Breaking Down the Opioid Crisis: Perspective from a person in recovery

Cindy Powell is a certified recovery support specialist for People Engaged in Recovery (P.E.I.R.).
Updated: May. 12, 2022 at 6:00 PM CDT
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DOTHAN, Ala. (WTVY) - News 4 is wrapping up our series: Breaking Down the Opioid Crisis. We have shared a legal perspective, a rehab perspective, and now we are sharing perspective from an addict in recovery.

Cindy Powell is a certified recovery support specialist for People Engaged in Recovery (P.E.I.R.) and for a living she shares how she overcame some her darkest times.

“We didn’t choose this,” Powell said. “Who would want to choose to live a life of just constant turmoil?”

Living in turmoil and surviving to tell her story today. Powell’s alcohol and substance abuse began at a young age.

“I started drinking at the age of 12,” Powell said. “It led on to other things as I got older.”

When her father passed away she said she dove head on into her addiction. The grimmest of her journey was in 2018.

“I lost custody of my children throughout this,” Powell said. “I became homeless.”

About two months after the passing of her father, Powell reached out to a detox facility, went to treatment, is now sober.

“I’ve been sober now for almost four years,” Powell said.

Reaching victory, that at times seemed impossible.

“I was able to get sober three months before my mother passed away, and I just can’t believe the relationships I have back with my children today and just the support I have with the recovery community,” Powell said.

Powell has spent most of her recovery, working in recovery. She is on a mission to break the stigma by sharing her testimony to save others.

“It’s great giving back, because you can’t keep it,” Powell said.

P.E.I.R. is an resource to help people in south Alabama find their path to recovery from substance abuse disorder. Advocates, like Powell, are trained to share their own personal story.

“It’s hard for someone who is not in recovery to really reach that level of and remember that desperation that we had before we got sober,” Powell said.

But it is not always easy being so vulnerable.

“I get very emotional when I speak about that, and to just see where someone is where I was at one time, homeless on the streets, lost custody of their children, it’s overwhelming at times to be able to help these people suffering from the same disease I suffer from,” Powell said.

She is working to help others overcome addiction and create their story of sobriety.

“Someone’s life could totally change,” Powell said. “I mean I know that point of desperation. I know that reaching out to God, a higher power, and reaching out and just begging for help, and I know where they’re at. I’ll never forget it, never forget it.”

Through the desperation, the loneliness, the pain, Powell said this has all made her stronger person.

“You can get sober, anybody can get sober,” Powell said. “It’s just surrendering. You have to surrender. You cannot beat this with willpower and strength. It’s surrender.”

If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction please call the P.E.I.R. 24/7 helpline at (888)421-7374.

All calls are confidential.

P.E.I.R. will be hosting a Walk to Recovery on September 17th at the Dothan Civic Center. This will be held from 1 to 6 p.m.

For more information on the walk or about P.E.I.R., click here.

Copyright 2022 WTVY. All rights reserved.

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