A recovering drug addict has shared photos of herself from her days of heroin use with the hopes of encouraging other addicts to seek help.
Melissa Lee Matos, is a mother believed to be from West Virginia. She was addicted to the substance for years and it affected her in every way, including her physical appearance. The main side effects of heroin are painful abscesses and sores on the skin, dark spots on the face and body and weight loss.
Photo shared by the woman shows her slumped against a bathroom wall, with dark marks across her face and her eyes rolling back into her head. Another one shows her in a zombie-like state, covered in sores while holding a bowl of chips.
She wrote on Facebook: “This was what I looked like, daily, for years. This is what my husband dealt with. This is what my little girls walked in on. This is what my family and friends saw, on the rare occasions I left the house. I was SICK. I was DYING. I was so far gone I thought I could NEVER recover. I was so lost I couldn’t imagine a life without using. I just wanted to die. I didn’t realize I was hardly alive.”
Lee Matos has now been clean for a year and five months and she looks healthier. She shared before and after photos and encouraged readers to share with anyone that might need a push toward ending their addiction.
“If you are currently in active addiction, this is my plea to you. Look at these pictures. Images of a dead girl. A needle junkie with a habit so fierce she spent days and nights in a self induced coma on her bathroom floor. A girl who would spend every cent on dope and forget she had kids to feed and take care of. A girl who lost every single thing she ever had. A girl who was so sick she thought she would never ever find a way out, until she did, ” she wrote.
She continued: “If you are reading this and are going through the same pain I did, I am begging you to reach out. I died more than once. I have now found life. I promise you, there is HOPE. There is recovery. There is freedom and serenity and you are worthy of it. Please, please reach out. You do not have to suffer any longer. You are not alone. Just reach out your hand, I’m right here. My name is Melissa. I am a RECOVERED addict. Share with me your darkness, and I’ll lead you towards the light. I love you all.”
Lee Matos said that she has received more than a hundred messages and thousands of comments from people struggling with addiction who were encourage to reach out soon after she shared her photos.