A 26-year-old woman has highlighted the harrowing effects of drug addiction by sharing her before and after photos on social media.
Dejah Hall, from Arizona, shared the eye-opening images of herself online to celebrate four years of being clean from heroin and meth.
‘The top left is me in full blown addiction, I was a terrible iv user and like most, progressively got worse,’ she wrote on Facebook.
‘The bottom left is me the day I was arrested 12-6-12 and coincidentally the day I finally surrendered to God!’
Speaking to Daily Mail, Ms Hall said her addiction started with pain medication when she was just 17 years old.
‘I was partying with a friend and I took a pill for the first time and due to stress and issues at home it just went downhill from there,’ she said.
‘I was taking up to six prescription pills at a time every single day before I reached a point at 20 years old where I wanted to get off them.’
Ms Hall started attending a methadone clinic to assist her but missed three days due to the death of a friend’s mother.
‘I was very close to her and was struggling with that so I missed three days in a row – something you can’t do. I was kicked out of the clinic so I ended up deciding to quit cold turkey and thought it would be okay,’ she explained.
‘The withdrawals were horrendous and after eight days it became physically debilitating – I couldn’t move my hands and it was crippling. I was constantly throwing up.’
Ms Hall, who was becoming increasingly separated from her family, said everything became worse when a friend of friend convinced her to try heroin for the first time.
‘I was throwing up and I remember he was smoking heroin. I told him it was disgusting and to stop but he was telling me to take just one hit to stop the withdrawals,’ Ms Hall said.
‘The addict side of me came out and I said I would just take one but one wasn’t enough. By the second hit I fell in love with the high. It was numbing.
‘I couldn’t stop. All I wanted to do was numb myself. I wanted it so desperately that nothing else mattered. Every minute of the day I just wanted to get high.’
Ms Hall fell into the depths of heroin addiction before progressing to meth.
To numb herself from a number of painful memories, Ms Hall became increasingly reliant on drugs and surrounded herself with people who felt the same.
‘I was a monster in every way. I didn’t care who I hurt – I didn’t care about anything anymore. I didn’t have anyone else or family to look to at that point,’ Ms Hall said.
‘By the time I started injecting heroin I didn’t care whether I lived or died.
‘I knew it was dangerous and I had started selling drugs then as well but you just stop caring. I was doing heroin multiple times a day and would often sleep for days on end.’
From April to December, 2012, Ms Hall was injecting both meth and heroin.
‘I was killing myself. I was very skinny at around 95 pounds (43 kilograms) but I still felt like I looked beautiful. That is the deception of the drug… you are not beautiful on that stuff,’ Ms Hall said.
‘I was stuck in this cycle. I was so disgusting and skinny and when I look back at that person I just can’t connect with her.
‘During that time I felt like superman. I felt invincible. But I hated who I was and I hated how disconnected I was with myself.’
Ms Hall continued to fall into ‘bad crowds’ and felt trapped in a vicious cycle she felt would never end.
The turning point came in December 2012, when Ms Hall visited her grandfather.
‘It was my grandpa’s birthday and when I saw him I immediately went to give him a hug and tell him I loved him and that I was okay,’ Ms Hall recalled.
‘He sat there in his wheelchair and he told me that I was hurting him.
‘I had been there for him very much before my addiction and after all the drugs I was more separated from him. This was one of my biggest mistakes.’
Ms Hall went to the bathroom and cried and remembers looking at herself in the mirror and ‘seeing the monster I had become.’
‘I was just disgusted with the person I was and I broke down. I prayed and told God “look I don’t know if you’re real but I really need you to save me right now”,’ she said.
‘I went back out to my grandpa and we took some pictures and I told him “don’t worry, I’m going to be okay”.’
Just hours later, Ms Hall was arrested for possession of dangerous drugs and drug paraphernalia.
‘I was terrified when I was arrested. A part of me wanted to quit but the addict part of me was like “I’m not done yet, this is all happening way too fast”,’ she said.
Two weeks later, on the day Ms Hall was told she was going to jail, she found out her grandfather had passed away.
‘My little sister told me he wasn’t doing well but we did speak before he died and I told him I would never touch drugs again, I promised him I wouldn’t. It was a very difficult conversation to have,’ she said.
‘I quit cold turkey in jail. I had a choice – you can still get drugs in jail – but I was done.’
Ms Hall, who is now a mother, shared her transformation pictures to celebrate four years of sobriety and her brand new life.
‘It was a way for me to say “I did it”. In the top photo I was a bad heroin addict but I thought I was sexy and gorgeous and looking at them, especially the bottom one I can only see a broken person who has given up,’ she said.
‘Now I have accepted Jesus into my life and I have a beautiful and amazing little girl who is everything to me.
‘I am becoming a minister as well and hope to one day have my own church.’
Ms Hall is also close with her family and said they are back in her life ‘100 per cent.’
‘I don’t crave those drugs anymore. I don’t hang with those people anymore – people on those drugs don’t care. You don’t care who you hurt,’ she said.
Ms Hall is also using her newfound viral status to share her advice with people who may be in a similar situation and their family members.
‘Don’t give up if you are fighting for sobriety. There are avenues and outlets and it’s so important to ask for help. People are not mind readers,’ she said.
‘Family support is vital for an addict and it’s important for family members to not enable their loved ones but to also let them know they love them anyway. I felt as though I didn’t have that.
‘I am honoured that my story is reaching people and I am open for people to contact if they need help.’
SOURCE: Daily Mail, Laura House