Anyone who knows someone battling addiction, or is going through it themselves, knows that it is no easy feat.
It can be something that is not often spoken about in society and there can be stigma towards addicts.
But a woman recovering from heroin use, has bravely decided to show her lowest points from using the highly addictive drug. It is her hope that it will encourage others to seek help for their addiction issues.
Melissa Lee Matos has been clean for a year and five months. She shared several photos of herself on Facebook at the height of her addiction.
The mother-of-one is seen slumped against a bathroom wall with dark marks across her face. Her eyes, rolling back into her head.
‘This was what I looked like, daily, for years,’ she wrote. ‘This is what my husband dealt with. This is what my little girls walked in on.
‘This is what my family and friends saw, on the rare occasions I left the house. I was SICK. I was DYING. I was so far gone I thought I could NEVER recover.’
Another photo shows Melissa in a zombie like state covered in sores as she holds a bowl of chips.
‘I was so lost I couldn’t imagine a life without using. I just wanted to die. I didn’t realize I was hardly alive,’ she wrote in her Facebook post.
But thankfully a year and half later, Melissa is now recovering from addiction and is clean of drugs.
In recent photos, she has returned to a healthy weight, the scabs and dark marks are gone, and she’s smiling, having finally ‘found life’.
Melissa made her Facebook post public and showed the world her addiction to drugs because ‘too many people are dying’.
‘I have friends who need to see this,’ she wrote. ‘It goes beyond what my words can accomplish.’
‘If you are currently in active addiction, this is my plea to you. Look at these pictures,’ she added.
‘Images of a dead girl. A needle junkie with a habit so fierce she spent days and nights in a self induced coma on her bathroom floor.’
‘A girl who would spend every cent on dope and forget she had kids to feed and take care of. A girl who lost every single thing she ever had. A girl who was so sick she thought she would never ever find a way out, until she did.’
‘If you are reading this and are going through the same pain I did, I am begging you to reach out. I died more than once. I have now found life.
‘I promise you, there is HOPE. There is recovery. There is freedom and serenity and you are worthy of it.’
Melissa even went as far as posting an email address so addicts could reach her and included a link to a recovery page.
‘Please, please reach out. You do not have to suffer any longer,’ she wrote. ‘You are not alone. Just reach out your hand, I’m right here.’
‘My name is Melissa. I am a RECOVERED addict. Share with me your darkness, and I’ll lead you towards the light. I love you all.’
Hours after sharing the post, Melissa’s post went viral. The recovering addict says she was inundated with more than a hundred messages and thousands of comments.
While she received several messages of support, many were quick to slam her for getting into drugs in the first place.
She responded to her critics, writing: ‘To the people who decided to bash me, attack my character and belittle me, put a value on my life and tell me I don’t deserve to be a mother, here is my message to you.’
She bravely added: ‘Two days ago, I posted a message of truth, hope and recovery, hoping my message would reach even one lost soul.’
‘That message has now gone viral. It has been viewed and shared by over a million. For every ONE hateful comment, I have received FIFTY messages of support and love.
‘I’m sorry if my story offended you. Please forgive me for not responding to your ignorant messages and comments, but I am currently extremely preoccupied with spreading a message and helping those who have reached out.’
The side effects of heroin include sores on the skin, dark spots on the face and rapid weight loss.