In honor of Recovery Month, staff of the city’s Substance Use Disorder Initiative Office (SUDI) held a cookout on the lawn of the American Legion and two speakers, who grew up in Revere, shared their stories of recovery and by sharing they ended the stigma by so many fighting the battle of addiction.
“I want to thank everyone for coming out and for celebrating recovery and letting the community know that it’s possible to recover,” said SUDI office director Julia Newhall.
Tina Hinojosa who successfully overcame her addiction, stood firm in addressing those attending the event and said that six years ago her life was horrible.
“I no longer wanted to go on,” she said. “I’m here to tell people there is light at the end of the tunnel, it is a feeling I truly cannot describe.”
Her journey into alcohol and addiction and then recovery began when she was 29 years old after her mother had passed away. She went into a severe depression and really just thought “I wanted to end it.” She started drinking to dull the pain of grief, soon she began using pills and harder drugs leading to an opiate addiction that in her words “brought her to her knees.”
Nothing mattered to her, not family or her business.
“I finally got the courage to go into detox and get some help,” she said. “That worked for a little while. Then I relapsed, went to detox again and relapsed. This went on for years. I couldn’t stay sober because I wasn’t taking responsibility for my actions.”
Almost six years ago she went into detox one last time.
“I was at the end of my rope. I wanted to have an intentional overdose because I just couldn’t take it anymore,” Hinojosa said. “One last time with my mother, angel, God or universe gave me that spark of hope to try one more time.”
She admitted the road to recovery has not been easy for her.
“There’s been pain and tears and feelings I had suppressed for 20 or 30 years,” she said. “I kept pushing forward because I had a 12-step recovery program. I had people around me who loved me.”
She admits that even now that there are times she would like to use again.
“The only difference now is that I don’t,” she said. “I wake up in the morning very grateful I have the life that I do today.”
She has repaired relationships with her family, she owns a yoga studio and accounting business.
Michael Leggiero was a heroin addict, who now works with others in recovery and celebrates eight years of being sober.
“I grew up in this city. It’s so important (to have this cookout) and it’s important to de-stigmatized this,” said Leggiero. “When I was going through my struggle and I was using I felt empty inside. I felt like I didn’t have anyone, I was disassociated, isolated, alone, I was fearful to tell my mom, my dad that I was an IV heroin user. I feared being looked at as a junkie.”
He lead the group in a moment of silence for the addict that will die tonight, the addict that can’t get into treatment and doesn’t know that there’s a way out.