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Brittney Boswell, a recovering meth addict

Brittney Boswell, a 24-year-old recovering meth addict, talks about the recovery process and undergoing treatment at Rimrock, a treatment facility in Billings on Tuesday.

It’s taken about a year for Brittney Boswell, 24, to kick an intravenous methamphetamine addiction that has plagued her since May 27, 2012.

She hasn’t had meth for about 11 months. The triggers and cravings are still there, she said, but the pangs are weaker now.

Boswell is currently in treatment at the Rimrock Foundation’s program, Michelle’s House, which helps mothers with children younger than 12 beat their addictions.

She was sent to the rehabilitation facility by courts in Missoula County, where she has lived for more than a decade.

“I couldn’t quit using when I was pregnant,” Boswell said. “It was either going to jail or coming here.”

She was turned into authorities by her mother, who was concerned about the welfare of Boswell’s unborn twins.

Her mother now has custody of all four of her children, Boswell said. The 10-month-old boy and girl are healthy and developing normally.

While the drug has sapped nearly three years of her life, getting hooked on meth didn’t take long, she said. “All it took for me was that first time.”

Her path to addiction didn’t begin in 2012.

In high school she had tried marijuana and cocaine, but that didn’t really do much for her, she said.

Her first encounter with addiction began when she was prescribed Lortabs after a miscarriage. The painkiller is a mixture of hydrocodone and Tylenol.

“Before I knew it, my prescription was out, and I couldn’t get it refilled,” she said.

She began buying pills from dealers in Missoula, but she didn’t see anything wrong with it.

“I didn’t think I had a problem,” she said. “I had a nice apartment, my bills were paid.”

The first time she tried meth was after the death of her nephew, she said. “I was willing to do anything to make that go away.”

Her husband, whom she started dating at age 16 and married at 21, was a five-year-sober IV drug user, and he relapsed with her.

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“Within the first month, I lost my apartment, I lost my job, I lost my two kids,” she said. “Even though I lost everything, I still thought I had everything in control.”

The two jumped from couch to couch or stayed at the home of her mother-in-law.

She tried to battle the addiction and managed to get away from meth for a month, but she simply replaced the drug with alcohol and would eventually relapse.

Nothing could break the addiction cycle, not even when Child and Family Services took custody of her children.

“After my daughters were taken from me, I remember shooting up and crying so hard, I couldn’t shoot up” she said. “I wanted the help, but I couldn’t take it.”

It took the threat of jail to break her out of the addiction.

Now after spending time at Rimrock, she has been able to develop stronger relationships with her children and her parents, she said. She has managed to get a job as a cashier at Wal-Mart.

The independence has boosted her confidence.

“It feels so good,” she said. “I feel like I’m a contributing member of my family.”

After she is discharged, she hopes to find a sponsor and transfer to a Wal-Mart store in Missoula.

She thinks about how living in the place where she used to purchase and use drugs could cause her to relapse, but she believes Rimrock has prepared her to fight those triggers.

“If I wanted drugs, I could get drugs,” she said. But, “I also know where to find a meeting.”

Her family’s support, her responsibility to her children and a strong Narcotics Anonymous fellowship will help keep her away from drugs, she said.

She hopes her story is an inspiration to others, especially her children.

“I hope that just knowing how hard I’ve worked for this, that will inspire them,” she said. “With my kids, I hope it stops with me.”

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Chris Cioffi covers city news for The Billings Gazette in Montana.