I Lost My Beautiful Niece to An Overdose, But She Saved Other People’s Lives

Hi my name is Mandy and I’m a recovering alcoholic and addict. My anniversary date is September 30th 2010. That was the day that my life started to change and wonderful things started to happen.

I’m grateful to be alive and to have this life to live today. The last few years I have watched so many of my friends and family suffer from the loss of loved ones due to addiction. My beautiful niece Paige passed away from an overdose in December. My family’s heart aches from this loss and I am so tired of watching every family I know suffer from losing a loved one. I’ve been to several funerals over the last few years. Just a few weeks ago I went to my son’s best friend’s Joeys funeral who overdosed also.

I was at UNITE to Face Addiction in Washington DC and saw all the lives and people affected by this and we talked about change and how things were going to be better and it just seems to be getting worse. Life is precious and I’m grateful to be alive today and to have each day to live to try to pass the word and the message on to others that we do recover and there is a better way.

Today, I have hope. If you’re struggling reach out ask for help don’t be afraid to tell someone that you’re hurting. I don’t want to forget where I came from. There is a way up and out – don’t give up before the miracle happens.

I too was once hopeless helpless and lost. I couldn’t look myself in the mirror because I couldn’t stand what I had become. Today, I have a loving family who once didn’t want anything to do with me anymore. I have true friends that care about my welfare and want what’s best for me. I give back to the community that didn’t want anything to do with me  anymore, because I like to show people that we can change.

I don’t regret my past because I use it to help others. When I was in DC, I  had a sign that said families recover together and I have that on the wall today because that is the truth. The other side of the sign says we can prevent overdose deaths. Little did I know two years later, my niece would pass away from an overdose. She was a beautiful, loving, smiling, caring young woman who I miss so much.

I’m going to be a grandmother at the end of June and my daughter is naming her little girl after my niece. Paige donated her organs and saved several lives. That still doesn’t soften the pain from losing her from addiction.

I pray that I can continue to make a living amends to the people I love and stay clean and sober so I can be the person that God wants me to be today. Please… if you’re struggling don’t give up hope.