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Coming full circle: Rosanna Terrill’s journey into sobriety

“At 35 years old, I got addicted to methamphetamine. I hadn’t heard of it,” said Rosanna Terrill.

Terrill is a recovery meth addict. On Jan. 6, 2005, she was convicted on a charge of manufacture/delivery of a controlled substance, among other charges, and she was sentenced to two years in prison.

“I told the judge, “I’m not a criminal, I’m an addict.” Well, he told me, ‘You’ll get a lot of treatment in jail.’ I just wish everyone could get that out of prison,” said Terrill.

While in prison at Coffee Creek Correctional Facility in Wilsonville, she received treatment for her addiction, including coping skills, cognitive therapy, and a six month dual diagnosis program.

“It took three months in prison before the stuff of life hits you—there’s no pipe to hide behind. For 10 years I was addicted. I had to deal with the things: I missed my kids, my mother’s death, divorce and losing my kids, and depression. All that pain had been there, and I didn’t deal with it,” she said.

Terrill asserts that Dual Diagnosis Anonymous (DDA) helped her overcome her addiction.

About Dual Diagnosis Anonymous

DDA is a peer support group based on an authorized version of the 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous, plus an additional five steps that focus on dual-diagnosis (mental illness and substance abuse). The five additional steps for individuals include acceptance of one’s mental illness and emphasize taking their prescriptions correctly.

Corbett Monica developed DDA in 1996 to address the relationship between substance abuse and underlying mental health issues that can contribute to addiction. When both the addiction and cause are addressed, treatment can be more successful.

Upon Terrill’s release from prison in July 2007—after serving a 19-month sentence for delivery of meth—she arrived at the Ken Trueman Recovery Center in Newport.

“I walked out of prison with only a sweat suit…they clothed me when I didn’t have any money. They met my mental health needs helping with my medication, and in two weeks I found a job,” said Terrill.

The Trueman Center supplies Terrill with the tools to stay sober and a free place to live for a year through the Passport Program.

About Passport Program
The Passport Program works with parole officers to help people who were incarcerated avoid becoming homeless.

Mary-Rose Pearsall, clinical supervisor at Trueman, explained that there are five beds available through the Passport Program at Trueman, which are full at the moment.

Pearsall said, “It is a long-term residential treatment program that helps people get work, pay of their fines, and make their way back into the community.”

Starting DDA in Newport

Initially, Terrill was concerned about returning to the area with no dual-diagnosis anonymous group, so she made her own DDA with approval from the staff at Trueman.

Pearsall said, “Rosie spoke very eloquently of how helpful these groups had been to her, and at the time, clients wanted a different 12-Step program.”

Pearsall noted that co-occurring issues are often interrelated, and she encouraged those who feel they are suffering from addiction and a mental health issue, whether diagnosed or not, to consider DDA.

Corbett Monica of DDA came to Newport to help her start the program in the area.

Monica said, “I met her (Terrill) at the institution (Coffee Creek) where I focus on the hospitals and institutions to introduce people to the 12-Step programs of support. Rosie is the quintessential example of following through on her promise.”

He explained that Terrill committed to start a 12-Step program in Newport and that this action is an important step in recovery.

Terrill said, “I was nervous to come back here, but DDA is an opportunity for me to give back to the community what I took away from it.”

Initially, the DDA group was for Trueman Center clients, but now it is open to the public for those with dual diagnosis.

Terrill said, “I’m now in a maintenance stage of recovery. There are five stages, and I’m in the last part. The support group is to reflect back on it. It took me two and a half years to get here.”

Why did Terrill start using?

As a mother with four young children whose husband was frequently traveling, Terrill was dealing with depression from losing both her mother and her best friend to suicide.

“My best friend at the time brought drugs over, and it took eight years and going to prison to quit. Meth is a powerful drug. I could have all the visitations I wanted with my children, but I was too ashamed to be around my children while high. I wanted to be high rather than deal with the pain I caused them. As a mom, I wasn’t there for them, and there’s no excuse for being a lousy mother…they still love me, so I guess I did something right,” said Terrill.

Terrill supported her meth addict as a drug dealer. While in prison, she became sober and started therapy and counseling to address her addiction and depression. She learned coping skills to deal with the pain she had been ignoring in her life.

“If I had these skills 10 years ago, I wouldn’t be where I am. Coping skills teach you how to deal with stressful things,” she explained.

Terrill’s four children are now 15 to 21 years old, and their father has raised them for the last 10 years. “My daughter, who is 21, gave me a card for Christmas that said, ‘Mom, the best thing you gave me for Christmas is you.’ “You can’t get those years back,” Terrill said.

Day to Day

Terrill works full time, and her long-term goal is to save enough money to move to Portland to be closer to her family. She is slowly rebuilding her family’s trust with help from therapy.

“It was the focus I needed,” she said. “With family groups, we discuss addiction. It opens an addict’s mind to the pain they’ve caused their family. It doesn’t matter how close you are—if there’s an addict in your family it effects the whole cycle of things.”

She attends multiple group therapy and individual therapy sessions at Trueman, where she finds the support she needs. In July, her year in the Passport Program will be up.

“Life in recovery is facing your demons,” said Terrill.

DDA meetings

DDA meets every Thursday at 2 p.m. at the Trueman Recovery Center, located at 351 SW 7th St., Newport. During a meeting, the five rules of DDA respect are read, introductions are given, a preamble is read and the chairperson (Terrill) chooses a topic or opens the meeting to discuss a personal experience of strength and hope in dual-diagnosis anonymous recovery.

“Everyone is at a different point, and it helps to understand what all this is about—self-forgiveness,” she said.

This peer-based support group isn’t attended by the Trueman staff, which allows clients and guests anonymity to discuss their addictions.

“I find it very rewarding in that I have a lot that I can give. People are coming through here for hope. It’s nice to have some part of someone else’s recovery,” Terrill said. “Hope is always something you can spare for someone, and it’s hope that helps you succeed. There’s a lot of hope in here.”

For more information on DDA, call the Trueman Recovery Center at 265-2971. For more information on the Dual Diagnosis Program, call (503) 7373-4126 or visit the website www.ddaoforegon.com

Terrill concluded, “I was in the paper two times before (in this county), and now I’m coming full circle with it. There’s no drug out there that can make me feel as good as I do now.”

Elizabeth Chapman is a reporter with the News-Times. She can be reached at 265-8571 ext. 217 or echapman@newportnewstimes.com




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