My name is Elliott Slattery, and my sobriety date is December 15th, 2012. At the time, age 26, I could never imagine a heroin addict like myself would ever amount to anything. Getting sober and being told I had to get a fulltime job — having not been gainfully employed for years — felt like hearing I wasn’t going to make it. I felt that my mental health and overall perspective would never allow me to live like a “normal” person. Yet I did what they told me, which was simply to “do my best.” I had no financial support from my immediate family, as my mother had passed away from an overdose, and my father was still in active addiction (he too would die from an overdose years later). It was up to me to build a life, a prospect that felt both scary and impossible.
Growing up, I was raised in New Castle, Delaware and Elkton, Maryland. These were the only places I knew. In this picture, I am in Paris, France. I never imagined I would be able to leave the Mid-Atlantic, let alone the country. This image illustrates that anything is possible in recovery. I am neither special nor unique, and I had no advantages. There is no logical reason my life should be as full and vibrant as it is today. I simply walked the path in front of me, found spirituality and God, and learned to rely on a power greater than myself. The rest is history.
Thank you to God, people in recovery, peers in hospitals and treatment centers, and the inventor of Narcan (which saved my life 3 separate times). Without these people, experiences, and things, I never would have known that miracles are indeed possible and that we can overcome anything — including the limitations we place upon ourselves.