Tuesday, February 25, 2014


During high stress situations such as...getting robbed by my roommate...my midbrain goes CRAZY. I get intense cravings to use drugs. 

Drug cravings are the absolute worst kind of cravings. It's probably 10000 times more intense than your craving for a bite of Better Than Sex Cake while you are on a diet. They suck bad. 

When stress hits, the thoughts go crazy. I start rationalizing and almost think that I actually deserve to use to help me handle the stress better.

It's so intense that sometimes I get thoughts that tell me that if I don't use, then I will die. It's my body and mind's only defense mechanism against stress. It's the only way I honestly feel like I can handle stress sometimes. Drugs have become part of my fight or flight defense mechanisms against stress. To turn those cravings off, it seems almost impossible. That's why addicts relapse, even when they don't want to use anymore. These cravings are so hard to ride through. 

When I crave now, I have a plan already in place. First, I tell someone I trust that I am craving. Then, I make an appointment with my therapist to talk about the triggers that are causing this craving. If I feel like I can't even live until the next minute without using, then I go to a safe place. Usually that is spending time with my nieces or my family in general. I also plan the next few days full of positive activities with people I trust. I always work in some moving meditation such as running or snowboarding so that I can process my thoughts and feelings better. With all of these plans in place, hopefully I can ride through the craving. 

Another option is to "play the tape forward". I also use this regularly. This means that I play the scenario in my head. Play forward what would happen if I used again. Usually this ends in disaster and won't help the stressful situation. 

I also frequently visit my rock bottom. Since I remember exactly where I was and what I felt when I was at my very lowest point. I can visualize myself and feel exactly how I felt at that point. This helps me remember why I don't want to use ever again. 

I am so lucky to have so much love and support around me. When I crave, I am able to have a supportive person close to me and someone who I trust to tell that I am craving and want to use. 

Riding through the cravings last week was a huge step forward in my recovery. I am 41 days sober from my last relapse. Heck yes!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Carry On

Everyone close to me knows that this past year has just been one crazy thing after another. 

I never wrote about this, because it wasn't my story to tell, but back in June I experienced an insane freak accident. I was hiking with my friends, and a huge boulder fell on this girl right next to me. Like our shoulders were touching, and a 300 pound rock smashed her face and broke her femur. It easily could have been me that got smashed. It was insane. I had to get PTSD therapy for like a week after that experience. 

I share that example, because I have had so many random freak accident type things happen to  me this past year. It has been one test after another. 

This past week, I have been stressed out of my mind. I couldn't sleep. I couldn't be in my house. I got told that my clothes were gone and nobody knows where they are. That's what happens when your robbers are high on Heroine when they steal your stuff- they don't know what they took or where it is. Anyway, when that happened, I was overwhelmingly physically sick. When I get stressed, my body wigs out. I threw up that entire day. The stress just pushed me over the edge. 

Luckily, I have a mom that knows how to make things better. We spent that night buying new clothes online. She kept encouraging me that it would be okay and we were going to make it through this. She was right. 

Finally, I was able to accept the situation. It sucked. The reason I was so bummed about the clothes was because they meant something. They were all clothes I bought after rehab. I was finally able to enjoy my life and my money and have a fresh start. They represented that fresh start, and then they were taken from me right under my nose. The whole situation just completely sucked. But, that's life and I am stronger than all of that crap.

I finally accepted it and decided to carry on. Once I was able to accept it, my body calmed down. I left work early and went to bed at 3:00pm (I'm sick too, so I needed rest). I slept through the entire night. I woke up feeling SOOO much better. My body and mind are finally at peace. I will be okay. This is just one more challenge that I overcame. 

If I can overcome an addiction, I can overcome anything.

Carry on!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014


Over the past couple days I have been torn. 

I was the victim of someone's active addiction. I saw the other side. I felt what it's like to be hurt by an addict. 

So then there's the question: does she deserve to be faced with a felony charge for the theft, or does she deserve some compassion from a fellow addict? 

No, I never did the things that she did. BUT, I did hit rock bottom. I will never forget what the bottom feels like. It's a place that sometimes I visit when I get a craving or contemplate using again. It's a place that I go sometimes to reflect, learn, and remember how dark and sad that place is. 

So, here lies the dilemma. For some reason, I can't press charges, but I couldn't really understand why. 

