Meet Us Monday: Reva, House Manager

Substance use disorder is difficult to overcome, especially in the case of Reva, where she began withdrawing just 36 hours after being born due to her mom’s history with drug use and addiction. Though it’s no easy journey, Reva reminds those struggling with addiction that it can be done.
Reva is originally from North Carolina. When she was only two years old, her parents divorced and during her childhood, her mom was an addict who was never home and her dad was in and out of the prison system. Because of her mom’s absence, Reva moved in with her dad and was raised by her two older brothers. Her dad offered her first beer at the age of 9 and got her high for the first time at age 11, beginning her long battle with addiction.
Despite this, Reva graduated from high school with an advanced diploma and went on to college to receive her associates degree. But as her drug use continued, it started to overtake her life. When she tried heroin and got hooked immediately, she lost everything, such as her car and kids. Her mom decided to take away her kids but pleaded that she get her life together. “You took my only reason to get my life together away from me, so why?” she responded. The father of her two children decided to take Reva to court for custody of the kids, but she didn’t fight it. At this time she knew she had lost herself, only further growing her addiction. “I can’t take care of myself, how am I supposed to take care of them?” Reva explained.
She OD’d before her pretrial, which in turn caused her to receive a felony charge of possession and went to jail. She prayed for her addiction to go away; at this point she was getting high, not because she wanted to, but because she had to if she wanted to be able to do everyday things. Reva realized she couldn’t keep living that life. She always told herself she didn’t want to be like her mom with her kids, but she was doing almost exactly that and that’s when she realized that she needed help.
As she began talking to one of the instructors at REAL LIFE, she had a spiritual awakening. She always questioned why God wouldn’t answer her prayers, but the instructor reminded her that going to jail and finding out about REAL LIFE was God’s way of answering her prayers. Everything happens for a reason”, Reva stated. “I’m glad I went to jail because I’d probably be dead right now”. Since being in the program since December, Reva states it’s a blessing waking up everyday and not feeling sick.
When asked how has REAL LIFE helped her during her journey, she stated “what have they not done for me is really the question”. What she likes about REAL LIFE is that the people there actually care. They help others like Reva understand addiction and drug use and have classes such as for anger management and learning about self care. Reva saw that the program is not like “instructions out of a book”. They want everyone to be successful in every aspect of life; even for those who aren’t in the program anymore. Since her time at REAL LIFE, everything she lost before she’s slowly recovering. Reva has a great job, just recently bought a car, and has had the opportunity to talk to her kids after seeing the progress she has made thus far. May 24th marked her 11th month of being clean and she’s looking forward to this new step in her journey.
“Now being in the program and learning with the coping tools I have now, I wish I would’ve had that then. I wish somebody would have told me I didn’t have to do half the things I did, because maybe things would’ve turned out better”. Many people don’t believe addicts can turn their life around, but Reva shows that anything is possible. “Instead of being addicted to drugs now, I’m addicted to how better can I make my life”. Her goals are to reach financial stability to be able to live a more comfortable life and help others who are struggling with addiction and feel like there’s no hope. “I want people to know it is possible and you don’t have to die from addiction. I want them to feel like they have a chance and there are people willing and waiting to help them when they’re ready.”