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Apr 15, 2016 3:07 PM

Recovery Lasts a Lifetime: NH mom and dad tell story of heroin addiction, path to get clean


MANCHESTER - In our continuing coverage of the state's heroin and opioid crisis, NH1 News is airing a series of positive stories of recovery and hope.

Matthew Lee experimented with drugs in high school and by his late 20's he says he was taking an average 15 pills a day. When he met Ashley Cowette, she too had been abusing drugs for years.

"There were Percosets, Vicodin and then the 'Oxy's' were around. Then I went straight to heroin. I was an IV user by 16," Cowette said.

As a couple, Matthew and Ashley walked a near deadly path. From what they can recall, Ashley overdosed 12 times, Matthew 10.

Ashley became pregnant in 2010 and gave birth to a baby girl. Her daughter was born addicted and spent 52 days in the hospital.

Matthew decided to get help and he was sober for 3.5 years. During that time Ashley gave birth to their second child, while mom and son were recovering in the hospital, Matthew relapsed.

Consumed by their addiction, the children were placed with their grandparents.

In December of 2014, Ashley's best friend died of an overdose. She decided that was it, she was changing her life.

It was time Matthew and Ashley took separate paths. They both went through detox programs and are currently living in separate sober houses.

For now, Matthew and Ashley are friends and they are supporting each other through their sobriety. They have regular visits with their children and said their message to others living with addiction is that a sober life is an easier one.

They urge anyone who goes through detox to keep close to the recovery community and to attend meetings as often as possible.

"I don't have those struggles that I used to have and I wouldn't want those. I wouldn't wish those struggles upon anyone because it's a really difficult life," Lee said. "It's a life of surviving rather than living and I want to live now."

Colleen Shaughnessy is a multimedia journalist for NH1 News. You can email her at cshaughnessy@nh1.com and follow her on Twitter, @ColleenNH1.


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