I believe this experience became a very personal learning experience for me and my recovery. 

She is at rock bottom. She is sick and needs help. I know what that's like. This is my opportunity to show compassion and understanding towards what addiction really is. It really is a scary scary disease that can be hard to overcome. BUT, it can be overcome. Miracles can happen. 

So, not only am I showing compassion towards her illness and problem; that also allows me to have more compassion towards myself and my mistakes. I didn't make mistakes like she did. But, I did hurt people and make mistakes of my down during my active addiction. Addictions cause people to do crazy crazy things. 

Through this experience, I am able to grow in my own recovery. I am able to have more compassion and love towards myself. I'm not a terrible person with an addiction. I am someone who has a really scary and bad disease, and I work every day to make sure I stay on top of it and manage it. I believe in the process of recovery, and I believe that if someone at rock bottom truly wants to change, it is absolutely possible. I am proof of that.

I am grateful for experiences like this. Even though it has been really hard, it has taught me more about myself and my own recovery. I was able to overcome a difficult situation without using drugs. That's HUGE. Probably the first time in about 8 years that I was faced with chaos and didn't turn to drugs for comfort. I am getting better and better every day! 

Saturday, February 15, 2014


I am seriously still in shock about this. 

About a week ago, I got a new renter in my house. She seemed like a really cute girl. I met her parents who seemed like really nice people, and it honestly felt like everything was just falling into place. I was really excited to get some renters in here to help cover some of the costs and have some new friends up here in SLC. Everything seemed great with this new girl and she seemed like she would be a good fit. 

Or so I thought.

Yesterday morning, I couldn't find my brand new watch. This was really unusual, because if you know me really well, you probably also know that I am very OCD about where my stuff goes. I HATE losing things, therefore I make sure everything is put away correctly.

I went to work and was still bothered. I had no idea where my new watch was and it was bugging me that I couldn't remember. I was so annoyed, that I decided to go home during my lunch to find it. I got home and searched everywhere, but it was nowhere to be found.

Then, I realized my ipod that is usually on my nightstand was also missing. How annoying! When did I ever lose two expensive things at once?

Then, I looked for a new shirt I bought just a few days prior. That was missing too. By this time, I was freaking out. I NEVER lose stuff, so to lose this many things wasn't normal. Next, I realized my new pants and leggings were missing. I checked everywhere. 

I looked under my bed to see if my clothes fell under there. That's when I realized my longboard was gone.

There was only one person who had access to my room: The new roommate. 

I decided to send a casual text to her asking if she had seen my watch around. She lied and said she didn't. Then, I said, "Actually, a lot of stuff is missing, so I am just going to call the police." That's when I got a confession. 

Apparently, she was a Heroine addict and pawned off my longboard and ipod to pay off some dealers she owed money to. WHAT IN THE WORLD?! Seriously...my life. 

Also, she left her friend in my house for about a half an hour and the friend decided she wanted a new wardrobe and ripped of half of my clothes. Like I wouldn't notice half my clothes were missing...most of them I have bought in the past few months. 

Today, I got a whole garbage bag of my clothes back, and I'm still missing a bunch. 

Like I said, I'm still just shocked. 

I'm supposedly getting everything back Monday. I hope. I really just want my stuff back. Here's some clothes that are still gone: 

This cute cute silk SUPER expensive top from the Loft I just got. 

One of my favorite shirts.

My favorite pearl snap

My new leggings

These stripped pants

The tank top from this outfit. 

The shirt in this pic that I wore ONCE. 

Those are just a few that I have pictures of me wearing them. I'm SUPER OCD about my clothes, so luckily I think I made a pretty good list of everything that's gone. Keep me in your prayers!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Recovery Check In Part 2

Lately, I have been told that I seem more like myself, look so healthy, look really happy, my story is so inspirational, etc. 

I really really appreciate those comments, because the honest truth is that recovery is REALLY hard. I recently told my friend that I feel like I am walking around with a loaded gun to my head every single day that whispers to me all the reasons why it should go off. 

Every day I have to tell myself, "I am not using drugs today." That mantra is probably said once an hour at this point. 

I am once again 30 days sober. It feels SO good to make it this far. At the same time, sometimes instead of feeling like I am 30 days away from my relapse, I feel like I am 30 days closer to my next relapse. That's the honest truth.

