A woman who was once addicted to heroin describes how pregnancy helped her to turn her life around. Erin Genther was raised in a wealthy, two-parent home and used pot and cocaine in high school. One day, her dealer offered her heroin instead. Genther quickly became addicted to the drug, barely graduated from high school, and was ordered into rehab by her mother.
At her lowest point, Genther used 20 bags of heroin a day just to prevent withdrawal symptoms. She still used even after several tries at rehab and some time in jail after her mother pressed charges against her for stealing checks. “I had the tools to stay clean, but I chose not to,” she says. “I knew I couldn’t really do it just once.”
A positive pregnancy test finally helped provide a “powerful motivation to stay clean” after her friends and family told her that motherhood was out of the question for her. After spending two years at a Pennsylvania program that provides housing and education for homeless women and children, Genther is now a mother of three and works as a nurse. She now says of her time as a drug user, “”It does feel like a different lifetime,” she says.
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