Melissa Lee Mantos has now been clean for a total of one year and five months, and on 14th July she shared some intensely personal pictures that show her deep in the midst of her addiction to show just how far she'd come, and to help others overcome their demons, too. Within days the post had thousands of likes and even more shares.
"I have NEVER shared these before. I'm not sure I ever intended to," she wrote. "This is extremely hard for me in so many ways. However, too many people are dying. I have friends who need to see this."
Mantos says that at the height of her addiction to "dope" - a slang word for heroin - she was, "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."
"This was what I looked like, daily, for years. This is what my husband dealt with. This is what my little girls walked in on," Mantos lamented. "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. 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."
But she focuses on her recovery, sharing two picture collages that feature her in the middle of her addiction, barely conscious, and her now, clean and healthy. Whilst she didn't detail how exactly she managed to get herself clean, she has focused on a message of hope for other recovering addicts: "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.
"Please, please reach out. You do not have to suffer any longer. You are not alone. Just reach out your hand, I'm right here."
Mantos also leaves her contact details for anyone who wishes to reach out to her for help. The post has been liked 32,000 times and shared just shy of 50,000 times. Commenters praised her for her strength in recovering and for posting her pictures in order to help others.
"Thank you for sharing your story. It takes a lot courage to share such a personal experience. I wish you all the best," said one, whilst another shared their own story: "Congratulations! You keep at it and don't ever forget your reasons to be clean! Rock bottom is a nasty place to be, but it was never enough of a motivation for me to get clean. I had to remember the people I loved and remember I wanted to be alive for them and then eventually I wanted to be alive for myself."
Mantos posted a follow-up post two days later that said she had received thousands of phone calls, emails, comments and requests. "I promise I will get back to each and every one of you," she said. "Do NOT lose hope. You are not alone. Love you all."
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