Natalie began using in her senior year in High school in 2004. Her behavior became unstable and her focus on school, job and family became blurred. Natalie began hanging with friends that continued to pressure her to use. She held them off only to give in and try it, to see what it was like. She was marked. A try once, hooked for life user who before the addiction was working, conscientious about her job and career, talked about getting a degree loved life and everything in it. She eventually exposed her addiction to us and came to her mother for help. She told us she was done with it that that she just wanted to be normal again. This is the beginning of a long battle. That fall of 2004 Natalie was enrolled in Harrisburg Area Community College. She attended school until the disease she was battling – forced her to check into her 1st rehabilitation clinic. She was at Marworth Rehabilitation Clinic, located in Waverly Pennsylvania.
Natalie would be in and out of this clinic two more times over the next 90 days. She was fighting to recover and get back to school, her family and do the things she loved to do.
Next, Natalie was checked into a Texas facility to remove her from the environment that haunted her. Sundown Ranch located in Canton Texas was a great facility for struggling young adults. They provided counseling, daily meetings, physical exercise and constant monitoring and a controlled environment. Natalie was at Sundown for almost 60 days. Her recovery plan called for her to continue her recovery at a halfway house – to get a job, remain sober and continue on her road to recovery. We selected a house in Arizona, “A Sober Way Home”. This establishment left us very wiry of the system, she arrived and was on the street in days. The founder of the house never met Natalie, interviewed her or counseled her in any way. We had to get her back to Texas with her Uncle Jim and Sundown Ranch to help us established the next step. We then decided with the help and persuasion of Uncle Jim to try a halfway house in Florida known as Acorn House. The individuals running this house seemed very caring and committed people. Again after a couple weeks of continued behavioral issues and breaking the house rules again we were faced with a decision. We pleaded with Natalie to stay focused on her recovery, that we loved her very much but that she could not come home to the lifestyle that she had led and the triggers that were everywhere. But she was a teenage girl, who had a boyfriend and friends and she missed her family. She continued to push because she just did’nt want to deal with it any more. So because she was 18, she had control over herself. If she didn’t agree to sign into another rehab for detox and than back to the halfway house what could we do? Leave her on the street?
In May of 2005 we reluctantly decided to fly her back home to Pennsylvania. The plan was to get her back in school full-time and get a job, continue with her recovery, gain a sponsor and stay sober. Within a few weeks she was back using and we checked her into the Gaudenzia House in Harrisburg. She was under the care of this facility once again for a short time. We kept looking for the best care and facility to beat the addiction.
Our next attempt was a facility located in Lancaster Pennsylvania called “White Deer Run”. She was put on medication called Saboxone to combat the addiction, she could never gain full employment let alone attend school. Completely dependant on her Mother and Father for Medical Care and basic needs.
During this time, Natalie got into trouble by stealing and feeding her addiction. She really hit bottom and ended up being arrested on December 17th in our home. She spent 3 months in Dauphin County Prison. She was released on March 9, 2006 under the custody of her parents, Nancy and John. She was on probation for 23 months and had to wear an ankle bracelet. She was sober, clean and ready to go back to school, she had a job and was committed to changing her life. But all that changed in one night. Her father found her in her bedroom around noon on March 28th 2006 after being home 19 days.
As you can see, Natalie NEVER had the chance The addiction controlled her life since high school. We was very intelligent, sweet and a caring person when not on heroin. This story needs to be told to demonstrate that normal kids raised in a decent home and family can still get caught in the death grip of this drug.
About The family
In her memory, her family hosts this site to provide resources and help for heroin addicts and their loved ones. This is a non profit website and organization. Visit NCDAF