LA CROSSE, Wisconsin (WXOW)-- Brooke Clements, a La Crosse teenager, battled addiction for years. She tried getting clean, but relapsed several times, until she realized it was becoming a matter of life and death.
In July Brooke used methamphetamine every few hours for six days, barely sleeping or eating, but when she began to feel dangerously ill, she called 911. It wasn't her first drug overdose but Brooke vowed it would be her last.
"They told me in the ambulance that I had a meth overdose," Brooke said. "I don't have any intentions of dying."
However getting clean isn't easy. Brooke started using drugs at 14 and continued even after court ordered rehab, and meth users have one of the highest relapses rates. Casey Bablitich a chemical dependency counselor at Gundersen Health System, says studies show most people go through treatment about seven times before staying clean.
"Meth is a very powerful stimulant so the first time someone uses, it has the potential of grabbing them and hooking them," Bablitich said.
Meth contains things like campfire fuel and household cleaners; a toxic drug people with addictions turn to when they're desperate for a high.
"They're using just to feel normal and they lose what the real normal feels," Bablitich said.
Brooke says meth left her with heart problems and scaring in her throat and lungs, but it's the emotional toll the drugs took that create the biggest hurdles to her sobriety.
"There's always temptations. I mean if something doesn't go my way, instant thought is oh go use. Or if I'm depressed, oh go use," Brooke said. "I have using dreams a lot. And I had one the other night and I woke up and I was shaking and I had to calm myself down and be like you're ok, you didn't use, it's just a dream."
Despite the obstacles Brooke is now 101 days clean. Something she credits to daily meetings, her sponsor and changing virtually every aspect of her life, from who she hangs out with to what she eats to her exercise routine. Still Brooke says she will never be addiction free.
"When I turn 21, I won't ever be able to go have my 21st birthday and go and bar hop," Brooke said. "Once an addict, always an addict. I am in recovery."
But Brooke says faith and thoughts of the future keep her moving forward.
"I wanna make a difference in the world. Whether it be just talking to fellow addicts and eventually getting enough clean time where I can sponsor somebody and help them out or eventually going back to college," Brooke said.
But she says she has a ways to go. Right now, her focus is on staying busy with sober activities, to keep her mind off using.
"Normally when I catch myself think about that, I either call for help or I push it away and say you know that's not reality, you know what's going to happen, you're just going to end up in the same place or even dead or in prison," Brooke said. "I mean it's going to take some time, but eventually I'm hoping I can reach that point, where when somebody offers me something, I can be like no, no thanks."
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