Faces of Recovery

Published 9:35 am Thursday, June 14, 2018

This week’s installment of Faces of Recovery — in which local people talk about their time being addicted to drugs and their subsequent recovery — focuses on Middlesboro native Tiffany Walker.

Walker’s first foray into narcotics began as a preteen.

She stated the first time she got drunk she was 12 years old. At 14, she began smoking marijuana heavily and at 15 she was experimenting with Oxycontin.

“I was never hardcore with anything though, I just experimented with a lot of stuff when I was a teenager. I joined the Navy when I was 19, and during my five years of service I had periods where I would drink heavily and periods of sobriety. It wasn’t until the end of 2012, two years after I got out of the Navy, that things got really bad. That’s when drugs completely took over my life,” said Walker.

Walker looked up to her older sister, who also took drugs. That, and the thought that taking drugs and alcohol would make her fit in with her peers, started her down the path of experimentation.

Once she got back from the Navy, her drug usage went into the extreme. Walker was using alcohol, opiates, suboxone, subutex, and crack cocaine.

Walker described the situation that led her to the realization she needed to seek help.

“I decided to go to treatment when my oldest daughter was five months old. I didn’t have a place of my own. I had no way to work, my car was messed up and had a repo order on it,” she said. “I had dropped out of college, (and) I had quit the Navy Reserves. I knew I was going to end up going to jail and losing my baby if I didn’t do something different.”

Walkers described her detox period as rough, but once that mountain was climbed, things started to look up.

“The residential advisors were wonderful, and I heard some eye-opening personal stories. I really got into my big book, and I finally realized that I couldn’t do it on my own. I needed God’s help.

“The impossible has happened for me since I’ve been clean. My car has been paid off and fixed. I have my own apartment. I’m working and I’ve gone back to school. I had no idea how anything was supposed to get better, and my life has been steadily improving since I’ve been clean and sober,” she said.

For anybody struggling with their addiction and whether or not to seek treatment, Walker said “It’s never too late. It doesn’t matter what you’ve lost (or) what you’ve done. It’s never too late to change.”