Awakenings, Serenity and Respect… Realizations in the Aftermath of Addiction


The Recovery Prayer from Narcotics Anonymous:

“We cannot change the nature of the addict or addiction. We can help to change the old lie “Once an addict, always an addict,” by striving to make recovery more available. God, help us to remember this difference.” 

Such is the personal mission of Melissa Cote… to change the old lie….  For she has proven beyond any stretch of the imagination that indeed, “A leopard can change her spots.”  She can thrive and assist others in their struggle…thereby helping herself to stay on the clean and sober track.

“Life is about the choices that you make…. Taking the easy way out is never the right way.” Melissa Cote

graduationMelissa came from a good family….  She was provided with love and all of the creature comforts offered in a “normal childhood”.  Despite this…she plunged into the depths of darkness and deprivation. She cared not for herself or others….choosing instead to chase the illusive drug… escalating out of control …ultimately leading to incarceration. Fifteen years later and many lessons learned, with the respect of the Pardons Board in Connecticut, Melissa has a college degree and forges on  asking for a helping hand…a  chance to meet her future goals… NOT a hand out.

Ladyjustice and Delilah spent a revealing hour on “Shattered Lives” learning about Melissa’s inspiring and incredible journey back.

To listen to the podcast, CLICK HERE

  • Introduction to guest:
  • Delilah on People who aren’t well known have the most touching stories… We can relate better…
  • Melissa “If I can help one person…one teenager…..”
  • The cold hard facts of the beginnings of drug abuse…
  • The blame game…and a special anniversary…
  • Delilah asks about how to recognize when you’re addicted?
  • The flu times100….and Melissa’s “gateway drug;”
  • The frontal lobe and teenager’s ability in making decisions;
  • The reasons for drugs…. “the long haired boys” and not being the most popular;
  • The beginnings of recovery…and a soul mate hiding alcoholism ;
  • A father and daughter’s relationship;
  • Drug Addiction and use of IV’s…. Intervention questions;
  • Arrests catching up to me…. and going cold turkey in prison;
  • Differences in treatment in men versus women’s prison;
  • A discussion withdrawal and how it manifests;
  • Ladyjustice asks Delilah her perspective as a mother in such a situations…and other factors involved;
  • Life on the streets prior to incarceration….
  • The male benefitting from Melissa’s  activities;
  • Melissa’s horror and fear for her daughter in the future;
  • Leaving the man ….at loose ends for a year…
  • “Arrest is a gift”…..
  • The journey of prison…
  • Melissa’s recovery program described and her will…
  • “Forcing me to grow up-“a wonderful experience;”
  • Parental response  and “tough love”;
  • Sneakin’ around…  typical teenage behavior;
  • The intersection of Parole with Ladyjustice and Pardons with Melissa;
  • Doing the work  to apply for Pardons  and “putting it off;”
  • Social work, and juvenile just as special interests;
  • “The pardons process was made for me”…
  • Misdemeanor crimes… not on her record….
  • Discussion of her personal hearing… so unique and awesome!
  • Minimum versus maximum….going above and beyond;
  • Recommendation from her arresting officer – A FIRST!
  • Mellissa’s daughter’s and her recommendation letter to the Pardon’s Board…
  • Wonderful feedback from Pardon’s officer and feeling “so scared”;
  • Starting a two-year degree…seven years later-  Drug & Alcohol Counseling;
  • Mental health and behavioral health cuts in Connecticut effecting Melissa’s future;
  • “When you really want something….you have to make time…”
  • Welcoming Melissa back …
  • Delilah asks Melissa about what her advice would be bringing up little girls and the inappropriate forces in our culture etc…
  • Guilty conscience….
  • Appealing to colleges and employers:
  • Contact Info:  Tel: 860-798-1780;


Questions, Questions, Questions…

  • How do drugs become all powerful?
  • Does “just say no” work?
  • What’s the difference regarding different types of addictions- Cocaine and heroin?
  • Did Melissa’s childhood “Drive her to drugs”…or were there other factors?
  • What factors come into play in high school and fitting in;
  • Does being in recovery have an impact on other family members needing help?
  • What types of intervention are most helpful when you are addicted?
  • Detoxing… the dangers involved in withdrawal of different types of drugs?
  • In 2013 is the pervasiveness of drugs or the good upbringing key factors?
  • How does guilt play a factor?
  • What was Melissa’s relationship with law enforcement then and now?
  • What is “Assessments” in prison?
  • What is that “One last chance?”
  • How do you become eligible for Pardons?
  • What are the realities of employment and the type of crimes committed?
  • What are the different types of pardons and who are they designed for?
  • What is the process of getting references?
  • How does Melissa use her experience as a teaching tool?
  • What’s it like to be on the other side of drug and alcohol as a professional?
  • Did Melissa have to let go of her former peer group after recovery?
  • What coping strategies are effective for Melissa to resist the temptations of drug today?


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