Call Toll Free: 866-306-2647 Bill Pay

Search Blog

Meridian in the News

Fighting addiction makes her stronger & life better

Mar 11

Written by:
Monday, March 11, 2013  RssIcon

SHARING LOVE. A special kiss from Chloe to Braxton during playtime.

Chloe Mills, 23, had been using drugs for almost half her life. Introduced to marijuana at a young age, she quickly moved to Xanax, then ecstasy, then opiates, including Vicodin. A victim of sexual and physical abuse, Chloe had plenty of reasons to take drugs.

“I just loved the feeling,” Chloe says. “I felt like I was Superwoman, and I could do anything.”

Chloe came to Meridian Health Services for help, through its Addictions program, but not before going through her own hell.

The Anderson native never met her father, an alcoholic who died when she was 8. She kept house for her older brothers while her mother worked as a nurse.

It was not a happy life.

In high school, her grades were good, but she was always getting into fights. She did, however, manage to become a certified nursing assistant.

She began work on a surgical tech degree, but never finished it, her work interrupted by drugs.

Then she became pregnant.

“Before I got pregnant, drugs were my top priority,” Chloe says.

Then Chloe utters a sentence that makes her choke back tears: “Braxton was born addicted to pain pills.”

Watching her newborn struggle with chemical dependency tore at her heart, and she thought about getting sober, “but the drug was still taking over my mind.”

While bathing her infant son one day, Chloe overdosed on Tramadol and went into a seizure but not before she had let out the bathwater.

Child Protective Services entered the picture, and Chloe was hospitalized for 10 days. She had not been ordered into intensive outpatient care (IOP), but she went anyway.

ROAD TO RECOVERY. Chloe Mills in her after-care group meeting, with addictions counselor Steve Wells and fellow recovering addicts.

“That was my last straw,” Chloe says.

Braxton, now 14 months old, is doing well, as is his mom, who is taking a treatment drug, called Suboxone, a synthetic opioid, through the Addictions program at Meridian.

“What we have is a program that provides individual and group support,” says Hope Tomfohrde, regional supervisor at Meridian.

“We have groups and treatment that range anywhere from early intervention all the way up to our intensive outpatient program.”

For Chloe, it was a new world, a world where there was caring.

“With everything I’d been through, I just wanted to be high so I didn’t have to feel,” Chloe says. “And now, I love feeling. I love waking up in the morning seeing my baby boy smiling.”

One person pleased with Chloe’s progress is her Meridian counselor, Steve Wells, Addictions Therapist, LCSW, CADAC. “She’s done very well so far,” Wells says.

“After evaluation, we put her into our Addictions outpatient therapy group. The intention is to help her stay sober and also develop some long-term sobriety skills which she can use for the rest of her life.”

“I had heard a lot of great things about Meridian,” Chloe says. “There aren’t too many programs out there where people actually care. “If it wasn’t for Meridian, I wouldn’t be sober. Period.”

Tomfohrde says that some on the outside still view addiction as a choice.

“A lot of people say, ‘Well, you just need to choose to have different behavior.’ The staff and I view at it very much from a disease model,” she says. “I really don’t believe that anyone would willingly do that to themselves. It’s like saying, ‘Buck up and get over your diabetes.’”

Chloe spent 18 days in the program, three days a week for six weeks, for three hours a day.

“She seemed very eager,” says Steve Wells. “Initially, I think she’d been through enough, especially with the impact on her son. She started to realize that she needed to get something done right away.”

Since graduating from the program, Chloe is doing well. She gives the credit to Meridian, Steve Wells, and the Suboxone treatments.

“It (Suboxone) has helped me a lot, and I’ve actually started writing down goals, instead of just saying, I’m going to do this or I’m going to do that,” she says, smiling.

“It’s like the greatest feeling in the world. I actually feel now, whether it’s hurt or it’s anger or it’s happiness.

“I would not take back anything, any experience, my drug use, anything that’s ever happened to me. I’m a stronger and a better person because of it.”

Tags: new , success story
Location: Blogs Parent Separator News

Email, Magazine and News Sign-up

We invite you to sign up to receive special communication from us. This includes email, magazine and news, highlighting the Meridian Health Services events and programs, as well as other special announcements.