Recovery to Relapse, My Story by Brittany Sherfield

I have never fought so hard to write about something in my entire life. I want to say the words so badly and it sounds perfect in my head but actually putting it out into the world is terrifying. The girl that finally got her life together fell back down and fell down hard.


I relapsed.


It wasn’t a slow progression either. I didn’t start drinking first, I didn’t take a pill. No. I made the decision and had a stem in my mouth and a needle in my arm within 20 minutes. And I’ll be honest, after not using for so long it felt like the first time all over again. That euphoric feeling took over and I had fallen back in love with my demons.


Until 3 days later I woke up sweating with my skin crawling and mind racing. Shit. Here we go again.


That’s when reality sets in. That’s when I remember why I stopped using in the first place.That’s when I want to run and hide from my problems and even more so, myself.


My thinking was so distorted again. I remember I had made a commitment that was quickly approaching. I was supposed to run a big book study at a 12 step meeting, so instead of finding another speaker, I ran it. High. Here I am sharing my experience, strength and hope with another addict and alcoholic, just as I always had, yet I can barely hold my head up. Drugs were my solution again and I was miserable.


This continued. I kept my sponsees because in my mind, I couldn’t let them down. I needed to take care of them before taking care of myself. Not to mention the guilt and shame surrounding my relapse caused me to not admit it for a long time. 


4 months ago, I was out of town when my boyfriend passed away. He was found dead in my home. Up until this point, I had been focusing on everyone but myself…only going to meetings with sponsees or when I spoke at one. I didn’t know it but I was already on a downward spiral. So when he passed, the feelings associated were my excuse to run. That was my out.


3 overdoses in one week, narcanned 12 times, raped, held up in motels from Georgia to Kentucky to Michigan. Three months I was out there rippin and runnin again. One more day and I would have been dead. That was my mission – put as many drugs in me as possible so I didn’t wake up the next morning. Any addict can relate to that feeling.


The reason I write this might not be so much for anyone else, but mainly for myself. I lied to myself and others for what felt like a long time about my relapse.

I am sick of hiding.

I am sick of being ashamed.

I am an addict, yes. But I am still here.

I am still alive.

And I am still fighting. 

By, Brittany Sherfield


Note from Katie, Brittany’s mom:  I am so proud of Brittany for writing this, I know it was very hard for her.  This is the reality of the disease, and why we write.  Its our journey together, but this was her story to tell, not mine.  I love you kiddo.  Recover. Together.


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  1. susan August 29, 2017 at 10:04 am - Reply

    Thank you Katie and Brittany for sharing your stories. As a mother of an addict your stories give hope and help. It’s nice to have another mother’s perspective and it’s eye opening to hear another recovering addicts stories, up and downs, etc….
    Thank you both and God bless you.
    Susan T

  2. Dara August 29, 2017 at 10:30 am - Reply

    Brittany, what a powerful story, thank you for your honesty, so grateful you are back in recovery! Keep fighting the fight, you are an inspiration and loved and needed by many.
    Katie, your strength is amazing! You two are a fantastic team, know there are lots of prayers being sent your way. Xo

  3. Mary jo Higgins August 29, 2017 at 10:58 am - Reply

    Brittany my prayers are with you, your mom and family. I pray the Lord will keep his great HEALING HAND on you at all times . Although when I started reading your post my heart sank , I all to well know the devastation of this disease . (My own beautiful precious daughter is an addict, now in recovery 7 months) I’ve learned so much and know that no matter what I know about this disease that in the end love, faith and pray are all we can give to those suffering. So I send mine to you. Keep your faith , stay strong and know you did it before you can recovery again.

  4. Tenena August 29, 2017 at 11:20 am - Reply

    You are so brave! And I am so proud of you! Thank you for your transparency. Your freedom and healing are here now. Take it and run. Use your story.
    I have been and am still on the other side of addiction, my husband.
    Thank you

  5. Lee P. August 29, 2017 at 1:10 pm - Reply

    Brittany, thank you so much for finding the courage to write this. I need to be reminded that I too could relapse if I’m not vigilant about my recovery. I am so happy that you are still here and still fighting. I wish you much success in your journey!! Much love

  6. Kasey August 29, 2017 at 1:31 pm - Reply

    I am glad you got out alive, so did I. We need to hold on to this feeling of being clean. The coziness of safeness

  7. Marc Dunn August 29, 2017 at 1:40 pm - Reply

    Thank you, Brittany. Your courage and honesty are admirable.

