Life After Death

Many of us in recovery experience a “life after death” upon leaving our old lives behind. When Madisen was a young girl, she struggled with many traumatizing events, and grew up feeling like an outcast in numerous environments. She watched her sober father spiral back into addiction and mental illness, while her mother was absent weeks at a time because of her work. When Madisen was 11 years old she experimented with marijuana for the first time. “By the time I was 15, I was dropping acid, and by 16 I was shooting up heroin and doing any substance I could get my hands on,” Madisen said. Self-medicating allowed her to experience relief from the traumatizing experiences of early childhood, and quickly became a daily struggle.

“When I turned 17, I found out I was pregnant with my son. I went straight to treatment, and was able to maintain sobriety for a time. However, by the time my son was 11 months, I began to feed my addiction again.” This lasted around a few months before Madisen found herself spiraling out of control and overcome with shame of the person and mother she was.

After experiencing a nearly lethal overdose and the very real possibility that her son would be removed from the home, Madisen felt like she wanted her life to end. “I received numerous criminal charges during this time, went into rehab twice and lived in more than five different recovery homes – fighting through past trauma as well as new. I got arrested because of a warrant I had and sat in Washington county jail for weeks withdrawing from the drugs.”

Shortly after being released from jail, Madisen came across a literal sign in the middle of the night. “It glowed white, ‘4D Recovery‘. I stayed around the outside of that place all night waiting for it to open to see what it was all about. When the Center opened, I was welcomed in by one of the peer mentors. I felt like I had a home, it took me less than 24 hours to get housed from the help of that mentor. I received numerous ‘just for today’ tags in their meetings, but knew it was a place I could leave all shame and embarrassment at the door.”

With the support of other recovering addicts, Madisen had a safe place to go where she didn’t feel like an outcast anymore. She had found an environment of love, compassion, and equality. A place where she could go to listen and be heard. In 2021, at the age of 20, Madisen gave her entire life to that program, completing probation and community service, while setting short and long term goals to lead her path forward. “I had a mentor who was my friend and cared so much to guide me, I had a piece of emptiness in my heart filled with wholesomeness.”

Today Madisen has achieved two years of continuous sobriety and has full custody of her son. “I have had all of my charges taken care of and got off probation a year and a half early. I have successfully moved out of recovery housing and now am in my own townhouse with a partner who loves me fully. I’ve bought a new car, and the best thing yet is that I have taken a role as an Outreach Peer on the Clackamas county team for 4D, working my way up to being a mentor.”

“The program absolutely changed my life and has helped me learn who I am, sober. It’s all about community and connection, and if it wasn’t for my team, my name would probably be on a headstone. I will cherish 4D and the movement that comes with it. This program saved not only my life but my family’s lives.”