Ride the Highs and Accept the Lows:

My Name is Rachel

by Dalen Brazelton

As mother of three Rachel arrived back home, she wanted nothing more than to lie down on the couch and take a nap after spending all day tearing up lawns and fixing piping in the hot sun. It's the middle of the week, she had already been laboring for three days. Dinner needed to be put on the stove as soon as possible and her youngest son needed help with his homework. Maybe if she could take a short break before getting up, she could find the motivation to continue on with her Wednesday. However, Rachel has different plans on Wednesday nights; she has class with other recovering addicts.

. . .

In September of 2015, Rachel was arrested on drug charges and three counts of child endangerment. Now, nearly five years later, she is well on the road to recovery. After a short stay in the local jail, the first steps of detox had begun. However, the mental recovery was far from over.

"From [probation], I was sentenced to recovery which included nine hours a week of outpatient therapy," said Rachel. "I did drugs for so long that my serotonin and dopamine levels are mixed up in my brain."

The current COVID-19 pandemic has affected everybody

differently. Rachel explains how it uniquely affects recovering

addicts.

Washakie County Court House is where Rachel was booked, jailed and sentenced to treatment.

Beginning the road to recovery is never easy. However, the mandatory attendance of classes seemed like a good place to start. Being the only addict of her kind, Rachel felt isolated at first, but quickly began to love and trust those who she started sharing more time with in class.

On top of being a single mother and trying to work enough to keep food on the table, there were many factors that lead to stress being a defining factor in Rachel's life. She says self help is the most important aspect of staying sane. Now, every Wednesday, she has others to help her on her journey.

"Alright ladies, highs and lows," rings from Rachel's laptop speakers. Each week, a group of women gather to discuss the highlights and struggles of their weeks; their "highs and lows" as they call it. This has been Rachel's life for the last five years. These meetings are confidential, and are meant to hold true meaning only to those who attend.

The first picture Rachel took with all of her children after being released from custody and beginning treatment. Photo courtesy of Rachel.

◀ A new way for Rachel to fill her time with a positive outlet was to

   create rock art. She creates and gives away different styles of art.

One thing everyone can take away from these classes are small changes they can implement to live a better life day by day. "Relapse is not something we frown upon in our group. . . We address it and move on," stated Rachel in an audio interview about the current COVID-19 pandemic and its effect on recovering addicts.

There is never a true end to a recovering addicts journey. Each day that one wakes up sober is just another step towards the right direction. While current situations impede this struggle more and more, all people can hope to do is ride the highs and accept the lows.

Rachel in the process of making a new piece of rock art while discussing her "highs and lows" for the week during class.

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