I never expectedto descend into the depths of a crippling addiction. I come from a loving and supportive family. I worked hard and achieved success in several areas, including earning a graduate degree and working in a field where I felt that I truly made a difference in others' lives. Casual substance use led to dependence on cocaine, followed by pills, and finally heroin. For nearly a decade, I endured a living hell, filled with desperation and hopelessness. I turned into someone I could no longer recognize, and I eventually decided to stop fighting. It was only after a suicide attempt and subsequent hospitalization that I was able to leave that life behind. I never expected to become an addict, but I'm grateful to be in recovery. To me, America represents the gift of a second chance.