A year after a photo of Erika Hurt slumped over in her car from a drug overdose went viral, the Indiana mom is in a completely different place.
The image, which was widely shared by Indiana police in October 2016, showed Hurt passed out in her car from a heroin overdose, while her son Parker was in the backseat.
Last week, Hurt, 26, re-shared the photo on her Facebook page, along with new photos of herself and her son.
“I’ve seriously debated for the past month, on whether I should repost such a painful picture displaying the absolute worst moment of my life,” she wrote on the social media site.
“I’ve decided to repost the picture simply because it displays exactly what heroin addiction is. Also because I do not want to ever forget where the road of addiction has taken me. Little did I know that day, my life was about to change, drastically.”
Hurt adds today she is able to focus on the good in her life again — the good that came out of this picture.
“Today, I am a mother to my son, again. Today, I am able to be grateful to actually have solid proof where addiction will only lead you, and today I am able to say that I am ONE YEAR SOBER,” she continued.
The viral photo
According to NBC, Hurt is from the town of Hope, where the number of fatal overdoses has reached to 23 so far this year.
“For this girl to have her life ripped up and then come back and be sober after everything that’s happened to her, that’s a story of success,” Hope town marshal Matt Tallent told the broadcaster.
Hurt was given a two-year suspended jail sentence and was required to attend an inpatient drug rehab program. After rehabd, she served the remainder of her sentence under house arrest.
Tallent originally sent the photo to local media in 2016, hoping to raise awareness about the state’s ongoing drug epidemic.
“My intention with these photos is not to shame the mother, although I realize it may appear embarrassing,” Tallent told WTTV in 2016. “I honestly think this picture should be used as an educational tool because I want people to see what this drug is doing.”
Social media users react
On Facebook, Hurt’s “before and after” photo garnered more than 6,000 likes and over 800 shares.
Many users sent messages of support and applauded her for taking the steps to make changes in her life.
“Congratulations young lady! You and your family worked hard to get you where you are today! Congratulations to all of you,” user Shelly Cope wrote.
“You are an inspiration to many others can make a big difference in this fight against the disease of addiction,” user Roxanne Taylor Schultz wrote.
“So brave! I can’t even begin to imagine what brought you to that low or the effort it took to get where you are now! Well done, Erika! I applaud you for sharing this,” user Sean Burton wrote.
Reading all of the messages, Hurt said she was overwhelmed by the enormous outpouring of love and support.
According to online resource guide Addiction Center, after an experience like an overdose or drug addiction, many people feel the temptation to use again, even after rehab.
Having a solid support system will help former addicts avoid those temptations, according to the centre.
“Surround yourself with sober people, as well as people who have your best interests at heart and want to help you be successful. Find a support group in your area, or even someone you can call when you feel tempted,” the centre states.
Modify your environment (get rid of things that remind you of drug abuse), follow up on all of your appointments and plan out new healthy habits to replace the old ones. Reflection is also important.
“When we have a strong appreciation for the life we’ve been given, it’s easier to recognize how much we have to be thankful for. Consider starting a gratitude journal and writing down five things each day that make you feel fulfilled and happy.”
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