FARMINGTON — Augusta area residents Courtney Allen and Missy Craig shared their personal stories of recovery at the second annual Addiction Forum, held Wednesday at the University of Maine at Farmington.

“The opioid epidemic is a trauma,” Allen told the crowd of students, medical personnel, teachers and the public. “It’s so widespread, invasive.”

Allen had two sons and a job when she began using opiates and overdosed three times in one week.

Allen said in 2015 she realized if she continued raising her sons as she was, they would follow her path. She asked for help.

“My family was scared,” she said. “The pain of signing my kids into foster care. I felt so broken. The worst day of my life became the best day of my life. My recovery began that day.”

Allen now spends time advocating for substance abuse awareness.

Craig said she began experimenting with illicit substances at age 12.

“Smoking, drinking were good outlets,” she said. “Partying became my thing. I hid my addiction. I didn’t tell my family until I was about to give birth.”

She mistakenly thought she could control her addiction but ended up losing her job, her car and the respect of others. Her family forced her into treatment, she said, but she fought back, stealing from them.

Craig’s parents kicked her out of their home and reported her to the Department of Health and Human Services. Her son was given to her parents.

“That was just the beginning,” she said. “I lost even more of who I was.”

She eventually admitted she needed help.

“On July 27, 2016, I checked myself into the hospital on my own,” Craig said. “I knew I couldn’t do it anymore on my own. My family buried me, took down my pictures.”

She followed the treatment program at a Bangor facility and 10 months later she got a job and a car, worked on herself and her family. And in August 2017 she got her son back.

“My mission now is to put recovery out there, get everybody involved,” she said.

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