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Lowcountry woman looks to start new life after beating heroin addiction

The stigma associated with being a heroin addict is a difficult one to shake. Beyond the label, there's so much more to each person's story. There's one Lowcountry woman willing to be the brave face of recovery.

The stigma associated with being a heroin addict is a difficult one to shake. Beyond the label, there's so much more to each person's story. There's one Lowcountry woman willing to be the brave face of recovery.

Like so many others, Nikia Noisette says her battle with heroin started with a painkiller prescription.

When she was eight years old, she was diagnosed with sickle cell anemia. She was used to controlling her pain -- until it controlled her.

For Noisette, life today feels much different, but her green eyes carry a painful past.

"I used to hate to hear the birds chirping because it was just a reminder that I spent all night getting high, the night before getting high and be up all morning long but now I love it, I love to hear the birds chirping," she said.

Three years and seven months sober, she's come out of the darkness. Like countless others, heroin use was a path she never envisioned for herself.

"I was one of those people that said, you know, I will never do drugs, I will never touch drugs. I remember the first time that I tried heroin I was like, 'Oh my god, this is heroin.' But I didn't have any pills at the time and my withdrawals had become so bad," Noisette said.

Story continues below the interview with Charleston County Coroner Rae Wooten.

To support her habit, Noisette began trafficking drugs across state lines, a decision that landed her in federal prison.

She remembers the night she decided she'd had enough of that life.

"I was using and I just looked at myself in the mirror and I just broke down and started crying and was like, 'How did you let yourself get to this point?" she said. "I had tremendous dark circles under my eyes because I had stayed up for like two days at a time. You know, getting high."

It's a reflection of her past, but one that does not mirror her life now,.

"It took a while [to forgive myself], yes, that definitely took a while," she said.

A mother of three, she's enjoying the simple life and soaking up all the wisdom she's found along the way.

"Sometimes the thing that we're searching for, you know, is within us," she said.

With her criminal record, finding a job is now Noisette's biggest battle. She has a license to sell health and life insurance.

She knows her criminal record means she hears plenty of rejections, but she remains hopeful as she waits for that one yes.


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