From the outside looking in, Kali Warnock’s life as a kid was picture-perfect. Her parents were both very involved in her life, she excelled at sports and loved playing them, and she was the ideal preacher’s kid at her church. But behind the facade, things were very different.
Kali’s parents were having relationship problems and her father was struggling with gambling and alcohol addictions. His addiction was carefully hidden from Kali and her brothers for a long time, but it finally came to light when her parents divorced her junior year of high school.
After the divorce, Kali and her younger brother moved away from south Texas and relocated to Louisiana with her mother. She quit all sports her senior year and became a cheerleader instead, primarily to make her dad mad. He had taught her how to play basketball when she was young so quitting was her way of getting back at him. It was during this difficult time that Kali also had her first experiences with alcohol and drugs.
In Louisiana, she made new friends and spent a lot of time hanging out and drinking with them. Her drinking led to street drugs, and eventually cocaine, ecstasy, and any other drug she could get her hands on. Two years later, Kali realized she had a substance abuse problem and ended up at a treatment center.
“Ever since I was a child, I was always uncomfortable in my own skin. I’m a chameleon. I can blend into any surrounding and be whoever I need to be,” Kali says. “At my first treatment center, I was scared to death. But for the first time in my life, I was like, ‘Oh my god. These people have what I have.’ It was an amazing experience.”
Although her first experience in rehab was a positive one, Kali wasn’t ready to call it quits. She got out of treatment and immediately relapsed.
Twelve Years of Chaos
The next twelve years of Kali’s life were extremely chaotic. An unforgiving cycle of substance abuse, depression, abusive relationships, and anxiety hung like a dark cloud over her head and followed her wherever she went.
She struggled to maintain any consistency in her life and a breast cancer diagnosis, the loss of a best friend, and an unsuccessful marriage left her completely hopeless and lost. Life continued to deal her more than she could handle, and she responded by running away from it all and masking her emotions with drugs.
“I remember the day when I decided opiates were the answer. I thought, ‘Opiates are how I’m going to get married. Opiates are how I’m going to be a mom to twins.’ Opiates were just the answer,” she says.
At one point, Kali was on opioids, benzodiazepines, and amphetamines all at once, with a dirty doctor giving her prescriptions for anything and everything she wanted. For years she was taking an excessive number of pills each day just to get by, all while fighting a heated custody battle with her ex-husband. Eventually the pills stopped working and she was tired of fighting. Physically, emotionally, and spiritually, Kali was done.
The day she finally got primary custody of her twins, she had planned to commit suicide. Fortunately, she didn’t go through with it, and instead, ended up back in treatment.
“I experienced a lot of freedom that time and worked really hard, but there were some traumatic things that had happened to me and there were a lot of things I wasn’t ready to be honest about,” she says. “I thought the freedom of not using the drugs would be enough to carry me through, but it wasn’t.”
Kali relapsed again and continued living a double life. She kept up appearances by working full-time and buying her own home, but underneath it all, her drug abuse was worse than ever.
After a failed attempt at trying to get sober on her own, Kali met a man who was also an addict and an alcoholic. They quickly developed a relationship and within a month, she was a mere 90 pounds and a full-blown alcoholic. Despite the fact that he was abusive and unstable, Kali was convinced she was in love with him.
She eventually reached the end of her rope again and didn’t know where to turn, so she called a counselor from a previous treatment center. The counselor recommended Nova’s 90-day rehab program, so Kali packed her bags and headed to detox, but not before taking every single Adderall pill she had left.
“I was in detox for a week and a half, but I don’t remember it at all,” she says. “I don’t even remember the first week of treatment at Nova. I was really sick, but I just started working the steps anyway.”
Kali worked very hard at Nova. So hard, in fact, that she spent four months completing a three-month rehab program. After working all 12 steps in rehab, she continued her addiction treatment with Eudaimonia’s sober living program. It wasn’t until she left the safety net of her sober living home that she realized she still wasn’t ready to face her feelings and trust her higher power. Once more, she fell right back into addiction.
A Tiny Sliver of Hope
After several unsuccessful attempts at getting sober, Kali had given up and accepted that she was going to die an addict. She got back with her ex-boyfriend, shut herself away from her loved ones, and buried herself in drugs and alcohol. Nine months of substance abuse left her utterly hopeless and once again, contemplating suicide.
“I had found a gun, locked myself in a room in the basement, and was pacing back and forth. I didn’t want to live sober and I didn’t want to live using. I thought I had been hopeless before, but this was just a whole new thing,” she says. “Gun in hand, I was about to do it, and I looked down at my phone and Sarah, a counselor from Nova, had texted me. It just said, ‘Are you ready?’”
This tiny sliver of hope was enough to get Kali back into treatment at Nova for another 30 days. For the first time in her life, she was completely honest with the people around her. She still didn’t believe treatment would work for her, but she did it anyway.
“I was that person that said, ‘It’s not going to work.’ It took me finally trusting my God,” Kali says. “I didn’t know what I was doing there. I just listened, took suggestions, and was willing. Now I’m completely free. Never in my life have I been comfortable in my own skin, but today, with zero drugs, I’m completely free.”
Today, a year later, Kali is still sober, happily single, and moving on to bigger and better things in her life. She plans to relocate next month so she can be with her kids every other weekend. She’s also going back to school and aspires to work at The Dream Center, a faith-based recovery program. She is still working the 12 steps, but now she has her own sponsee and is giving back what was freely given to her.
“It’s really beautiful to be able to help other women,” she says. “Women are such a huge part of my story and Nova is the cornerstone of my story.”
If you’re addicted and need help, the staff at Nova Recovery Center is here to help. Nova’s 90-day drug rehab program is designed to give you the support, tools, and life skills needed to maintain your sobriety. Call today to get started.