Recovery is Possible!
Hi, my name is Rebecca Zwicker, and I am a woman in long time recovery. What that means to me is that I have not put a substance in my body since June 18, 2014. Since that day, my life has changed tremendously and the impossible has become possible! I grew up in Upton, Ma., a small suburban city, and moved to Worcester (2nd largest city in Massachusetts) when I was 18 years old. I got married at 19 years old, we bought a house and had 2 beautiful children. My addiction started at the age of 23 years old with a prescription of Oxycontin after a car accident, which led to an IV heroin addiction. My addiction stole all the things I enjoyed and loved, including my children, family, my home, and my career. I went from homeowner to homeless. For 12 years I continued to keep trying, in and out of detox facilities, treatment programs, criminal justice system, and never stopped trying. I would love to say on my first time I found recovery, which I did not. I ended up checking into detox about 150 times, and each time, it brought me a little closer to coming into recovery and some hope that maybe one day I can do this recovery life, too. On June 15th, 2014, I overdosed on the train and woke up a few days later in ICU and was scared and didn’t know what happened or why I was there, and not to mention I was opiate sick and felt like I had the flu times 1,000. Due to the stigma of substance use, I was treated extremely poorly, discrimination. I was still in the same shorts that I urinated when I died from my overdose, I had 8 broken ribs from the CPR and was discharged with no aftercare plan, homeless and in a johnny top because they cut my clothing to perform CPR and my soiled shorts. Of course, I went back to using drugs, as this is what I knew best at the time and had no supports or plan put in place. On June 18th, 2014, I had a 2pm violation of probation hearing at Worcester District Court and on my way to the court I stopped and got high again. At the time, I did not know this was going to be my last time using drugs. I went into the court hearing, clearly you could see I needed help with my addiction, and Honorable Judge Allard-Madaus treated me like a person with compassion and told me I was worth it and empowered me. He gave me another “umpteenth” chance and I went into a residential program to support me with my substance use. Judge Madaus told me when I reached my 6 months milestone, he wanted me to show him, and I did. That meant so much to me and he told me he was proud of me rather than seeing him in a negative interaction, it was positive this time! He told me to come see him for 7 months, 8 months until I reached my year into Recovery. After I reached my year, he told me the first year was for me and every day after that is for him, so he can keep hope alive! I ended up becoming a Recovery Coach and working with his Recovery Court and we have become professional colleagues and are now friends (this is the impossible becoming possible). If you would’ve told me that day, I stood in front of him on June 18th of 2014 that soon I would be a professional standing in his court room, supporting others, I would’ve never believed it. Lastly, my addiction stole and destroyed my relationship with my children, family and loved ones, and when I came into recovery, my children were 14 and 16 years old, and they wanted nothing to do with me (rightfully so) as my addiction stole me being a mom to them. As I continued in my recovery journey, our relationship slowly mended and now today, I have an unbelievable close relationship with both my children, and I am there for them every day. Unfortunately, with substance use disorder, we are not given any instructions that tell us “This is going to work for you” and for me, it came down to trial and error and figuring out what worked for me. I tried medication like Suboxone, Methadone, peer support groups, yoga, meditation, 12-step meetings, church etc., until I found what worked. For me, it was peer support at our local Peer Recovery Support Center, Everyday Miracles in Worcester, MA, and peer support groups and a foundation with the 12-step fellowship, Narcotics Anonymous. As I continued rebuilding my life and career, I was a Program Director of a Peer Recovery Support Center called No One Walks Alone in Whitinsville, MA, and a Recovery Coach Supervisor. The peer workforce became my passion, and it is not work when you love what you do! Life is amazing today and I absolutely love this recovery journey. I celebrated 9 years in Recovery on June 19th of 2023, I bought a house, and I went from homeless due to my addiction and because of my recovery, I am officially a homeowner! I went from the streets to an office seat! All my family is back in my life, I am in a healthy committed relationship and the gifts continue to happen and impossible continues to be possible! In November 2022 – I became a Mimi; my daughter (my little me me) had her first son! In 2018, I started a non-profit organization in partnership with the Worcester Police Department, and have a post-overdose and preventative outreach program, which is funded by the Worcester County District Attorney’s Office, Joe Early Jr., I would like to let you know, I had multiple arrest with the Worcester Police due to my addiction, and now I have an office there – This is Recovery! My non-profit is called Community Program for Addiction Recovery Inc., www.communitypar.org
What I would like to say to anyone is, if it is working, keep going, if not, try something different, just keep trying and continue fighting the good fight and remember, you are worth it! Addiction not only affects the individual who is addicted, it affects our loved ones and families, too. I share my story to give hope to anyone that is affected by substance use. Recovery is possible! If I can be of support, please reach out to me 774-214-6440.