Stories of Hope: Sarah Nowels

Change is Possible

“From an early age, I felt like my brain didn’t work like everyone else’s did. I was diagnosed with anxiety and depression when I was 12 years old. I didn’t believe this diagnosis, and didn’t take it seriously. I started using substances at age 13. I did LSD in 8th grade, and that was my first experience with drugs. When my dad came to pick me up, he knew instantly what was happening, and decided it was best to transfer me to a different school district. He did this in hopes that I would change the environment, friends, and decisions I was making.

For a couple of years, it worked. I was playing sports, mostly kept to myself, and never had a consistent group of friends. Once I stopped playing sports, my parents told me that I had to get a job to keep myself busy. I worked at a small, family owned restaurant, where all of my co-workers were 21-25 years old. I started to insert myself into their friend group. They all smoked and drank on the regular, and encouraged me to join in. I quickly started smoking everyday, and I would drink, but rarely. I was told you couldn’t be addicted to smoking weed, and I knew since I didn’t like drinking and rarely ever did, that it wasn’t affecting me like that. I never thought substances would become a problem….”

To read the complete story of Sarah’s journey towards sobriety, visit our “Stories of Hope” which can be found at

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