Meet Carley Bowen, Alo House’s Admission Coordinator. Finding the right fit for this role was not something we took lightly, and when Carley came to us after a year of work in the recovery field, we knew it was the perfect match.
Carley’s personal story showed us that she understood the care required in the admissions process because she knows how hard it is to seek help.
Carley was first introduced to opiates at age 12 when she was given a prescription for an injury. Even at such a young age, she can vividly recall a feeling of comfort and peace after taking the drug for her first time.
It was this experience that would lead her down a long road of addiction, multiple overdoses, and years of struggle. But it was also this experience that would lead her to the inspiring path she is on today.
Carley’s Personal Story
Carley’s addiction first began with alcoholism. At age 16, she would regularly drink full fifths of vodka. By 18, alcohol alone wasn’t enough and she turned to cocaine. As is in many cases, the addiction didn’t stop there.
Before long she traded drinking for smoking heroin and cocaine for meth, and just months later she did the one thing she swore she would never do – she became an IV drug user.
When Carley hit rock bottom, she admits she would look in the mirror without recognizing herself. While this is a very dark and dangerous time in the life of any addict, it gave Carley a powerful realization, one that may have saved her life.
She reflected on her college years, originally remembering them as fun and carefree, but with further introspection she remembered that her life had been plagued by anxiety and panic attacks followed by debilitating depression.
She came to the realization that her addiction was a coping mechanism for these difficult emotions, that she was using drugs to stay numb.
After attempting to get clean on her own accord and relapsing several times, she realized she needed professional help. Through the process of going to inpatient treatment six times, Carley began to understand herself and her addiction, a necessary tool required to get clean and sober.
One of her in-patient treatments was at Alo House Recovery Centers. She told us about an impactful moment in her recovery.
“I remember sitting on the lawn with one of our therapists at the time, facing the rose garden and looking at the horses and thinking, ‘This is so peaceful but I will never be able to really experience any of this because of this addiction I have, I will never stay clean.’ I remember the sun on my face and sobbing while he listened.”
“I learned about self-love and self-acceptance, about how we all have our highest potential, and how there isn’t any reason that someone else can stay clean and live full meaningful lives and I couldn’t. I remember feeling so much support and wanted desperately to have the life these caring individuals told me I could have.”
After in-patient treatment, Carley entered sober living, got a job, and began to truly believe that she could live a life without addiction.
Within six months, she moved into her own apartment and began looking for work in the recovery field. Along with going to therapy for addiction, she began processing past traumas and working on her anxiety and depression, which provided her with healthy coping mechanisms rather than the desire to numb difficult emotions through drugs and alcohol.
It was this inner work that was the foundation for building a strong life. Through this experience, she knew that helping others in the same way she had been helped was what she was destined to do.
Today, Carley lives in an apartment with her best friend and dachshund, Marvin. She has discovered new joys like longboarding, reading, writing, music, and is working toward her CADC. She believes that everyone is capable of change when shown support, compassion, and love, and feels honored to witness that change occuring at Alo House.
“Working at Alo House has given my life so much meaning. It’s truly amazing to see people come in at their lowest and watch their life change and a genuine smile appear.”
For anyone currently struggling with addiction and looking for hope, Carley’s recovery can serve as an inspiration.
Her biggest piece of advice is to never give up, and to believe that it is possible to come out on the “other side” and live a full, meaningful life.
Carley’s story is an example of someone who used their negative experience in a powerful way, and she is proud to say that she is where she is today because of her story, not in spite of it.
Read more about Carley Bowen on her Alo House staff page.