A long jour­ney from ad­dic­tion to re­cov­ery

Af­ter many failed at­tempts at get­ting clean, Grand Falls-Wind­sor woman now liv­ing a drug-free life

Advertiser (Grand Falls) - - Front Page - BY SA­MAN­THA GAR­DINER

You’d never guess when talk­ing to Grand Falls-Wind­sor’s Laura Baird that just four years ago, she was in the midst of a crack and co­caine ad­dic­tion that al­most took her life.

Baird grew up in Grand Falls Wind­sor as a part of a lov­ing fam­ily – a good kid who knew the dif­fer­ence be­tween right and wrong.

But while hang­ing out with an older crowd that was into drugs, at the young age of 16 Baird tried crack co­caine for the first time.

From there, ad­dic­tion took over her life.

Af­ter high school she moved to Al­berta, where she moved around from town to town, at times try­ing to get her­self clean.

She thought a move from Red Deer to Fort McMur­ray would be the so­lu­tion.

Un­for­tu­nately, sim­ply mov­ing was not the an­swer she was look­ing for, and she quickly went back to do­ing drugs, los­ing job af­ter job and be­ing un­able to sup­port her­self.

Due to her rag­ing ad­dic­tion, she was un­able to show up for any job at 6 a.m., she said.

She knew it was an ad­dic­tion, but she would stop and then a short time later start us­ing again.

“By the end of it, it was a full­blown ad­dic­tion and I had drug sores all over my face,” she said.

The dark­est time came for Baird af­ter the one friend she had and used with left her, and she found her­self alone in Fort McMur­ray.

Without any fam­ily and friends to lean on for sup­port, Baird drove her car around for two days, smok­ing crack and con­tem­plat­ing how she was go­ing to end her life.

Baird knew the pain of los­ing friends to sui­cide all too well. Know­ing how it would make her friends and fam­ily feel was enough to make her reach out for help through a Face­book post.

Four years later, she doesn’t re­mem­ber what that post said, but she does re­mem­ber that her sis­ter-in-law reached out to her to find out what was go­ing on.

It was at that point that Baird con­fessed every­thing to her sis­ter-in-law – the true depth of her ad­dic­tion.

Two days later Baird’s fa­ther flew up from New­found­land to Fort McMur­ray to pick up his daugh­ter, driv­ing her car back to New­found­land and bring­ing her home on the con­di­tion she at­tend a re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion pro­gram in the prov­ince.

Baird ar­rived home in Grand Falls-Wind­sor in Fe­bru­ary 2013. She was still us­ing co­caine but had not used crack since she was in Fort McMur­ray.

In May 2013 she went to re­hab on the west coast of the prov­ince for three weeks. She re­mained clean through her stint at re­hab and for three short weeks af­ter she was re­leased, she main­tained her so­bri­ety.

On June 6, 2013 she re­lapsed af­ter the death of a close friend. She used drugs again un­til March 2014.

It was March 1 she de­cided once and for all that she was go­ing to get sober and get her life back.

The epiphany came af­ter her ex-boyfriend went on an acid binge, broke into some­one’s home and later ended up ar­rested and in jail.

“I swore then I would never do an­other drug,” said Baird.

It was in that mo­ment she knew she did not want her life to turn out like that and she had to change.

For­tu­nately for Baird, her story has a happy end­ing.

Through sheer willpower, on March 1, 2014 she stopped us­ing drugs and got her life to­gether.

She is now a li­censed prac­ti­cal nurse work­ing at a methadone clinic in cen­tral New­found­land, where she is able to help peo­ple fac­ing the most dif­fi­cult time in their life in a sit­u­a­tion Baird found her­self in not too long ago.

Baird be­lieves her bat­tle with ad­dic­tion helps her in her role at the clinic, be­cause she is bet­ter able to re­late to what the clients are go­ing through.

A suc­cess story like Baird’s can be re­as­sur­ing to those go­ing through the dark­est part of their bat­tle.

“For anyone strug­gling, don’t give

up,” Baird says to anyone who might be in a sim­i­lar sit­u­a­tion.

“Life can change – you just re­ally have to work hard for it, but it isn’t as im­pos­si­ble as it may seem to be while you’re drown­ing in the depths of ad­dic­tion.”

This se­ries of pho­to­graphs shows Laura Baird af­ter one, two and three years of re­cov­ery. March 1, 2018 will mark four years of re­cov­ery.

This se­ries of pho­to­graphs shows Laura Baird af­ter one, two and three years of re­cov­ery. March 1, 2018 will mark four years of re­cov­ery.

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