Everything triggers me:

Certain hoodies I always wore when I was high. 

Jamba juice/Naked Juice- I always drank these when using, because the high vitamin C enhances most drugs. 

A LOT of songs that I would listen to.

Sometimes I attach myself to a lot of chaos so that I can use the high stress as an excuse. I tell myself I deserve to check out for a day or two. 

If I think of a certain memory or read a blog/journal post that reminds me of using. 

Driving past Walgreens. 

Certain movies that talk about or involve prescription drug use. 

So there's just a few examples. The list goes on and on. 

My point is this: Sometimes every single minute of every single day I have to stand up and say that I am not going to go down that path. I'm not fixed. I am definitely out of the woods, but I will always have to be on guard. I can't  be lazy with my recovery plan. I always plan something positive to do each day and spend time with positive people so that I can keep myself safe. 

I have started to write my book. I have six months. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

A Mormon Addict

This subject is something that many of you readers have talked to me about. Being a Mormon and being an Addict at the same time.  

First of all, this is a very common silent epidemic that really needs to gain a voice within society and every religion. 

Second of all, it is a living hell. 

My experience is something that I believe happens to many people. You have a medical condition and you are given highly addictive medications to mask whatever condition you have.

 In my case, I was given 120 fioricet (my drug of choice) a month, meaning I took 4 a day starting in December 2012. Well, I took this dose as prescribed for 4 months. After 4 months, I found myself obsessing over this medication. I wanted more and more as time went on. After awhile, I couldn't "feel normal" without taking fioricet. If you talked to me between January 2013-May 2013, I was most likely high on my prescribed dose of fioricet and don't remember talking to you. 

So it wasn't like I knowingly began taking this highly addictive medication as an addict who was seeking a new drug. I became an addict of this medication by taking it as prescribed. Sure, I had taken pills recreationally over the past few years, but it was NOTHING like this addiction to fioricet. This was a whole different animal.

So what was I supposed to do? I did what I was taught and avoided the presence of evil such as: street drugs, coffee, smoking, sex, etc as a member of the LDS church- yet I became an addict. 

So now what? 

This was my prayer for months: "God please take this away, I will do anything to make this go away..." I prayed the hardest I have ever prayed in my life and it wouldn't go away. I still wanted it all day every day. 

Then, I began to feel like a failure. Like I had failed God and myself. That's when I began to distance myself from the church. I didn't belong anymore. I had become addicted to prescription drugs and didn't belong in the church anymore. 

This is the problem. There is such a negative connotation towards addicts and mental health issues in the church that are unknowingly shaming people who have these issues and making them hide behind their problems, rather than getting help. 

Why aren't there more discussions about this? Why isn't there more love and understanding towards these struggles? I think there needs to be more education and understanding within society and religion to allow people with these issues to get help.

To Be Continued... 

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Rock Bottom

Over the course of 2013, I thought I hit rock bottom about a dozen times. I would feel the effects of the mistakes that I was making and vow to change. I would vow that I hated the drugs and wasn't ever going to take them anymore. In the addiction world, this is called "white knuckling it" and it rarely works. I was convinced that I didn't need therapy or rehab to change, I was strong enough to do it on my own. After my scary overdose, I  was absolutely convinced that I didn't need any rehab, I was never going to take drugs again. That lasted about 2 weeks before I took more. After that, I decided I couldn't white knuckle any longer, but I didn't want to live in rehab- so I compromised and began the day treatment program at Turning Point. 

The day treatment program started out great! I loved being able to go home and have my afternoons and evenings available to do what I wanted to do. But, about a week into the program, I found myself driving to the pharmacy on my way home and picking up some more drugs. 

That Tuesday, I took half a bottle of Soma. After that, I decided that rehab wasn't for me and I wasn't ready to give up the drugs. Over the course of the next 3 days, I took a total of 60 pills. One night, my therapist even came over and sat with me just to make sure I didn't die or have a seizure or anything. It was an intense few days. 

So here I was: a rehab drop out. I pushed everyone close to me away and hid in my house gulping down pill after pill for the next 72 hours. This was what my life had come to and I didn't see a way out.

Then, something crazy happened. I was laying on my couch in a daze and I saw two VERY CLEAR paths in front of me. One path was death. The other path was life. Shaking and crying, I reluctantly called my sister, parents, and therapist to come to my house. 

