In January 2014, I shared the story of Ashlie Tolliver Wilson’s day-by-day fight against meth addiction. Ashlie is a Northeast Arkansas girl who somehow summoned the courage to walk away from a life consumed by meth. If you aren’t familiar with her story, start HERE.
On the occasion of her six month clean anniversary, she shared more of her story HERE. Today Ashlie is over one year clean. Her eyes are bright and clear. She has made big changes in her life. She has reclaimed her life.
Today, Ashlie is updating us on her inspirational journey.
Ashlie is proof that change is possible, that meth can be beat.
Ashlie, how your recovery is going?
So much has happened. I have now been meth free for over a year. One year, one month and eighteen days to be exact. When I made it to my one year mark, I woke up feeling like a kid on Christmas morning. For once, I really accomplished something important in my life.
Do you have a support group or counselor to help with your recovery?
I quit meth solely on my own. I have since, however, joined Narcotics Anonymous online which is a great support group. I have a page, post statuses, people contact me, etc.
Do you consider yourself “cured”?
I will never say I am cured or free from my addiction because I will forever be an addict. I am a recovering addict. I refuse to let my guard down and will always remind myself not to hang around people that use.
Do you still think about meth and about using?
I think about meth and my old way of life all the time, but I don’t have feelings of wanting to use. I think back on memories of that time and consider myself very lucky to have escaped that period of my life without injuries from cooking meth or any diseases from being an IV user.
Besides the obvious, how have you changed and what have you learned about yourself during the past year?
I have discovered how strong I am and that a junkie from a small southern town can beat the odds and emerge from addiction. My negative view of the world has changed. Even before I was an addict, I suffered from severe anxiety and anger management issues. Because I was adopted as a child, I walked around with hatred in my heart. I never experienced real life or noticed the world’s true beauty. The darkness of meth helped me see the light. I now have a love for the world and for other people.
Now that you have this new outlook on life, how do you spend your time?
It took me about seven months before I felt strong enough to leave the confined space of my parents’ house and venture out into the world. Once I did, I felt like Dorothy when she landed in the bright, beautiful world of Oz. I had a fantastic summer doing things I’d never done before like fishing and boating on the Mississippi River. I’ve made wonderful friends, true friends that I now consider family.
I’m happy to say I am involved in a healthy, strong relationship with a man who is kind and not abusive. I no longer live in a shack in the middle of nowhere. Instead, I live in a nice three-bedroom home.
I have made peace with my family. It is an amazing feeling to visit my family and truly feel welcome.
Have you reconnected with your daughters?
I am working on this. I have not yet been able to see my three little girls who live in Texas with their father, but I have made peace with his family. They have forgiven me. I get regular updates on my children and have pictures of them. And I write letters to them. One of the best things is that I have been able to send them money and gifts. I even have my my oldest daughter’s phone number, and she and I text back and forth from time to time.
I know it will take time for the relationship with my children to be repaired. I do not allow this to keep me down because I have hope and faith and know that I have begun to put the broken pieces of my life back together.
What has been the biggest blessing?
I have found myself and now have compassion for others. I have unlocked parts of my heart that I never knew I had. People from all over the world have discovered my story. They express their happiness for me and say that my story has helped them in one way or another. Complete strangers contact me when they are feeling the urge to use drugs. I talk on the phone with them and listen as they vent. I offer advice even if I stay on the phone for hours. Knowing that I helped someone who was brave enough to reach out and ask for help is the most amazing feeling ever.
My days of feeling worthless are gone. I now feel worthy, that I was put on this earth to serve a purpose. Life is now a gift that I cherish. I am at peace and have righted so many wrongs and have asked for forgiveness for my mistakes. I have forgiven others who have wronged me. Most importantly, I have forgiven myself.
What’s next for you?
Who knows where life will take me as I continue on this journey. I would love to attend school and become a drug counselor. My dream is to take the darkest part of my life and turn it into a light for others. I’d like to travel and speak to young adults and other people at risk for addiction. I plan to write a book. I am slowly stepping out of my comfort zone, and now that I have been clean over a year, I believe it’s time for me to go to school or get a job.
Life will not bring me down. I will continue to move forward and hold my head high. I know how important my life is to those who love me.
Join me in congratulating Ashlie! Share her story. Spread the word of her success. In a world seemingly swallowed up by drugs and despair, Ashlie’s story provides proof that people can change. I am happy for her. Aren’t you?
Grace Grits and Gardening
Farm. Food. Garden. Life.
Jordin Sparks – This is My Now