  8. Cathy August 29, 2017 at 2:02 pm - Reply

    Thank you so much for your honesty and sharing your story. This is the reality of the disease and so happy to know you’re in recovery. Know we are all out here sending you love and support!

  9. Sue Turowski August 29, 2017 at 2:47 pm - Reply

    I have read this over and over and am so sorry for your pain Brittany. I met you and your Mom at a Romeo meeting and your stories definitely impacted me. Thank you for the courage to share this story of your relapse, I have never been that great at putting my thoughts into words but feel the need to respond. My thoughts and prayers to you and your family for the strength to continue the battles of addiction. You are brave and strong and the story of your struggles change lives. Grateful you are here to share. Love ❤️ And Prayers.

  10. Ron Calhoun August 29, 2017 at 3:37 pm - Reply

    Our stories, are our power. Thank you both for sharing this.

  11. Kari Jewett August 29, 2017 at 3:58 pm - Reply

    Sending you much love, peace and prayers Brittany! Thank you so much for sharing your story and transparency. You have no idea how much your honesty helps people. You are a light in this world!!!
    My son relapsed again on cocaine and benzos a couple of weeks ago. He has been an addict on and off for 8 years starting with opiates. It is a battle. He is back on the right track now. I am loving him and lifting him up in prayers.

    Thank you to you and your mom for this sight. It is such a Blessing.

    Continued prayers for comfort and strength. Sending you a HUGE HUG! Thank you again!!! Much Love, Kari

  12. Dorothy August 29, 2017 at 6:47 pm - Reply

    We’ve met one time in West Palm when I visited David C. Last summer. -Only once but I’ve been recently thinking about you and your mom. You both were such positive supports for David and myself. Brittany you are worth it. Please keep believing it. It takes tremendous courage to share your journey but please know it helps others.
    Take care and love yourself,

  13. Tami D Taylor August 29, 2017 at 8:17 pm - Reply

    Thank you both, so much, for your stories and your insight. I walked away from active addiction in Oct of 1989. In years 4 and 8 of my recovery, I had daughters. In 2015, my youngest graduated high school with high honors and shortly thereafter, began smoking pot. I am devastated and scared but I am also learning to have faith that whatever happens, HP and I can handle. I still do meetings and try to give back what was so freely given to me. October 1st, God willing, I will celebrate 28 years of continuous clean-time. One thing that I know for sure is that the outcome is not up to me but, as long as I am willing to give it my all, I can overcome. Look at what I’ve overcome so far. At least I know where she can get help when the time comes.

  14. Tracy August 29, 2017 at 8:34 pm - Reply

    Thank you for sharing your journey, I know how scarey it must have been, but you did it! Truth prevails and will set you free.
    Shame is the demon, you have now confronted that demon head on!

  15. Sandy August 30, 2017 at 12:41 am - Reply

    Prayers for you. I have a granddaughter that is a addicted and I know how hard it is.

  16. Kathy August 30, 2017 at 1:42 am - Reply

    Never give up, Brittany. I, a stranger, believe in you and your power to reach out and touch others who struggle. Katie, your strength is also powerful and a comfort to other hurting parents. The tide is beginning to turn. People and governments are realizing the enormity of this terrible condition and beginning to understand. A lot of that is due to good people such as yourselves speaking out about how they have been affected. Your voices matter.

  17. Scott August 30, 2017 at 9:17 am - Reply

    Keep fihappyhting for yourself, I am happy I guess that I never made the leap from the pills to the needle or pipe. My addiction started with a car accident. 5 shoulder surgeries in 7 years, nerve problems in my neck, and knee back and hip problems.

