All this month, MDC will be sharing different individual’s journey in recovery for National Recovery Month. This week, Meghan Denney, shares her journey. Thank you, Meghan, for sharing and all you to do help those in addiction and recovery.

My name is Meghan Denney, I was born and raised here in Knoxville. I grew up a lot like other kids, I went to Farragut from Kindergarten through high school. High school is when things started to get really rocky for me. This was when I sought out to experiment with drugs and alcohol. Never in a million years having any idea where it would all lead me. By the time that I turned 17, I was going to a doctor that I knew prescribed pain pills. He wrote me Oxycontin that very first visit, along with 4 other narcotics. I had been searching for ease and comfort inside my own skin ever since I was young when I started feeling like I did not belong. Immediately after using I felt this belonging. Pain pills were an instant “cure all.” By the time I was in my first year of college it was clear that I had a habit to say the least. During that same year I was invited to be a part of the Debutante Ball. I can remember noticing then how much weight I had lost when I got fitted for my gown. I went to the actual ball high, never to suspect that this same girl was going to end up a heroin junkie. I say all this to emphasize that this is happening to everyone, everyplace. Not just the poor or under privileged. Addiction doesn’t care how much money your family has. It’ll take anyone.

The doctor visits continued for the next ten years. My life had become completely unmanageable. Along the way, I had gotten married to the man that I am still married to today. He had sold drugs before I met him and I was definitely on board. This only led to a greater addiction and more destruction. The darkness left us feeling that there was no way out.

I tried a lot of ways to get clean. Treatment centers, detox after detox, doctors, clinics, methadone, suboxone, and every other plan that I could come up with. Nothing ever worked for long term. Even in sobriety I was miserable. I remember thinking that this cannot be it. If this is sobriety, that I don’t want it. Not for any reason or facing any consequence. I would rather die than be locked inside my own head for one minute more. It was a living hell. I couldn’t use and be happy and I couldn’t live clean either. I cause so much destruction and pain to my family and people that cared about me that I had a hard time living with that too. We lost our children, which is my deepest heart wrenching regret. I would have easily died for our kids, but absolutely could not get sober for them. This is the insanity of the disease of addiction.

Years passed, and I was in and out of jail and institutions. Then I found myself pregnant again and I was in jail, detoxing cold turkey and laying on the floor of Knox county jail. As l look back on this time in my life I am so grateful for my time in jail.

It led me to the desperation that I needed in order for the miracle to happen. I will never forget this. A ray of sunshine came through my window just at the same time that I was looking into the mirror, unable to recognize the little girl that I was- filled with hatred for myself and my life, who I had become, I wanted to die. That’s when I got down on my knees and let that light touch my face. Before God, in prayer, I begged him while I wept to help me. Begging with him to either please just let me die or take this addiction from me. Giving up was a critical step for me. God came into my heart that day, it was not a flash of light and I was better moment, but hope had come into my heart. It was the beginning of a beautiful journey filled with his grace and mercy.

I had been given the gift of desperation; I was willing to try anything other than this. God set in motion a series of events that led me to Susannah’s House after my release. I want ordered to do this, I did it on my own.

At Susannah’s House, I was surrounded by love and support. I was in groups that God was not only welcome, but encouraged. This was something that I still wasn’t sure of at first. I was convinced yet. I felt like I had done way too much damage to my relationship with God to repair. These women gently kept nudging at that and the doors of my heart flew open. I just knew I needed to work on my spiritual condition. I wanted to. During a one on one session, with my therapist, she looked straight into my eyes and my heart and told me that Jesus loves me, he loves me just as I am-broken- and he forgives me. I needed to hear that at that moment, little by little I started to believe it. It wasn’t long after this that I dedicated my life to God during my baptism at Celebrate Recovery. This was one of my first spiritual experiences that I’ve had since I dedicated my life to a higher power- Jesus Christ. I’ve done a lot of work to try to heal and feel whole again. I believe for me I had to be honest with myself and deal with some things that I just didn’t want to even take a peek at, but I did. Also for me, my experience has been this recovery thing, is mind, body, and spirit. I have to address all of them.

I am an active participant in a fellowship of people who are just like me. Combining Susannah’s house and the twelve step fellowship of men and women that have done the work outlined in the big book, uncut and unedited which has taught me how to live a different type of life, it has taught me how to live again all together. Helping others that are still suffering is my mission now. Recovery touches every area of my life. Recovery looks like helping the stranger load their groceries in their car when it’s raining. It looks like being a better wife, a better mother, and getting away from thinking about myself. Recovery, for me, looks like being a better person every single day. Recovery looks like a new way to live, and my experience has been that this new way of living feels like I am awake again. I’m not having to be miserable sober. If I’m not doing the work and actually working a program, then for me just being sober doesn’t work. I become miserable again.

It is only because of God’s mercy and grace. He deserves all the credit. I believe with all of my heart that these amazing women at Susannah’s house were put in my life at exactly the right moment in time, without them I really don’t know if I would still be on this planet. Without the women of my fellowship I don’t know if I would’ve made it. Today I am free and happy. I can hold my head high. Today I live my life and I love hard. I give freely of what has been given to me. I just want to carry the message of hope to those still suffering from any kind of addiction.