The worst best friend I’ve ever had- Wonder Woman of The Week- Samantha Stanley
Written by Julianna Bonnett
She leaned over while covering her right nostril as she inhaled the clear, white powder. Once she threw her head back, her heart began to race, her body temperature started to rise, and within 15 minutes of her first hit, her tongue and throat became numb from the blow's sensation.
She knew it was time for her to get some shut-eye, but the rush of the blow stimulated the energy in her body, leaving her wanting more. Her mouth started watering as her craving for it increased; she shut her eyes when she heard a murmur in her ear, saying, "I'm here for you; you can trust me."She shook her head in disbelief, but the whispers became louder, and the craving became stronger. "Just one more, just one more," the murmur convinced her.
Samantha Stanley's journey to being clean is shared by many in Windsor, a city mired in addiction. For many individuals, addiction is a way for them to have fun, relax, experiment, or cope with everyday stress or past traumas.
Stanley, a 28-year-old recovered addict who has been clean for two years, explained her addiction started when she was 11 years old. "I started drinking and smoking weed because it was kind of what everyone else was doing around me. " Stanley said that she continued to experiment with alcohol and marijuana throughout her teen years and at points tried other drugs like ecstasy and mushrooms.
"It wasn't till I was 18 years old that I started drinking every day, and eventually, I flunked out of nursing school," shared Stanley. "I was back and forth, and I felt like I had no one to talk to and no one to rely on when things got hard."
Throughout the ages of 19 to 21 years old, Stanley experienced a few violent attacks that led her down a deeper depression and more substance abuse. "I never really felt a need to tell anyone about my sexual assaults because I didn't care about what happened to me," explained Stanley.
By the age of 22, Stanley felt like her life was going well despite what happened to her previously. She was in a happy and healthy relationship and felt completely confident and fulfilled with her life path.
On February 23, 2013, Stanley and her then-boyfriend Martin were involved in an apartment fire on Thornberry Crescent. Due to the fire, Stanley was put in a medically induced coma. Her boyfriend Martin died at the young age of 30.
"I'm not sure how the fire even started. All I remember is our neighbours were trying to kick in the door to get us out, but we were already passed out by that time," said Stanley. "I was in a coma for more than three weeks, and when I woke out of it, I was told that within 24 hours after the accident, Martin had so much smoke inhalation that they couldn't even recognize him."
From there on, Stanley's grief led to a spiral of more substance abuse to the point where she found herself doing cocaine every single day. "Awhile after the fire, I met someone that I thought would be good for me, and I ended up getting pregnant with my son, Ethan," explained Stanley. "Six months after having Ethan we were using everyday and selling to satisfy our habits."
In 2016, after the end of her relationship, Stanley moved to Windsor and instantly made the process of getting sober after attending rehab classes, youth classes and anger management classes. After being sober for almost a year, she found herself overwhelmed and tired and felt the urge to use it again.
"I ended up just kind of losing myself again and meeting up with my ex at a hotel room and using all night long," said Stanley. "CAS was already involved in so much of what was happening with my son, so I knew something had to change within me."
The week after she used again, Stanley agreed to go to the Women's Life Centre in Windsor in mid-May 2018. The center provided counselling, nutrition, education, treatment support, and more for women recovering from addiction and trauma.
Since graduating from the Women's Life Centre, she has been clean and sober.
"If it wasn't for the Women's Life Centre being completely dedicated to me being clean, I don't think I would have been able to overcome this," said Stanley. "Now, I can be the best mom I know I can be and focus on what's good in my life."
Stanley's story is one of many to admire in the battle against addiction. It shows strength and determination that you do not have to battle the murmur's in your ear alone.
Addiction in Windsor: Windsor has never seen more of an increase in addicts struggling to overcome their addictions since the beginning of COVID-19. Coronavirus, which took the world by storm when it hit in late March 2020, has challenged many individuals struggling with an addiction to get any help during this time. Many non-profits have changed around their schedules and day to day lives to help those in need.
Some services you can contact today if you are struggling are,