    All I wanted was to not hurt anymore! I didnt abuse the oxycontin I was prescribed and I had a very good open relationship with my Dr. She was amazing and I don’t blame her at all.
    This was in the late 90’s and the oxycontin epidemic was just starting out. We talked for a few months before coming to the conclusion that if I switched to oxycontin I wouldn’t have to carry a pill bottle with me everywhere I went.
    So it began, after years of vicodin and percocet, I was “happy” I only needed 3 pills a day indoes ead of 10-12. My wife knew what I was taking as we had talked and felt it was the right thing do. This was going to be my new life. Throw in Valium, Prozac and flexeral and my life became a blur.
    I was a stay at home dad if 4. I coached 3 different teams for my kids. I was the den master for Cub Scouts and started and ran my own business on line from our home.
    From the outside my life was perfect, little did I know what was happening to me on the inside.
    My pills ran out the first time about 3 months after I started taking them on a Wed. I had called like I always did, problem was my Dr was on vacation. I didn’t think much about it until I woke up Thursday. My skin was crawling and my mind wouldn’t stop racing. I called to see if there was a way to have another Dr fill this for me. I was told maybe Friday. By Thursday afternoon I was in my first blown withdrawal from the oxycontin. Even though I had read everything available about this drug i could get my hands on I didn’t understand fully how this was possible.
    I wasn’t crushing my pills and snorting them. I wasn’t taking 2 or 3 times what I was prescribed. I was only doing what the Dr’s orders were.
    Fast forward 7 years and maxing out the highest dose available then. I was done!! My business was done, my little ones had been in school for 3 years. I was spending my days on the couch, Basically stoned out of my mind ALL day long.
    My wife didn’t really understand addiction and when I brought up a rehab facility to get off of the pills she just said she couldn’t take the time away from work to take care of the kids and that I would just have to get thru it on my own at home. While raising the 4 kids along with all of the other outside of the home activities I had with the kids.
    It took me almost 4 months of the worst hell I’ve ever gone thru before the withdrawal symptoms went away.
    I still live with the pain and have had multiple surgeries since. I have abused alcohol and have been prescribed pills after all of my surgeries.
    I only use the 1st prescription and don’t refill any of them no matter how bad I hurt.
    Stay the course it doespecially get better. Never easier and it’s hard. Life throws me things I’m not prepared for and to this day 20 years later my first thought is to go to the ER and get a prescription or go buy a case of beer.
    I have fallen backwards more times than I care to admit.
    Your right about the guilt of relapsing. There isn’t anything anyone can do or say that would be anywhere close to how my mind makes me feel. It is a feeling that sometimes keeps me from stopping when I stumble.
    I wish you the best and I wish I had a perfect ending for you but I don’t. Life us hard and it really socks sometimes. It is those times that will test your sobriety and your willingness to ask for help. Even having someone to go to, which is great to read about your mom’s support. Use her as she would much rather do what she can to help you thru the hard times without using than she would want to help and watch you pick yourself back up after another set back.
    Stay strong and keep fighting!!!!

  18. Joanne August 30, 2017 at 9:44 am - Reply

    I’ve read this story many times with so many different emotions. This is a story of struggle, sadness and hope ? . Your honesty is so brave and shows your deep strength. You keep fighting Brittany. ?

  19. Renee Ratza August 30, 2017 at 9:12 pm - Reply

    This raw an real. Thank you for sharing all the private details. That’s why you need to know how much ur loved. unconditionally and without judgement. Loved ones of serious drug abusers need to know an understand how much u suffer an how much u hate urself almost to death. That’s why “joe” public need to understand the disease. Passing judgement onto users in my eyes can create more destruction. Never stop trying, fight like hell to recover. Fight like hell to try try try

  20. Heather Stillings September 3, 2017 at 9:04 pm - Reply

    Thank you for sharing your story. I can relate, my daughter and I have been on this journey for several years now. She is in recovery now. Would love to share our story but not sure how we would start.

  21. Barb September 4, 2017 at 8:18 am - Reply

    ?”Peace be with you!” ? Did you know that these words are in the Bible over 365 times—-enough for every single day of the year, including Leap Year!!!!! God is always with us. Sometimes, unfortunately, we just don’t recognize, acknowledge and fully appreciate this amazing truth.
    ?Never give up on prayer.?
    You are obviously here for a very special purpose. Both you and your Mom have helped so many already—–keep those “victories” in your thoughts and be encouraged by them. Truly believe that you are making a difference in this world. There are many more who need your help. Be so strong in your fight against the demons that, when you wake up each day, Satan cries, “0h no!!!!! She’s up!!!”
    Keep on praying for recovery. You can do it ! And……you can continue to help others as well. What a beautiful goal it is to help God in His quest to make this world a better place. You’ve been doing just that! You can continue to do that. Remember: “I can do all things with God who strengthens me.”
    Don’t forget to ask our dear Blessed Mother Mary to intercede for you and others. Prayers are very powerful. We can never forget that! When we pray, good things happen. When we pray, the devil runs!!!!
    I love you very much ? I am proud of you!
    ?God bless you always

  22. Jeri September 17, 2017 at 9:21 pm - Reply

    Keep fighting, please, you are worth it. Your beautiful soul shines through your post. I am living your mother’s worst nightmare, and seeing someone like you fighting with everything you’ve got softens the pain just a bit. Prayers for peace <3

  23. Megan September 23, 2017 at 10:35 pm - Reply

    Thank you so much for putting your story out there for us . I know it must be so hard to share, I know that feeling of guilt from relapse makes you want to hide in shame….but bringing it to light is what makes it easier to get back on your right path.

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