A former crack and heroin addict has revealed how she broke free from drugs and underwent an incredible transformation after overdosing 19 times.
Madison McManus, 28, from New Jersey was first introduced to hard drugs at just 15 years old by her then-boyfriend and went through years of arrests and life on the streets before she made the decision to get clean.
The mother-of-one told DailyMail.com she is now battling to win back custody of her nine-year-old daughter after falling pregnant at 18 and having to give the young girl up because of her addiction.
With the help of Alcoholics Anonymous, she says that her family is back in her life after living homeless since the age of 20, and she urges others that there is a ‘solution to this disease’.
2017: Former crack and heroin addict Madison McManus has revealed how she broke free from drugs and underwent an incredible transformation after taking an overdose nineteen times
2021: Madison is pictured this year after getting clean. She spoke to DailyMail.com about her battle with drugs
2021: The mother-of-one told DailyMail.com she is now battling to win back custody of her nine-year-old daughter after falling pregnant at 18 and having to give the young girl up because of her addiction
‘I was in my first rehab at the age of 15, dragging my family through my addiction and hurting them and others left and right,’ McManus told DailyMail.com.
‘Until the age of 18, I would go to programs and get out and pick up again. My disease had me. When I was 18, I had nine months sober while I was pregnant with my daughter, who is now nine. Until now, that was my longest time not using.’
Spending six years on the streets, Madison say she escaped situations ‘I still don’t have words for’.
She adds that when she hit rock bottom with her addiction it was ‘a deep one’ as she dropped out of school and ‘couldn’t stop using’.
McManus describes how her addiction held her captive until an arrest shook her into taking control back.
‘I dropped out of school, I signed away temporary custody of my daughter, I just couldn’t stop using. I had no family in my life at this point, no friends, no soul, I was alone,’ McManus says.
‘I pushed everyone and everything away, and it began a six-year run homeless in a rough and dark city. The things that I dealt with and accepted in my active addiction could write a book. The disease had me in its grips for six years, holding me captive. I held so much shame and regret for losing my daughter, losing my family, and losing myself.
‘My lowest point was on July 18, 2018, the last time I ever used a drug,’ she adds.
‘I sat on some rocks, and I cried in my hands “God please get me out of here, get me out of Paterson”. I had warrants I never got taken care of; and I was in handcuffs twohours later. And I have never been back since.’
Madison McManus is pictured during her addiction as she spent six years on the streets
McManus, pictured during her addiction, said her family was the first thing she won back
McManus claims that ‘drug court saved my life’ as she made the decision in jail that she was ‘done using drugs’ and chose to go to rehabilitation.
‘I had no idea at this point how, I just knew I didn’t want to use anymore. I went to a 30-day program in south Jersey, then wanted to continue treatment and went to a halfway house for four months,’ McManus explains.
‘The real work came when I got my own apartment in South Jersey after all of my programs. I found Alcoholics Anonymous, and that’s when the real growth started, and now I know never stops.’
McManus says that her family was the first part of her former life to come back after she hit the road to recovery and that she now has the full support of her parents, sister, and friends as she tries to win back her daughter.
‘I have women whom I show my path of recovery,’ she says. ‘I have a doctor to work on my trauma with, I have self-love, and most of all I have a solution that words can’t describe how grateful I am for.’
She admits that her recovery has been an ‘everyday process’ and that she finds it like a ‘maintenance job where I better myself and grow spiritually’.
McManus is pictured this year as she battle to win back custody of her daughter
McManus says that her arrest at 25 was the moment she turned her life around
‘I wouldn’t ask for anything else in my life besides keeping the positivity that I have and the hope I have to keep growing every day, and continuing to give it away to others,’ she says of the recovery.
‘It was such an enlightening feeling to see that I was the problem, and nothing would change until I changed me. I have an inner peace and tranquility today that cannot be put in words.’
McManus also encourages others dealing with addiction to realize that there is a way to find ‘a new way of living’.
‘To anyone who is struggling, there is an answer, there is a solution to this disease,’ she states.
‘I lived a life full of misery and prayed every time that I slept to please not wake up. I thought for a long time that I would never get out of there. When I had enough, I found a new way of living. It is possible, there is help.
‘Grab on and don’t let go,’ she urges.
‘This life is short, it’s meant to live, not to exist stuck in a disease that has you feeling empty. Just keep fighting, this new way of life is beautiful. And always remember to be grateful, humble, and open and accepting to everything that comes your way.
‘There’s a bigger plan, you can do it!
‘The ones nobody thought would make it. Look at us now. Never count out an addict.’