I chose the harder path: Life. I told them that it was time to get help and I was going to do whatever it takes to get better. I called my boss and quit my job, so that I wouldn't use my job as an excuse to leave rehab early. I was fully committed to getting better. 

From that point forward, I worked my butt off. I worked harder than I have ever worked for something in my entire life. I didn't spend any time thinking about the outside world and I rarely even called family or friends, because I was so focused on the program and the process of getting better. 

I am so grateful that I hit rock bottom. I am even more grateful that even when death seemed like the easier choice for me, I decided to choose life. 

Even now, during early recovery, I have to choose life every single day. Recovery really sucks. You have to really want it, because detoxing  makes me really sick probably about 85% of the time. Some days I sleep all day, because my body is healing. Sometimes I randomly throw up. I have a really hard time remembering thing sometimes, because my brain is healing. Some days it really seems like it would be easier to just use again, but I know that's the addiction talking, not me. It's too hard for me to say that I will never do drugs ever again, but I CAN say that I won't take drugs today. 

Sorry, this post was really long, but I really wanted to document this while it's so fresh in my mind. Thank you so much for all the love and support, it really means the world to me. 

Monday, February 10, 2014

How I Found The Motivation To Change

Many people have asked me how I found the motivation to change and overcome my addiction. 

This post is something that makes me very emotional, because it is truly dear to my heart. I had to tell my mom my thoughts on this subject before I could share this story on my blog, because I felt she had the right to know how her support changed the ball game for me. I personally believe she was inspired.

A couple of weeks before I went to rehab, I didn't care about myself. I didn't believe anyone else cared either. I remember telling a close friend that my parents didn't even care and I was all alone in this struggle. She said, "Just trust in your parents. Give them a shot." So, I reluctantly began to talk to my parents more and more about my struggles and lean on them for the support that I felt I needed. 

When I went to rehab, I was completely lost. I felt empty inside and didn't think I could ever be the Kelli everyone knew and loved ever again. I had no sense of who I was or what I wanted. My entire life for almost an entire year revolved around trying to escape life and escape who I was. 

Then, something amazing happened. My mom began to reaffirm my identity. Almost every time we would talk when I was in rehab and even after rehab, she would say, "Kelli, I know you can do this. I know how strong you are, you just need to rely on your inner strength that is already there. Every challenge you have faced up to this moment prepared you to overcome this challenge. This is just like the last six miles of a marathon. Reach inside yourself and find that person who pushed through the last six miles, because that's who you truly are."

Those words changed everything. I really did reach inside of myself and find that person and that strength that I had. I gave it everything I had in rehab. I pushed myself to face my demons. I didn't go to rehab to completely change who I was. I went to find my core again. To find my inner strength and courage to overcome this challenge. 

People have asked me how they can support a loved one who has an addiction. My advise is this: don't tell them they need to change. Tell them to reach inside themselves and find that core of who they truly are. Finding my true identity again was exactly what I needed to overcome the challenges I was facing. 

I truly believe every part of my journey was inspired by God. I know my mom was inspired to share those thoughts that changed my journey. I know I was inspired to humble myself enough to say that I needed help when I hit rock bottom. I truly believe everything that I share on this blog is inspired by God and might help at least one person who reads these posts. 

Love your addict. Don't push them away. Love them and tell them that they are capable. They can beat this thing. They have that deep strength to overcome their struggles. It will change their lives, just like it changed mine!

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Picture Phone Dump

Whatever you do, don't get the flu virus that's been going around. Awful. Just awful. I have so many thoughts and things fluttering around my little brain that I will save for later on. Right now, just enjoy random pics from the iphone:

These leggings are the best thing that ever happened to my winter. I'm all about patterned skinny pants this winter. As some of you may know, every Monday on my lunch, I go to Fashion Place and buy something for myself to beat the Monday blues. My therapist said she fully supports it!

Loving my Monday lunch finds. 

I have also developed a cross-addiction with phone cases. I love them!

Living near Snowbird is one of the top ten best choices I have ever met. 
 My Broncos nails didn't work out too well. Don't you love my ring? It's in honor of my Grandpa Barton who wore a turquoise ring that was just super rad.

This lamp has now been passed three generations. My first piece of inheritance. 

