Former Heroin Addict Inspires Others

on Tuesday, 19 June 2012. Posted in Voices in Recovery, Breaking News, Heroin

heroin addiction recovery

There is hope for people struggling with addiction to turn their lives around. Monique Nobriga, 47, is a prime example of just that. After a rough history of domestic abuse, jail, and a 28 year heroin addiction, last Friday, with over seven years of sobriety, Monique graduated from Cal State Los Angeles with cum laude honors, receiving a degree in social work.

Nobriga is now working on a field internship with a nonprofit organization which helps women break away from illegal activity. She plans to further her education, specializing in forensic social work, and has already been accepted into Cal State L.A.’s graduate program.

Nobriga’s son, Aaron, attended the ceremony. “It’s a very nice day, and I never thought I’d be sitting here,” said Aaron. “She’s done a complete 180.”

By the age of 7, Nobriga said she already knew “how much I loved alcohol,” and already used heroin for the first time by the time she was 12. At age 13, she ran away from her home in Long Beach. “I’ve been open in other interviews, so out of respect for my family, I don’t want to get into those family issues,” she said.

She had her first son Aaron at 19 years old, and despite ongoing drug use during her pregnancy, “by the grace of God,” Aaron was ok.

Throughout her life, Nobriga tried to several different jobs including truck driving and cashier jobs, but couldn’t seem to stay sober. She talked about always having to be high on something at work, be it alcohol, meth, or heroin.

Her addiction took her to lower and lower places, and eventually she resorted to prostituting herself in order of pay for her habit.

During this time of her life, Nobriga was often the victim of domestic abuse. She said, “Every relationship I had was abusive.”

Her oldest son, Aaron went to live with his grandparents from the age of 3 to 15. And although, growing up, he saw his mother active in substance abuse, he chose to take a different route. “He grew up scared straight,” said Nobriga.

Nobriga’s younger son, Enrique, was taken away, at birth, by the Department of Child and Family Services. Although homeless, Nobriga went to court to begin fighting to get her son back. After over nine months of court, her son nearly being put up for adoption, the judge in her case marked improvement Nobriga was making in treatment.

“I got another chance,” said Nobriga.

Several local and national organizations, including the Assistance League of Whittier and the AARP Foundation stepped up to the plate for Nobriga, helping her pay for her education through scholarships.

Not only did Nobriga complete Associates degree at Rio Hondo College, and Bachelor’s Degree at Cal State, she is only a dean’s list student. “I could never have imagined it,” Nobriga said.

Monique’s story can serve as inspiration to anyone he has, or is struggling with addiction. Although life sometimes takes us through tough and challenging times, there is always hope for something better.

When we reach out for help, we begin opening a door that can take us on journey through a life, like Monique, “we could never have imagined.”

If you or someone you know is struggling with heroin addiction, please contact us.

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