Meet Recovery Rockstar Brittany

I am a child of a person who struggled with mental health issues and who also battled addiction.  Like many other people who experience trauma, it affected every part of my life. It changed how I related to people, it inhibited my ability to form solid relationships and relate to others, and changed how I controlled and expressed my emotions.

For the most part let’s just say that I lived my life stuck in a comfortable hiding place that I created for myself. I anxiously operated day to day with a compulsion to maintain a sense of control over my life.

In high-school I had great friends. I participated in school related programs, activities, and sports. When I started to experiment with drugs and alcohol things changed quickly, but for the first time in my life I felt free. I couldn’t feel the weight of all of the baggage that I had been hiding. My anxieties felt like they had been lifted. My fear and worry disappeared. I was finally able to be myself.

So I thought.

It didn’t take long for my life to look completely different, for my personal standards to change, and for old friends to start asking me what the hell I was doing with my life.


I was kicked out of my house, living in someone’s basement, and lost a job I had kept for years because I was caught stealing. I dropped the rest of my classes my senior year of high school after my absences piled up and I fell too far behind. I lost my scholarship to community college, and wasted money that had already been put down for my cap and gown.

But I didn’t care.

To push aside any feelings of shame I used more and more. I experimented with all kinds of drugs and spent most of my time feeling nothing; and that felt familiar and I was comfortable.

Ultimately after a major surgery that I had when I was 21, I became dependent on pain killers and benzodiazepines.

No longer was it a game of not wanting to feel, it became an empty place filled with a desire of not wanting to be.

I didn’t want to be here, on earth.

By the time I got to the end of my addiction experience, I had no desire to gamble on myself. I truly felt like I was a lost cause, and I wasn’t a strong enough person to commit to a real change.

I had spent almost ten years wrecking cars, finding lawyers, sitting in jails, hurting myself and others, stealing, pushing everyone who loved me away, lying, and continuously trying to defend the way that I was living.

My motivation for change was when I was faced with losing my son who was born when I was 18.


I attended a Celebrate Recovery meeting in 2007 a few months after my last overdose.

I went every single week that first year and did homework every single day.  I read a lot of books, I changed my phone number and also took trips downtown to a treatment center.

Fast forward almost ten years and here we are. Sober life is good, full, and plentiful. I thank God that He gave me the strength to make it through the first year, and He has sustained me every day since.

I have learned that addiction may have become my most immediate and urgent problem, but it wasn’t ever my primary problem. My first year was spent unpacking, learning to accept what is, allowing myself to let go, and offering forgiveness to myself and others. After facing my own truths, and after taking responsibility for my own actions, I was finally able to allow my healing to begin.

Through this healing process I have uncovered who I am, and I like her! I have been gifted new chances every single day to enjoy this life and all that comes with it.

I am now happily married to my bestie, we have three young boys. I am mommy first, and do my best to help other people who need to hear the truth: There IS hope for them too.

The advice that I would give to anyone considering a huge life change? I would tell them to try and believe that they are capable of change. We are not our past, we are not what society thinks we are- we are people who are resilient, and worthy of living well.

Brittany Shelton