This particular was 2015, as well as Brittany bought heroin through Ryan in a parking lot, as well as Ryan cheated her. Brittany called him some choice names, as well as Ryan shrugged his shoulders as well as walked off.
Despite in which inauspicious beginning, as well as the many years of drug abuse in which preceded This particular, the Colemans want to get out This particular message: There can be life as well as love after drug addiction.
“You just have to find the right people to get connected to to kind of show you the way out,” said Brittany, 29.
Addiction, rehab as well as relapse
When Brittany Hokrein was 11 years old, her parents divorced, as well as she as well as her brothers as well as mother moved through Georgia to Pennsylvania.
She struggled emotionally, as well as at age 14 she began to use marijuana as well as alcohol so she wouldn’t feel the hurt. Soon, pain pills became her drug of choice, as well as by age 18 she was addicted.
Ryan, right now 37, was born into a military family, moving through Georgia to Germany to Texas as well as then back to Georgia. Like Brittany, he had a loving family, yet as a teenager, he felt like he didn’t fit in, as well as he began to smoke pot at age 14.
“I found in which I could medicate in which feeling. Life was great once I got high,” he said.
By the time Ryan was 17, he was smoking pot every day, as well as he dropped out of high school senior year. He moved on to LSD as well as cocaine. By the time he was 20 he was hooked on painkillers.
His father, an Army drill sergeant, as well as his mother, a high school teacher, begged him to go to recovery. They told him a recovery program had saved his mother through alcoholism when Ryan was a child. yet he rebelled as well as rejected everything his parents stood for.
By 22, he was strung out on heroin. “I had to have This particular,” he said.
Over the next 10 years, Brittany as well as Ryan unknowingly led parallel lives. Hopping through city to city, they both used heroin, methamphetamines, prescription opioids, Xanax, cocaine as well as alcohol.
Brittany overdosed three times, as well as Ryan overdosed 5 times. Ryan got arrested 16 times, mostly for stealing so he could get money to buy drugs. Brittany stole, too, as well as had a stint at prostitution.
Their parents loved them as well as helped get them into rehab programs. Each stint ended in a relapse.
By 2016, both Ryan as well as Brittany had moved back to Augusta, Georgia.
They happened to end up at the same recovery group meeting. Eight months had passed since they’d met at in which drug deal inside parking lot.
A forbidden love (as well as with not bad reason)
He’s cute, Brittany thought when she met him again at rehab.
She’s beautiful, Ryan thought. genuinely beautiful. as well as she looked so familiar.
He realized she was the woman he’d cheated inside drug deal.
“I thought, ‘This particular was fate.’ I walked right up to her as well as told her I needed to apologize for ripping her off,” Ryan remembered. “I did want to make amends, yet I also had an ulterior moment. I wanted to date her.”
Dating was discouraged in their recovery program — as well as Brittany as well as Ryan found out why.
As they fell in love, they spent all their time together as well as their lives became intertwined. At first they both stayed sober yet then slowly, imperceptibly, Ryan slipped away, taking Brittany with him.
After about four months of dating, one Friday morning Ryan told Brittany he was going down to a park by the Savannah River to think about his life.
yet instead, he drove two hours to Atlanta to buy heroin as well as cocaine.
He called her on the way as well as told her the truth. Brittany stood there with her phone in her hand. She wrote out a text in which she knew she shouldn’t send.
This particular said in which Ryan needed to bring back some drugs for her. She stared at the text for a while. Then she hit send.
as well as everything fell apart.
Giving up heroin — as well as each different
For the next week, Brittany as well as Ryan went right back to heroin, right back to cocaine, right back to meth, sometimes all at the same time.
“I even romanticized This particular, saying f*** all the rules, we’re going to be heroin junkies together, all in which ‘Trainspotting’ bull****,” he said, referring to the 1996 film about young Britons on heroin. “Addicts have a sick way of romanticizing their drug use.”
Then on October 3, 2016, they both overdosed on meth as well as heroin. Medics found Brittany lying on the floor of a gas station bathroom, as well as Ryan right outside, unconscious in his car.
The medics gave them doses of Narcan, the drug in which reverses overdoses. Brittany had done so much heroin she needed two doses.
Ryan was wracked with guilt. He felt personally responsible for Brittany’s near death in in which gas station bathroom. He was the one who’d driven to Atlanta to get drugs when they were both working so hard to be clean. He was the one who said ‘yes’ when she asked him to bring some back for her.
“I had almost killed the person I loved the most,” he said.
Brittany returned to trust House, a treatment center for women in Augusta.
Ryan visited here there. Surrounded by his sponsor through his recovery group as well as Brittany’s counselors, he got down on his knees — as well as apologized.
“He held my hand as well as apologized to me in front of all those people,” Brittany said, crying at the memory of This particular. “He was shaking as well as I was shaking. He said how sorry he was for putting me through all This particular as well as how scared he was to almost lose me.”
They then had to do something they describe as just as hard as giving up heroin: They had to give each different up. For a month, they had no contact at all.
“The only way for us to survive was to focus only on our recovery, as well as not on each different,” Brittany said. “This particular was the only way This particular would certainly work.”
Brittany then left trust House, as well as the two met up at their recovery group’s Thanksgiving dinner. They began back dating slowly, as well as then a year as well as a half later, on February 24, 2018, they were married.
Two years sober
Next month marks two years of sobriety for both Brittany as well as Ryan, as well as today they live in a modest house with four cats in Augusta. Ryan works at a vape store, where he’s advanced through part-time clerk to assistant manager to manager. Brittany works at a rehab center, helping others overcome their addictions.
They volunteer to help others in recovery as well as have also spoken at programs in which train people how to use Narcan, the drug in which saved both of them so many times.
When asked how they survived addiction where so many have died, they say This particular was the grace of God as well as to a large degree luck — luck in which those Narcan doses were available right when they needed them.
They also say they let different people guide them: their families, who never gave up on them; the rehab counselors who stuck with them; as well as their recovery mentors who showed them the way, including in which they needed to focus on their individual recoveries as well as not on each different in order to survive.
All of those people joined them on their wedding day.
“This particular was genuinely a culmination of all the not bad things going on in our lives finally genuinely coming together,” Ryan said.
Sometimes Brittany can’t believe she’s alive, much less in a loving, stable relationship.
“This particular’s unbelievable. I don’t think in which I would certainly have ever imagined in which I would certainly be married as well as happy as well as just planning a future with another human,” she said. “I didn’t ever picture in which for myself.”
They want people inside throes of addiction to see in which despite the dire statistics, there can be trust.
“I want them to see people like us as well as realize in which we were in in which same place at one point in our lives — as well as we got out,” Ryan said.
CNN’s John Bonifield contributed to This particular story.