Apr 22, 2016 4:31 PM

Recovery Lasts a Lifetime: NH woman reaches 100th day of sobriety after family struggle


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

Samantha Panageas witnessed the power of addiction as a child. Both of her parents abused substances. Her father has been sober for 25 years and that's one reason why she calls him her 'rock.'

Her mother struggled with her addiction for most of Samantha's life.

"Not knowing when my mom was going to come home, seeing her sick or seeing her messed up," she said. "Falling asleep with cigarettes, falling asleep in the tub. I was always scared for her life."

As a teenager, with one parent in recovery and the other actively addicted, she didn't know who to idolize.

"My rationalization was, if heroin could take my mom from me and it was that good, then I should just do it because obviously it must be pretty amazing."

It was a quick downward spiral. Samantha found herself living in her car and out of options.

"I saw my boyfriend's best friend overdose in the backseat of the car and he had to give him CPR by mouth and bring him back to life," she said. "That was enough to scare me."

Samantha called her father and he took her to The Farnum Center treatment center in Manchester.

Samantha is now 22 years old, Friday marks her 100th day of sobriety.

She wants anyone struggling with addiction to know that there is hope.

"We're not our disease," she said. "Our disease doesn't make us who we are and there's life after addiction."

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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