She lived with her mom, who battled her own addiction, until she was 10 years old. After that, Aisian Lucas lived with her aunt and grandmother in Carter County. She considered her childhood to be a normal one.

Aisian did well academically and was a year ahead in school. She never did drugs.

But things changed the year she graduated from high school. Aisian started hanging out with a different crowd and did some drugs to fit in. Since she had access to drugs, she sold them to her friends for about six months before ever trying them herself.

But when she did, it was over.

Aisian was hooked in less than a month and was surprised when she tried to stop but couldn’t. She was 18 years old and didn’t yet understand the repercussions. Aisian had celebrated her 18th birthday with a trip to Florida. Her destination wasn’t Disney World or the beach, it was a pill mill.

Her life spun more out of control. She thought she had to be high to be happy.

Soon Aisian met a guy and became pregnant, but that didn’t stop her from shooting up. She began working for a man by bringing drugs in from out of state. Her boyfriend was physically and verbally abusive.

Aisian had no prenatal care until finally going to a doctor when she was seven months pregnant. Doctors could only detect a faint heartbeat. She needed an emergency C-section. They gave her 10 minutes to tell her family. She used that time to duck into the bathroom to do drugs.

Her baby weighed two pounds. When Aisian woke up, her only thought was getting high. Within 22 hours of giving birth, Aisian left the hospital against medical advice and traveled to Detroit to get drugs.

Aisian’s aunt had custody of her daughter, who spent three months in the neonatal intensive care unit. Aisian would visit two or three times a week. She loved her daughter, but she loved drugs more.

She began shoplifting like it was her job. She was a shell of herself – no feelings except hating her life.

Aisian eventually ended up in rehab, but she ran – because that’s what she did when things got hard.

With multiple shoplifting charges and then a felony, Aisian was facing three years in prison. She then came in contact with a judge who would change her life. He told Aisian that she wasn’t going to die on his watch. He gave her another opportunity after just three months of being incarcerated.

The judge had seen changes in women who had received treatment at an Addiction Recovery Care facility and ordered her to ARC with the help of an Operation UNITE treatment voucher.

Aisian found love from other people who wanted nothing from her in return. When she completed treatment, she returned home – 26 years old with only the clothes on her back.

She went to church and helped with a ministry that provided people with rides to recovery meetings and other needed services. Aisian obtained a job in a factory, regained her driver’s license, and bought a car. Everything was getting back in alignment.

She then began working for ARC – first as a residential staffer/peer support specialist and currently as a liaison to her home county.

Soon Aisian will be six years sober. She earned an associate’s degree and is a mom to her daughter, whom she takes to the beach every summer with her husband. And she finds great fulfillment in helping people go through treatment who were in active addiction with her.

Her world has come full circle.