Nicole Vasquez was 21 years old when she hit rock bottom. She was homeless, unemployed, and battling a drug addiction. She desperately needed help. But with no money and no health insurance, she figured a state-funded rehab facility was her best option, even though she heard there was often a long waiting list and it could take weeks or even months to get in.
“The process was pretty scary in the beginning I didn’t know if I was going to be able to get into a facility.. So I called 8 different treatment centers. I just happened to get lucky and they had a bed available.”
At the facility, she was one of more than hundred women.
“We didn’t have things like an individualized treatment.. We had the program, the 12 steps.. Dual diagnosis that a private a facility might have.”
This left Nicole on the search again, this time for a free program that could provide the mental health counseling she also desperately needed to get better, making her road to recovery even more challenging. But Nicole was determined and she didn’t care how long it took.
“So I was able to stay 5 months, I have friends able to stay in treatment for a year and some for 18 months.”
During those 5 months, she began rebuilding her life.
“Then I got to a certain level where I was still living the treatment facility, but I had a job.. It was sort of like my home.”
“It gave me the tools that I needed to be where I am today.”
Through her own recovery, Nicole has felt compelled to help others. Today, she does just that, as the Lead Alumni Coordinator for American Addiction Centers, one of the nation’s leading providers of substance abuse treatment. While its treatment centers aren’t state-funded, Nicole feels blessed to be part of a company that is transforming lives every day through its treatment centers, an option for those with insurance or who have the ability to pay for their care.
“Really what that allows me to do is connect with people just like me.. It’s incredible.”
Incredible in the fact that Nicole has connected with hundreds of American Addiction Centers alumni over the years. It’s a bond she doesn’t take for granted because this type of long-term support wasn’t offered at the state-funded facility.
“It’s all about building a community of people you can do life with.”
And these days life is good for Nicole. She hopes her story will inspire others to get help…no matter what.
“If a state-funded facility is your only option do it.. You need to get help.”
This tattoo is a reminder for Nicole of just how far she’s come and the treatment center that helped her get there.
“The facility that I went to will always be a part of my heart…it saved my life.. I wouldn’t be here today without it.”