This mother completed an incredible turnaround after her crippling heroin addiction
A mother-of-two has opened up about her crippling addiction to heroin and has implored others to follow her example and get themselves off of the highly-destructive and addictive substance.
Melissa Lee Matos was pictured by her young daughters - Katherine, 11 and Elisabeth, 9, - at the height of her addiction. After finding their mother slumped against the bathroom wall, the girls decided to show her the photos in order to help her try and stop.
Melissa now credits the youngsters with saving her life and, after overdosing in 2015 and relying on her daughter to call for an ambulance, she has now been clean for more than two years.
The mother first shared her story last year on Facebook and the post quickly went viral. However, a year on, she has now shared another photo with her daughters that shows her looking both happy and healthy. The mother admits that her eldest daughter bears the scars of the tumultuous time after she had to take care of her mother.
Speaking to the Mirror, Melissa said: "My eldest daughter would bring me food and drinks, rub my head, stay by my side like a mother would when her child was sick. She would watch her little sister, help her with homework, help get her ready for school.
"All the things a mum would do, that at the time, I was not capable of doing."
Unsurprisingly, given the nature of addiction, Melissa entered a life of crime in order to feed her habit and was absent from the lives of the people she loved.
While she received medication for her addiction, Melissa ended up going from doctor to doctor and ended up blacklisted, leading to her considering suicide.
Melissa said: "I spent every day locked up in my room, shooting heroin and snorting Xanax. If crack was around, I smoked it. If pills were around, I snorted them. It didn’t matter. I hated myself, hated my life."
Melissa also posted last year about her experience as well as posting the disturbing photos that her daughter took. In the moving post, the mother wrote: "I have NEVER shared these before. I’m not sure I ever intended to. This is extremely hard for me in so many ways. However, too many people are dying."
"I have friends who need to see this. It goes beyond what my words can accomplish. This is by far, the most raw thing I have shared with the world. Please read. Please share.
"This was what I looked like, daily, for years. This is what my husband dealt with. This is what my little girls walked in on. This is what my family and friends saw, on the rare occasions I left the house.
"I was SICK. I was DYING. I was so far gone I thought I could NEVER recover. I just wanted to die. I didn’t realize I was hardly alive.
"If you are currently in active addiction, this is my plea to you. Look at these pictures. Images of a dead girl.
"A girl who would spend every cent on dope and forget she had kids to feed and take care of.
"A girl who lost every single thing she ever had. A girl who was so sick she thought she would never ever find a way out, until she did.
"I died more than once. I have now found life. I promise you, there is HOPE. There is recovery. There is freedom and serenity and you are worthy of it.
"Please, please reach out. You do not have to suffer any longer. You are not alone. Just reach out your hand, I’m right here.
I think we can all agree that Melissa's transformation is absolutely incredible. Not only this, but the mother deserves credit for now using her platform to try and help others.