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Tania Margate
Written by Journey Team

My name is Tania. I am 47 years old and I live in Harpswell, Maine.

My recovery spans through different inpatient and long-term recovery houses, recovery programs, halfway houses, and a lot of women along the way willing to support me and my family.

Tania struggled with addiction until the very last moment of getting into recovery; starting the recovery journey and relapsing. She always thought of using drugs for just “one last time.” Tania describes her journey:

“I identify myself as an addict. It’s not necessarily from a specific thing. It didn’t matter what it was, I had to have more of it or something better. I was always looking for that next way to get myself out of my head. And away from my feelings.

I spent most of my life as a functioning addict and did not really have anything that was throwing me off the rails. Then I had a woman commit suicide in front of my car. As a result, I started making some really
bad choices.

One of my biggest shames throughout my life has been that I’ve been an emotional basket case and using helped me stop doing that.

I eventually burned through a lot of relationships, including family support. A lot of friends started avoiding me. My world got really small. It got to the point where my disease was ruling my life.

The only people I wanted in my life were the people that were going to use like me; so that I could use the way I wanted to. But I would rather use drugs by myself.

There’s that greed, that hunger, that running out feeling that just would make my skin crawl.

I decided that I was going to start being a middleman and start helping people get what they needed when they wanted it. so that I could have what I needed when I wanted.

That led me to some legal issues.

“I remember sitting at one point, shortly after a drug raid. I had some stuff that I had managed to hide from them. Everybody’s gone and I’m there all by myself and
I’m using.

Then all of a sudden it didn’t work anymore. I could feel this desperation coming up. And I’m looking around at this cold empty shell of a house. It wasn’t a home. All of a sudden, I had this moment of emotional clarity where I realized I was alone.

Eventually, I had an ex-boyfriend who had gotten clean the year before. He ended up looking me up. When he did, I was couch surfing and using as much as I possibly could. He didn’t give up. He just kept touching base with me.

One night, I ended up leaving the house I was staying at. I was heading out the door for him to pick me up. That’s when I started talking about serious recovery. He started making phone calls for me.

The universe really blessed me with this person—coming back and reaching down into the darkness and pulling me out.

He eventually found a spot where I could get into; Crossroads for Women and a 30-day program. I could go in on Monday and it was Friday. I snuck out of his house and had my one last time.

I don’t know how many last times I had.

“I ended up getting in and learned a lot from Crossroads. It was a great start. I ended up having 30 days clean. When I came out, I went to an anonymous meeting.

Unfortunately, I went with the person who allowed me to use the way I like because I thought he was my friend. I didn’t understand that people, places, and things have to change.

He was somebody that I could manipulate to give me what I wanted. I was like: I’m pretty good. I’ve got it under control. I can try just a little bit. That was the last time I used.

That was May 26, 2013.

After that, all of my real family and friends started coming out of the woodwork. I have my best friend. He let me stay at his place while I was going to Mercy Recovery. I was doing the dual diagnosis intensive outpatient program. That was great because it gave me the structure for my day.

I feel like that’s where my recovery started taking off. Having that day after day of other women in the house that were just like me. People that were teaching me skills that had helped them in recovery. They wanted people like me to know that there was a way out.

That was the beginning of falling in love with myself. I never had that in my whole life and then I went into the Mcauley Residence.

Mcauley Residence is a two-year program. It’s an amazing place where you’re not allowed to work when you first get there so you can focus directly on your recovery, which was so important for me at that time.

I always associate my self-worth with work. I had no idea how to just be; how to just exist and accept that balance that comes with a happy, healthy, full life.

Mcauley Residence taught me how to listen without thinking of what I’m going to say next. It taught me that I don’t have to be right and that my feelings aren’t facts.”

“I put myself in the middle of a 12-step program. I started becoming active and being of service. I had a job, I was riding my bicycle to work until I could get a car. I started getting those material things.

However, it’s not about the ‘stuff’, it’s about the fact that I’m organized enough in my spirit, heart, mind, and body to be able to be a functional adult.

The newest accomplishment in my life is that I am back to my career in nursing and have been for over a year. I recently met with the Maine State Board of Nursing to request an early release from my 5-year probation with them. It was a unanimous vote accepting my request.

This milestone has me reflecting on where I am now compared to then. It just blows my mind. My friendships and family relationships are thriving. My life is so big and beautiful. Not to say that there are no ups and downs. The difference is that now I can have my feelings instead of them having me.

For those struggling or new in recovery

“First, I was shown the switch between guilt and shame. Second, just because we feel something doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s true. Lastly, the biggest thing is to let yourself be loved.”

Journey Team

Journey Team