Anna Fox had no idea she was trying heroin the first time she used the drug.
Then a teenager, that first hit would signal the start of a years-long battle with drug addiction.
“I was just one of those kids that was up for anything,” said the Kent Island resident, now a 33-year-old mother of two. “I didn’t know what it was, but I passed out and when I woke up, I wanted it again. I couldn’t stop thinking about whatever it was. I think I just liked the numbness.”
At first, the consequences of her addiction were minimal. Fox graduated from Rising Sun High School in 2001 and began classes at the local community college.
But as her addiction spiraled out of control, Fox began stealing to feed her habit and traveling to Baltimore to get more drugs. She sought help and told her parents she had a problem.
Still desperate to use, Fox went to an area emergency room at her mother’s suggestion. But she was turned away and directed to a nearby methadone clinic.
“That part of my story makes me really sad,” she said.
Unwilling to try methadone, Fox left and went to Baltimore again—and the cycle began anew.
She was shot at during a drug deal gone bad. She ran over a Maryland state trooper in a drug-induced haze. She went to jail, stayed six months, got out and relapsed. She asked for help again. At her cousin’s encouragement, she sought rehab and was clean for about seven months until she relapsed again.
Community in Crisis: Chasing the High, an in-depth look at the heroin problem in Maryland, airs Thursday at 7 p.m. on ABC2 News.
Fox knew her way didn’t work, but she still found herself attending rehab meetings with one foot out the door.
Eventually, she decided she wanted both feet in the door. That was a decade ago.
“My desire to stay clean is stronger than my desire to use,” Fox said. “It was just my a-ha moment.”
When times are difficult, she prays and asks God for guidance. She reminds herself she doesn’t want to use, and starts every day with an attitude of gratitude and prayer, she said.
Fox recently started taking college classes again and realized she lives for recovery.
“People are talking about other things, and I realized all I talk about is recovery,” she said with a laugh.
Fox’s boyfriend is also in recovery. The two have two daughters, ages 3 and 9. She knows one day she’ll have to tell them her story, and she wants it to be a learning experience for them.
“I look forward to the day I can do that,” Fox said.
She is also involved with Celebrate Recovery, a faith-based support group at Kent Island United Methodist Church, where she works with others who battle addictions. Fox has also volunteered with the RESET program, an early intervention program for troubled teens.
“The people I can help the most are the people who haven’t started using,” Fox said.