BEDFORD COUNTY, Va. (WSET) — For Ashley Sweigart, addiction started at an early age.
"13," Sweigart said.
"Just anything. Sudafed, cough syrup, stuff that I could just get a buzz off of."
As she grew, so did her addiction.
"I used opioids for anything," Sweigart said. "That was my default for any emotion to cope with."
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Child Protective Services arrived on her doorstep the day after Christmas in 2018. Two months later, her then 9-year-old son Jordan was removed from her home after she failed numerous drug tests.
That is when she entered the Bedford County Family Treatment Docket.
"I call it my Saturday night epiphany," Sweigar said. "This has got to change, because I'm literally going nowhere."
The program is one of four across the state specifically for parents dealing with addiction.
"It's a more stringent, more hardcore type program that people seem to find success in when they haven't found success in other places," Family Services Manager Tomi Turner said.
Turner describes it as a five-phase program that takes about 12 to 18 months. Patients undergo dozens of drug tests, court appearances and AA meetings.
"Anyone who's in this program has to be open to the Department of Social Services and their children either have to be placed out of their home or at risk of being placed out of their home," Turner said.
Sweigart spent about a year in the program. She learned new coping mechanisms instead of turning to the bottle.
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"Deep breathing, grounding techniques and stuff like that that I can use to calm myself down when I'm in a stressful or tense moment," Sweigart said.
She regained custody of Jordan after six months of treatment. When Sweigart graduated the program her biggest supporter, her son, stood by her side.
"He was part of my active addiction, not by choice, but he is part of my recovery," Sweigart said.
Sweigart now has a career in peer recovery. She coaches women who are where she was not too long ago.
"I want to be able to give back what was given to me -- that second chance," Sweigart said.
The good news doesn't stop there: she is expecting a daughter in September.
"There's a better life to be offered if you just take that chance," Sweigart said.
If you or a loved one are struggling with addiction and want to learn more about this program, contact the Bedford County Department of Social Services at 540-586-7750.
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