Getting Clean: a story about addiction and the road to recovery

With an addiction to opiates and whatever drug she could find, Bianca Oliverio was given an ultimatum that would change her life forever. Either get into recovery or leave her family home for good—mom and dad had seen enough.  

Knowing she had pushed her parents to their limits, Oliverio finally decided to give recovery a shot. Hours later, her mom was at home finally getting what she thought would be a good night sleep. Then the phone rang. Her daughter had overdosed and was taken to hospital.  

Like many addicts, going to detox often starts with one last bender. For Oliverio, she mixed too many drugs and nearly died. Seeing her mom at the hospital when she woke up was a difficult realization.  

“It was something about the way she looked at me, that fear of losing me,” Oliverio said. “I needed to do something.”  

Her struggle with addiction, like many people’s stories, started at a young age. She was just in grade school when she and a few friends swiped some booze from one of their parents. That sort of behaviour continued into high school for Oliverio, who started smoking marijuana as well.  

She tried her best to stay away from any harder drug, recognizing her own addictive personality, but she eventually caved. She tried opiates one night when out with friends and, once again, found a substance that made her feel even more confident and happy.  

This new feeling of euphoria was more enticing than alcohol. Her downward spiral continued with percocets, oxycontin, fentanyl, even a little of that carfentalyn, she explained.  

“Life got really unmanageable real quick,” Oliverio said. “I knew what I was doing, but I was just at that point where I felt I could never get out of it. I was just OK with what I was doing. I thought I was fine.” 

Her drug use stretched more than five years. She got to the point where she was passing out at work and suffered considerable weight loss. Then there were the overdoses. She was on a clear path of destruction. 

“One minute I’m in college taking the child and youth workers program. Then all of a sudden I’m sitting in a dope house with people I’ve never met before,” Oliverio explained.  

But all along the way, she had a friend who constantly supported her and reminded her there was help out there. When she was ready, she gave him a call, but she still worried about her job, her friends. How would she keep it all together while in recovery? Her friend’s advice:  

“The job doesn’t matter, these people don’t matter,” she recalled. “If you continue to use, you will die.”  

Oliverio listened and got the help she needed. She’s been clean for almost a year and she’s surrounded by family and friends who support her. It’s been a long process to recovery, but she made it. 

She encourages anyone even thinking about getting help to do whatever they can.  

“It’s just that one leap of faith,” she said. “If you can just take that one step.”

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