Dunn County (WQOW)- Sometimes the hardest fight is one happening within oneself. Here in the Chippewa Valley one of those battles is with addiction. In part one of News 18's continued coverage, local drug addiction survivors are sharing their stories on how they switched lanes, from the road to destruction, to the road to resilience.
Hannah Chamberlin's struggle with substance abuse began at just twelve years old. It wasn't long before that part of her life became her whole life.
"I was St. Croix County's main supplier for a good year and a half. I was sixteen years old and I was going over to the cities and buying ounces of meth every two days," said Chamberlin.
With two small children and still in her teens, Chamberlin's life was passing by without her.
"It's all pretty much a big blur, you're just like go go go. Like when we were high nothing see,s to matter, nothing," said Chamberlin.
Chamberlin has spent almost half of her life stuck in a cycle, crashing on couches and landing behind bars. Although she searched for a way out, she was left without any direction as to how.
"When they get released from jail, now what? We've got you sober for this chunk of time but now what are you going to do? You're released right back in the community with no resources, no where to go, no job, no nothing. What are you going to do? You're going to go right back to your old habits because that's what you know what to do, and that's how you know to live. It's not really living but you're surviving," said Chamberlin.
At just 18 years old and without a compass, Chamberlin was able to steer clear of substances for seven years, but the fight wasn't completely over. She relapsed and spent five years in that familiar haze, until she found the Dunn County Treatment Court in 2015.
"It's so comforting knowing that I'm not alone in this. There's millions, millions of people struggling with addiction and have no clue how to even tackle it. It's a hard thing to battle but when I went to that very first meeting it was just like I can't, I don't want to live like this, and to know that there's hope," said Chamberlin.
Marshfield Clinic's Substance Abuse Director Sheila Weix said Chamberlin is not alone in finding the strength to overcome addiction in others.
"When you move to a recovery-oriented community there's acceptance wherever you go, there's awareness about developing things that are alcohol and drug free and family oriented, so there's support for people," said Weix.
Now sixteen months sober, Chamberlin is in a new cycle. She said it's her recovery community that helped her close one chapter and begin to write another.
"You go, you learn how to do it, and when you learn how to do it and you go back and give back to another person. That's the cycle," said Weix.
It's a change that has given her more than just her own life back, it brought back her kids, proving that it's never too late to turn surviving in to thriving.
"Addiction's hard, it's really hard to fight. You don't have to continue fighting it, you can give it up. Recovery, it's hope, it's a chance at another life, it's a fresh start," said Chamberlin.
If there's someone struggling with addiction in your family, Weix said the best thing to do is reach out to local physicians in order to better understand the addiction and to get set up with support groups