How an Erie woman rebuilt her life
Rachel Bercik walks with a intent.
The 37-yr-old Erie resident travels at a brisk speed as she heads to perform, to appointments, to meetings and to the property she shares with a girlfriend.
Bercik is moving on with her lifestyle with determination following a long time of battling a drug addiction that she mentioned took most every little thing she owned and affected interactions with her family members and many others.
Bercik, who has been in an out of remedy around the decades, walked out of her final stint in rehab on Memorial Working day. She celebrates a yr of sobriety this thirty day period.
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She admits to having demanding times, but states she combats them by reaching out to the people in her existence. Whilst that guidance is a massive support in being thoroughly clean and on the route she is pursuing, Bercik claimed it was up to her to acquire those 1st techniques in turning absent from medications for good.
“A lot of situations, if you are executing it for family members, to get your little ones again, for a significant other, it falls down at some point. You have to do it for on your own,” she said.
Battle with habit
Bercik, an Erie native, reported she was very first introduced to heroin in large faculty. A couple of a long time just after graduating, she moved to Pittsburgh.
“Which is when I obtained heavier into my habit,” she claimed.
Bercik explained she experimented with a wide range of medications which includes crystal methamphetamine.
At some level she was introduced to fentanyl, a remarkably strong and harmful artificial opioid that has been blamed for a increasing range of drug overdoses and deaths across the state, which include in Erie County.
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“I know they started off cutting meth with fentanyl since of the addictive attributes, and you get hooked on it,” she reported.
A large amount of the heroin on the street was also turning into laced with fentanyl, which is more powerful, Bercik stated. She didn’t will need as significantly of the drug to get higher, so she reported she progressively started performing heroin and fentanyl together.
“As time grew, for the reason that fentanyl is so much stronger, your tolerance grows extra and more,” she reported. “Honestly, it can be tricky to discover heroin on the avenue any longer. Every little thing has grow to be fentanyl, which is more affordable and much more effective.”
A extended, hard highway to restoration
Bercik would be in an out of recovery in excess of the up coming 16 yrs.
“The final operate I was on was a 5-year operate,” she explained. “I dropped the enjoy of my existence to an overdose, which I believe that was fentanyl. Following he overdosed, I really fell deep into my addiction.”
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Bercik had a comprehensive-time job, owned a dwelling and a auto, and her daughter was living with her. But she stated just after finding back on medicines, factors went out of manage and she lost anything.
“The last three to four many years, I was homeless fairly considerably. The medications had such a strong maintain on me I was not able to escape that daily life. It took me areas I by no means thought it would,” she mentioned. “I under no circumstances thought I would reside in a house with no drinking water, electrical or warmth in the lifeless of winter season with unquestionably absolutely nothing.”
Bercik reported she didn’t care about just about anything when she was in the throes of her dependancy. She explained she would trade her food items stamps, promote everything she had “and every thing you had” to get extra medications.
“I was pretty lucky it did not get me down a street a large amount of girls conclude up going down, using their bodies to get more,” she stated.
Bercik said she bought to a place where by she experienced no far more couches to surf on and nowhere else to go. She mentioned she would commit hours striving to shoot up, but her arms had been so bad she was unable to do so.
Bercik became unwell, contracting MRSA in her coronary heart from taking pictures up. She invested a 7 days in a coma and two months in the clinic.
Bercik said she remaining the medical center, with no area to continue to be. She was nevertheless ill, she reported, but continued employing.
Bercik said she then achieved a “stage of desperation.”
“I realized just after all that I’d be all set to halt,” she claimed.
Enable from the Mercy Center for Ladies in Erie
Bercik would spend 6 months in remedy, minus a person 7 days.
She stated she had no residence plan in spot when she finished the to start with stretch of procedure all through that time. She was dropped off at a grocery store with no a person to get in touch with.
“The initially factor I did was reach out to get some medicine,” Bercik reported.
She overdosed all through that 7 days.
Bercik went again into rehab in Ohio right before returning to Erie and continuing her inpatient treatment. After completing her plan, she moved into the Mercy Middle for Ladies, “seeking my ideal to get back on with my lifetime.”
Her now-teenage daughter, whom she experienced signed about short-term guardianship to her parents, was ready to go to her when she stayed at the middle, Bercik reported.
Bercik, now living with a close friend following transferring out of the middle, gets intense outpatient remedy a several times a week and attends restoration meetings when she can.
She states she thinks about the persons she has misplaced, which includes the many buddies who could not conquer their individual battles with habit.
Bercik thinks her struggle is more than, at the time she obtained to that position of desperation.
She hopes her tale evokes other folks who have similarly struggled with dependancy.
“This isn’t really my to start with go-close to. I have been in 10 diverse rehabs,” Bercik reported. “This time, I have a diverse emotion within. I am executing it due to the fact I certainly, deeply want to do it.”
Speak to Tim Hahn at [email protected]. Stick to him on Twitter @ETNhahn.
- PA Get Assist Hotline, 800-662-4357
- Erie County Place of work of Drug & Alcoholic beverages Abuse, 814-451-6877, eriecountypa.gov/departments/human-services/drug-and-alcohol-abuse
- Gaudenzia Erie, habit treatment method and restoration solutions, 814-459-4775, gaudenzia.org
- Millcreek Local community Healthcare facility, 814-864-4031
- H.E.R. Home, for ladies recovering from drug abuse, herhomerecovery.com
- Narcotics Anonymous Erie, lakeeriena.org