Two reasons I love this pic: She's wearing her classic football jersey (she refuses to wear anything that isn't a jersey) AND she totally passed out when we were watching the Bachelor together!

My latest house decorating project. 

I FINALLY found the perfect kitchen table! I'm obsessed. I just realized this entire post has been me showing off things I have recently bought. I have a problem...

This gorgeous girl came to town this weekend and graced me with her presence. We shopped (of course), ate yummy food, and watched the Olympics! So much fun!

Get ready for some super rad posts in the addiction series coming up this week!

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Fully Committed

So since I have been out of rehab, I relapsed one night a few weeks ago. I had one Dr. left that didn't know I was an addict and would still call in my drug of choice about once a month. 

On a particularly hard day, I called the Dr. and within 30 minutes got 30 of the meds I wanted- it was that easy. I even was able to take just the prescribed amount. The scary thing is that even by just taking the prescribed dose, I blacked out for almost 24 hours. That was my body's way of telling me that even on the prescribed dosage, my body could no longer handle this medicine in my body. 

Crap hit the fan. My boss knew and was furious because I was in no shape to drive to work. My day count had to start all over. Everything I worked for over the past few months just ended in that split second. When I relapse, I have a REALLY hard time with the shame that follows. I have a really hard time climbing out of that shame hole.  But I did. I just learned a very important lesson: drugs weren't fun anymore. There was nothing fun about that relapse. I didn't even get high. I just completely blacked out right after I took the medicine. Taking them didn't solve my problems or make my day better. BUT, over the past few weeks, I still couldn't call that particular doctor and tell him that I was an addict and not to call in those drugs or any drugs like those ones anymore. 

Until yesterday. Yesterday, I finally called him and said no more. I decided not to leave that door open any more. It was too easy to get them when my addictive brain hit full gear. I finally committed to sobriety for good and it seriously feels like a million pounds are lifted off my shoulders. 

I won't be perfect at recovery, and I'm not even sure what that would look like. Recovery is messy. A lot of trial and error. There's no specific set of rules. I always cry to my therapist and say, "If you would just tell me what to do, then I will do it- I will follow the specific path and pass the final exam at the end!" She always gently reminds me that's not the case. It looks different for everyone. I have no idea what my recovery will look like, but I do know that I had a huge victory this week by closing that final door with that last Dr. 

Here's to many many more mistakes, even more lessons learned, and EVEN MORE victories!

Sunday, February 2, 2014

My Precious Gift

This picture was taken while I was in rehab. My parents came up every chance they had to visit. Like I said, my parents have been my rock these past few months as I have gotten sober. 

I want to share an amazing spiritual experience I have had the past few months. 

Like I said, I was very moved by Elder Holland's conference talk. I wrote him and told him about my struggles. I said that I was so ashamed of my sins that I didn't feel worthy of God's love and the Atonement of Christ. I had so much inner shame, and I also had people who I was very close to add to my shame by harsh words. My thoughts and their words combined left me helpless. I wanted to get back into the church, but I had so much shame that I didn't know how. 

In Elder Holland's letter to me, he asked if it would be okay for him to contact my Bishop and tell him about my situation to help me head in the right direction. I wrote back and said he could contact him, but I was so ashamed that I didn't know if I would ever come back. 

Well, sure enough, my Bishop called me and asked if he could come over to my house and meet with me. I agreed to his request, but still was anxious and full of shame. I didn't think I would ever be able to come back. 

The next day, my Bishop and Stake President came over. They asked me to tell them my story. I told them, full of shame. I thought for sure they were judging me and wouldn't accept me. Then, the most amazing thing happened. 

After I was done with my story, the Stake President said, "Alright, well that is over and in the past. You are forgiven. Welcome back!"

I was shocked! A million pounds came off my shoulder. I was forgiven and could come back. I felt the spirit of the Atonement so strong in that moment. I truly was forgiven. Everything was in the past and over with. 

What a great example of forgiveness. It can almost be second nature to hold onto anger towards a person even if what they did is in the past. We put so much shame on each other by not accepting apologies and forgiving each other. 

I am so grateful for this example in my life and I now will strive to be more forgiving of others and not placing shame on them. Shame is toxic and can really bring a person down or take them to a dark place. 

Forgive. Love. Move Forward.