By LAURA KAPONER
They say to never judge a book by its cover, and this couldn’t be truer for Regina Davis, a Certified Peer Support Specialist with S.C. Share, based out of Columbia.
To look at her one could easily label her an articulate, confident, and determined professional with a heart of gold. All these things are true, however the journey she took to become this version of herself was paved in years of self-destruction.
Regina’s upbringing was considerately more conservative than her peers, which she attributes to the generational gap between the grandparents who raised her verses the other much younger parents. The restrictions meant to act as a deterrent only further fueled her curiosity.
Her experimentation began at 11 years old, when she smoked her first marijuana joint. Only a couple years later she became inebriated on alcohol.
When Regina was 20, she started freebasing, ultimately leading to a life of addiction.
Associations with drug dealers and hustlers, as well as her involvement in prostitution, led to a cycle of jails, institutions, and near death. In the midst of it all, Regina felt she was “living the high life” because of the abundance of money allowing her to continue to maintain this lifestyle in the fast lane.
This was her world for 28 years.
At the time, Regina didn’t really understand the full consequences of her actions, living in desolate conditions without electricity or water and estranged from the people who loved her. Her addiction had taken complete control of her life, and for a very long time, she didn’t want things to change.
In recovery, a person rarely gets it completely right the first time around; Regina was no exception to this, experiencing five unsuccessful attempts at sobriety until it truly stuck the sixth time around.
Key ingredients to really making things work were a geographical change and holding herself accountable to be the biggest participant in her own recovery. There are many who believe relapse is inevitable, but that hasn’t been the case since Regina made her most genuine attempt at turning her life around.
When Regina reached a certain point in her recovery journey, she decided to pay it forward by helping others in their recovery. She is not ashamed of what she has gone through because it was necessary for her to get to where she is today.
It is her hope that others can learn from what she has experienced so that they may not have as difficult a road to travel. Her advice to those struggling with addiction would be to “quit while you’re ahead because it will only get worse. Nothing good really comes out of getting high…its ends really are always the same. Jails, institutions, and death.”
Regina must be vigilant to her daily maintenance plan allowing her to continue to live her best life.
Laura Kaponer is a mental health advocate and blogger, as well as a volunteer with the local chapter of NAMI. You can find her on social media by searching #Laurakaponeris1in5.