The first time Zulema Andino stepped through the doors of USARA (Utah Support Advocates for Recovery Awareness), she had finally found somewhere on her recovery journey that felt like home. The USARA staff welcomed Zulema to their Recovery Community Center and for the first time in her journey, Andino had a base to feel good about.
When I went there it was like a feeling of coming home and it was all inclusive with different walks of life. Everyone had different backgrounds but no matter what we all had the same common denominator. Coming to USARA let me know it’s ok to share your story and be who you are and that you will be accepted.
Now, years into her recovery, Andino is ready to author the next chapter of her life, the one where she helps others find their own pathway to recovery.
We do Recover
Zulema started her journey with the odds stacked against her. She grew up in a home with both parent addicted to heroin. When she was four, her father died from a heroin overdose. Her mother was in and out of prison. Eventually, Andino and her younger brother were sent to foster care.
“It forced me to grow up really fast and become a mother to my little brother,” Andino said.
Andino turned to drugs in her early teenage years to fill the void inside of her. This led Zulema down a road of self-destruction that culminated with losing custody of her children, broken relationships, and a prolonged stint in prison.
Having no idea how to live life on life’s terms after being released from prison, Zulema said she was given the blessing of going to a treatment center. While there she says she found a permanent solution to her addictions by receiving the tools to manage her disease.
“I never really wanted to get clean before I guess, I never knew how,” Andino said.
While in treatment, Zulema WORKED her program of recovery and it changed her perspective on life, a perspective that taught her to stop trying to live the perfect life according to everyone’s definition of perfection.
Recovery has given me a network of people to support me through my trials and tribulations. In the past, I never really trusted people or tried to let people in because I thought they were going to hurt me. In those times when you are having a hard day, I can reach for the phone and ask for help! That’s something that’s really completed my life and given me a solid foundation.