that if people knew this about me they would take away everything important to me and just give up on me! It was the most lonely, frustrating feeling in the world.

Change Agent:

I just couldn’t take it anymore! It was way too hard to struggle every day living as a person who didn’t like herself. I use to be so proud and happy with who I was. That was before I became an addict, and I wanted to get back to that place.

How Did First Steps Recovery Help?

When my secret came out and my loved ones realized I was an addict, the first thing I did was look for an inpatient program—one that would take me right away. I was lucky to find something that was close to my hometown and had an immediate opening. I called on Saturday morning and was able to admit that evening. I was in the process of getting my insurance all figured out, and so my family paid by cash at the facility.

When I first got to the house, the staff and other patients all welcomed me with open arms.

The first few days were really rough for me. Because I was so physically addicted to opiates, I was pretty sick during the detox process. But during these few rough days, all of the staff at First Steps did their very best to help me get as comfortable as I could.

Once I started on Suboxone I began to feel more comfortable physically and was able to participate in group therapy and start working on the mental part of my addiction.

I really enjoyed the groups and all the open conversation that I was able to have with staff as well as other patients. For so long I had suffered in silence and hid my addiction—it felt good to finally have people to talk to. People that knew exactly what I was going through!

Biggest Learning:

The most important thing for me was that I had more control than I thought I did. I didn’t think I would be able to get sober—and stay sober—because being an addict became my lifestyle for so long. I forgot who I was in the process of becoming an addict. I forgot that at one time, I lived a happy, healthy life. I needed to remind myself that it was possible, again! So it was really important to remind myself that I’m stronger than I think I am. And once I realized that, it became easier to accomplish the things I didn’t think were possible.

Your Future:

Now that I don’t waste all my time trying to figure out how to “stay well,” or what it will take for me to get high, I have a lot more time for things that actually matter to me! Things like being able to work full time, or go and do just the normal day-to-day activities.

Now that I’m not wasting thousands and thousands of dollars on drugs, I actually have enough money to pay my rent, buy new clothes or go on vacations. Before, anytime I wanted to go somewhere out of town, I would have to plan ahead—but not plan how everyone else does. Mine was a plan for having enough drugs to “be well” the whole time, and it was tiring. Now I can go on trips, create memories with my son, and so much more.

I no longer have to live life in a jealous, envious way. Instead, now I am one of those people that love life!

My future is bright, and I have so much to look forward to. I would love to grow my family, have more kids, and do my very best to prove to everyone that even though I messed up in the past, I still have a chance at the amazing life I always wanted—a life that felt out of reach when I was using drugs.

Do you or your loved one need help?

First Steps Recovery is a residential treatment program in Clovis, CA (Fresno County) that specializes in addiction treatment. We are committed to the safety, comfort, and success of every resident that comes to us seeking treatment.

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