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When Paige was 14 her mother died.  But first came the sickness years where the attention focused on her mother, and the daughter felt lost. It really wasn’t anyone’s fault.  No one noticed if she didn’t eat, not until she became very, very thin.  Then Paige found that drinking made her feel happy and social.  It helped her hide her emotions from herself.

“I am an only child and my father worked nights.  After my mom died, he would give me money whenever I asked, and basically he just turned away and did not see.  I manipulated him.”

Paige went from drinking to smoking pot, to coke, ecstasy, and then pain killers.  She never thought she would do heroin, but then one day….she did, with a childhood friend.  “It was cheaper, easy to get, and for a time, made me feel better.”

“My aunt could see what was going on, but she had no power.  It wasn’t until my dad found evidence in the house, that he had to face it.”  Paige says she quit cold turkey with her aunt’s help.  But then she needed to take on the work of staying sober. Paige started going to a 12 step program and seeing a counselor.  “You have do it for yourself or it won’t work.”

Paige attends UNR and she was frustrated by the culture, “Sometime I just felt lost in a sea of people who just drink all the time and talk about partying, which is a trigger.”  She wanted to connect with other university students who were interested in a sober life.  About this time N-Rap (Nevada’s Recovery & Prevention Community) started at UNR and Paige became involved.  “When I first went it was just the teacher Daniel Fred, and one other student.  I left thinking I’m the only person in college who wants to be sober.”

N-Rap has grown and Paige is now very involved.  “There are no rules to be a member.  We advocate living sober and provide a safe place on campus in between classes to hang out.  It’s a cool place to touch base and be okay.”

Paige’s advice to parents:  “Pay attention. You will know if something is wrong.”

Her advice to addicts:  “Look for a 12-step program that fits you and if you are in college seek out the sober community. If your school does not have one, think about starting one!  Being involved can save you.”


Eating disorders:

UNR campus – Casat.UNR.EDU/nrap

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