TOLEDO, Ohio — A Wauseon woman is sharing her path to sobriety in the hopes that others will recognize that change is possible.
But, the journey certainly wasn't easy.
"I started selling Opanas to help pay for my tuition and for cost of living and that's where my addiction started," Brianna Saldivar said.
Saldivar didn't have much exposure to drugs growing up in Wauseon.
It was when she went to college in Lima that she became addicted to pills. Her addiction became apparent to her the first time she ran out of the drug.
"In that moment I knew something was wrong and I learned about withdrawals from Google," Saldivar said.
She was able to graduate with degrees in automotive diesel technology and automotive business management, but when she got her drivers license suspended, she found it hard to land a job with a positive work environment.
"Ones where I could come and go as I please and didn't have to clock in or out. There was a lot of drugs and alcohol in the shop environment," Saldivar said.
Saldivar said it took a geographical move back home to Wauseon, where she didn't have access to drugs, to get sober.
There, she got married and had a child, but her life of sobriety was short-lived.
"I was able to be sober for my daughter and then they gave me Percocets and I complained about a lot of back pain and it started over again," Saldivar said.
When there were no more pills, Saldivar found heroin. Then, she found jail, and later, detox.
She would eventually leave opiates behind, only to replace that addiction with alcohol.
Fortunately, she found the right program to help her truly address her addiction. She's been sober since October.
"I'm happier than I've ever been," Saldivar said.
Her recovery program helped her find a job working in a call center, around positive influences.
"It's not just about getting sober. It's about a different way of life and that's what they were able to show me, that I could be happy without substances," Saldivar said.
Saldivar keeps to a regular routine of healthy lifestyle choices, like prayer and yoga, to maintain sobriety.
She nearly lost her marriage to addiction, but said she's been able to repair her relationship and her daughter, now 8 years old, is thriving.
Saldivar has hope, something not present in the grasp of addiction.
"It holds you back from everything — from everything. From your relationships growing, to your career, your health, spiritual fitness. Everything just gets depleted. Now, I feel like a have a chance," Saldivar said.
Saldivar said she's happy in her new job and newfound sobriety, so she'll focus on that.
Eventually, she wants to use her degree and run her own shop.
She wants people to know addiction doesn't discriminate. It can happen to anyone. There should be no shame.
If you need help, you can speak with someone right now through the SAMHSA National Helpline at 1-800-662-4357.