Willow's journey from addiction darkness to grace

Published Dec. 8, 2022

Willow Honerkamp has experienced significant trauma and darkness throughout her addiction journey, including her house burning down, the loss of her children, toxic relationships and difficult relapses.

Willow started smoking marijuana when she was 13 years old. At 16, her older sister introduced her to meth. She continued to struggle with meth, opioids and alcohol throughout her adult life.

"I put my drug abuse in front of the welfare of my children," she said. "But at the time I couldn't see it; I didn't think I was hurting anyone else."

It took several treatment stays and attempts at sobriety before Willow found the peace, positivity and gratitude she needed to stay well. She struggled to get out of the cycle of hopelessness she was in, especially after her children were taken by Child Protective Services.

“After I lost my children, I felt guilty even smiling. I didn’t want to be happy," she said. "I had a turning point after someone finally said, ‘You lost your kids. Are you going to use this as an excuse or are you going to get better?’”

Today, Willow is grateful. She's been focusing on herself and not rushing into any new romantic relationships. She's exercising for the first time in her life and does yoga every day. Her imagination and creativity are back. She has her dream job, where she's appreciated and valued. When any negative thought comes into her mind, she tries to focus on the positive.

"Living that way for so long, it was really dark. Now I'm doing the stuff I did before I used. I thought drugs made me a better person, more outgoing. But without them, life is just good," she said. "I think my resilience says something about me. Today, I practice integrity, honesty and accountability. If I do good I’ll get good."

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