Danya Institute Inc.

Recovery Month Testimonials

Sharing Stories of Recovery



For many years, I ran from the realities of my past life and tried extremely hard to hide from the knowledge that I continually lost time and felt like “someone else,” until the winter of my thirtieth year. I had changed jobs and was under a lot of new stress. I went to bed one night and as soon as I turned off the light to go to sleep, I relived a horrible memory of rape. I immediately turned the lights back on and lay shivering in my bed waiting for daylight. It was then that I knew I had to get help.

I had been seeing a drug and alcohol counselor as a co-dependent of an alcoholic who was unaware of my prescription opioid abuse. She told me she wasn’t qualified to help me with the rape issues. Instead, she set me up to see a psychologist named Paula.

Thus, began my journey to wholeness.

Rejection and Addiction

Paula and I began to work hard on the memories of child abuse that were spontaneously returning from my past. It was like vomiting. I never knew when or where it was going to hit and I couldn’t stop them from surfacing. It was very overwhelming. I fought hard to maintain my sanity while being accosted by my past but sometimes it became too much and I had to be hospitalized for fear I would destroy myself.

Even with Paula’s expert care, I was a sick puppy. The stress of therapy took its toll and in the winter of 1995, I made a major suicidal attempt. It was the second in my life, as I had attempted to destroy myself the first time when I was seven years old.

I saw and made progress with Paula for several years. Unfortunately, in 1997 my husband became extremely ill and we had to declare bankruptcy. The result was that the clinic where Paula worked decided to not allow me to see her anymore. When I went to my next appointment after we had declared, I was met by an office manager who informed me I could not see Paula, not even to say goodbye.

Although I had never stopped abusing opioid medications, after losing my therapist, my addiction began to crescendo until it became a monster from which I almost didn’t survive.

It was a very dark time.

The Long-Term Facility

In March 2005 I was admitted to a local long-term Psychiatric facility. I was so sick when I was admitted, that I have no memory of the first two years I lived there. I “awoke” totally disoriented and very frightened. I had lost time before but never years.

I lived in the facility for a little more than seven years and I don’t look at the years I languished in the facility as lost. I learned some particularly important lessons living among the residents there.

The chief lesson I learned was patience, but I also learned how to love myself instead of fearing who I was and it was a time of growth. However, even in the facility where my medications were passed to me three or four times a day, I demanded and got a significant amount of opioid medication. The doctor was overwhelmed with patients and he believed I would never leave so he gave in to my demands. Not only did he give me oral opioids but also a Fentanyl patch.

I had promised my mother I would remain there until she died. In June 2011, I got the phone call from my brother telling me she had died during the night. That was on a Wednesday. By the following Monday, I was approached by my current therapist and asked if I was ready to leave.

I said yes.

In September 2011 I was released from the facility and moved into a group home in a nearby city. I had to be taught how to do many things again that most people take for granted, such as shopping. I was totally out of touch with prices.

The doctor I had at this time was not as forthcoming with opioid medications as had my previous one in the facility. She began to remove any and all pain killers from my medication regimen, something that made me furious. I wept and pleaded, but this doctor recognized my addiction even when I could not admit it to myself.

In July 2012, my brother and his then fiancé asked me to move in with them back to my hometown. I jumped at the chance.

My Addiction Worsened

I immediately upon release sought out and found a doctor who would prescribe opioids to me once more and began my habit over again in earnest. It wasn’t long before I was popping pills not just to make me feel better during stressful times, but just to feel good even in good times.

Soon after moving in with Mike and Angie, in the following January, I began attending college again. I had attempted to attend at the age of eighteen and off and on again for many years after, but there had been too much chaos. Now I was a full-time student taking classes online. I was elated.

I had begun to make great progress with my life when in December of 2013 I was diagnosed with breast cancer. As one can imagine, this was a tremendous blow. I had been working so hard on my mental health and making great grades in college, now this? I felt betrayed by my body and hatred for myself.

I was scheduled to have my right breast removed in the following January (2014) but ended up having not one surgery but two because my diabetes caused the incision had not properly healed.

During the time of my illness, my opioid abuse skyrocketed with not only a new supply of medications from the two surgeries, but from the horrendous strain of cancer. Having cancer was, in many ways, even more, traumatic to me than the abuse had been in many ways. The betrayal I felt was palpable. Anyone who has had cancer or suffered other tragedies can relate to these feelings.

Thankfully, I had a therapist who helped me resolve this issue by helping me to understand that there is no justice when it comes to illnesses such as cancer. Everyone has a chance to develop it, and that it is an unfortunate part of life.

