Getting Sober in Prison and Staying Sober: Nicole Argenio, Recovery Coach

Greg interviews Nicole Argenio, a former opioid addict. Nicole is an addiction recovery coach at the Oriana House in Akron, OH. The Oriana House is dedicated to assisting people in overcoming their substance dependencies and providing multi-step rehabilitation.

As a former addict, Nicole shares her struggle with addiction. She was prescribed opioids as a child for her back pain. She proceeded to take the medication for years, becoming obsessed with the chaos it created in her life. “In order to live, I had to feel chaos in my life. I didn’t want to feel pain or sadness. I didn’t really know what happiness was. I kept myself busy 24/7, so I didn’t have to feel the pain…or think about it.”

While struggling with addiction, Nicole accumulated many charges leading her to probation. She broke probation in 2011 and was charged with deception to obtain a dangerous drug. The charge brought her to recovery. She was placed in jail for 65 days, then released. She relapsed after running around the same people, places and things. She was finally arrested again on New Year’s Eve of 2012 and sent to jail for 166 days.

Nicole talks about how going to jail, specifically Stark Regional Community Corrections Center, changed her life and gave her a career. “I learned how to enjoy being emotional. I learned how to love and how to be happy. I learned that I wanted to help somebody else.” After working on a 12-step program herself, Nicole went on to sponsor other women and gain strength in her recovery. She applied for the Recovery Coach position at Oriana House and she got the job. She says, “It has been a blessing.”

As a recovery coach, Nicole meets with addicts. She helps them recover through motivation and walking alongside them, wherever they may be on their road to recovery. “I let them know that I’m in recovery, just as they are. I help them gain sober support…I show them how to have fun in recovery and how to live.”

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