Finally Leaving the Land of Denial

I wish I could say my story ends on a high note. I now admit that I have a prescription drug addiction, things got a lot worse before they got better.

If there is a medication available that is addictive, I will abuse it and my addiction almost cost me my mind in June of 2016 when the cumulative effects of abusing prescription drugs took a horrendous toll on my brain.

I had been on a particularly long siege of abusing my drugs when one day I woke up in the hospital on the wing where they treated patients with dementia. I was terrified and decided to admit I had a problem and to lick my addiction for the last time.

After I returned home from the hospital, I began three weeks of pure hell as my body fought to recover from over forty years of abusing opioid medications. The withdrawal symptoms of prescription drugs are dangerous and extremely painful as it felt like buckets of ice water were being poured over my body followed by buckets of boiling water. I slept hardly any at all for nearly two weeks and I couldn’t eat without vomiting. At one point, I told my brother that if I began to hallucinate to call an ambulance and allow them to admit me to the psychiatric unit of our hospital.

The date I became sober was July 1, 2016 and I now tell any and all doctors who treat me NOT to prescribe opioids or any other addictive medications to me. I’ve also made sure my addiction is on record at my clinic, the local hospital, and my pharmacy to help me avoid any problems.

My Message to the world is simple.

Life is a great gift and I want to spread the word that no matter what has happened to me or you in the past, there is always tomorrow to make into a brighter and better day. When I was a child, I had no control over my life and my abusers were free to harm me, but why should I continue to harm myself? Why should I be miserable today because of something that happened thirty or even fifty years ago?

I choose to live and to live well. Yes, life is worth living sober.

Yes, I’ve been through hell, but let me also state that it is that pain that has made me who I am today. I am not special or perfect, nor do I know it all. What I do know is that sometimes it takes a hot fire to mold a lump of matter into something beautiful. I do not regret the fiery furnace of my past because its flames have shaped me.

“She’s been through more hell than you’ll ever know. But that’s what gives her beauty an edge… you can’t touch a woman who can wear pain like the grandest of diamonds around her neck.” – Alfa


Hello, my name is Kathy Dorman a recovering addict. I currently volunteer for Washington Goes Purple in Hagerstown Maryland. I’m also a volunteer worker out of the Office of Consumer Advocate as a peer recovery coach and I am also a volunteer for Conquering Opiate Abuse Together through AmeriCorps.

I’m so grateful to be a recovering addict, to still be alive to give others hope, because I remember the life of hopelessness.

My passion is to reach children and young adults who may feel hopeless or peer pressured into trying drugs. As a child, I was surrounded by family and friends who were caught in the disease of addiction. I tell people yes, I may have had a choice, but literally I had no chance, at least that’s how I felt. In and out of group homes, foster homes and the daily struggles of life; I chose to numb my pain at the age of 13 I was stealing from anyone who have medications around and it really didn’t matter what it was, as long as it made me feel better for at least a little while! Little did I know there were long-term consequences due to these choices that’s why I try to give those around me a choice and a chance.

Another reason I love being who I am today, is to share awareness that these drugs do not discriminate. Yes, I had a rough past but many of my friends did not. They grew up in nice homes and environments not like myself, but they struggled with me and sadly most of them are deceased today, because of their drug use. Most of us started with medications which helped for a little while before we needed something stronger. Heroin and cocaine were the loves of my life at the age of 18 resulting into 10 years of my life in total hell, destruction, and chaos. There were days I went without food or sleep. I can remember the Judgment people placed on me, looking at me as if I was a piece of trash. Little did they know I already thought that of myself. I did not need a reminder. Hopeless and dead inside is how I felt every day.

Today my passion is to bring a message of Hope to those who are still suffering in their addiction. I want to give them. Seed of Hope, from one addict to the other. Showing them if I can do it, you can too. See addicts need love too;  if not more, because we are fighting some kind of trauma, hurt, guilt, or shame. We know we need help, but first we need someone who is willing to walk through it with us, plant that seed of Hope. How about praying for us, instead of judging us? Empathy, is trying to understand us, putting yourself in our shoes. Accepting us where we are and encouraging us to change. Building us up with confidence instead of tearing us down. My only prayer was God, if you are a real please send me someone who will love me unconditionally and help me, and he did. So my message is, please don’t give up on life or your recovery because if I can do it , you can too. Just don’t quit, and seek help, help is available.

Thank you, Kathy Dorman


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