A Witch in Recovery

By: Josie Hellebore | Instagram | Facebook YouTube

I have been a practicing witch for many years, and for many of those years my journey
was clouded and muffled by an incapacitating battle with addiction. Almost 7 years ago I made
the best decision of my life: to finally surrender. I have been clean since 28th September 2013, which is
truly a miracle. I don’t drink, do drugs or use any mind- or mood-altering substances. My
recovery is something that I have always been private about. However, I believe representation is
important and there may be a witch out there struggling with addiction who could benefit from
hearing my story. As my sponsor says to me when I am going through a tough time; “Someday
you are going to be able to use this experience to help someone else.”

From a very young age I knew I was different. My need for acceptance, my tendencies
toward isolation and my awkward social quirks. This isn’t to say I didn’t have friends as a child,
I certainly did. Mostly other misfits who also felt they didn’t quite fit in. There were other
indicators that have stuck with me over the years. I remember being in health class at 12 years
old studying all the different drugs, methods of use, and how they made you feel. Every
drug on the list sounded like it had the potential to be a great time to 12-year-old me. After each
drug we discussed I thought; “Oh, I would try that…. oh, that one, too.” This is before ever being
exposed to drugs or alcohol of any kind. What kid thinks like that? Well, me.

In my early teens I started with drinking and smoking weed, typical of many high
schoolers. The problem was, once I started, I couldn’t stop. I was always the last one to pass out
because I had to drink every last drop and smoke every last roach. Before long I was introduced
to illicit drugs and by the age of 17, I had done nearly every drug in the book. It wasn’t until I
was 23 that I really went down the rabbit hole. That was the year I was introduced to intravenous
drug use and heroin. My life was never the same. Over the next 7 years I continued to spiral
down further and further. I lost countless jobs, destroyed numerous relationships and was so
consumed by my addiction that I could no longer maintain. I was homeless, broken and creating
massive chaos and destruction everywhere I went. I wanted to quit; I really did. But by this time
my whole life was so submerged in drug culture I couldn’t even begin to imagine how to navigate
out of it. Then I started getting arrested. It was little misdemeanors at first. I got tired of having
to kick dope cold turkey in a jail cell, so, I tried to come up with the perfect formula for my drug
use, alternating heroin and meth, my other preferred substance. Of course, this didn’t work. I
always ended up back in jail and eventually started getting felony charges. By the very end of my
run I had 5 charges in 2 counties and was out on 2 bonds. I was at the end of my rope.
Looking back on it, getting arrested that last time was the best thing that ever happened to
me. It saved my life. The direction I was headed it was only a matter of time before I ended up in
a dumpster as a statistic, either of a drug overdose or something much worse. In the summer of
2013 after being released from the Texas criminal justice system, I was bound and determined to
start my life over. I was tired of living like a junkie and I most certainly did not want to ever go
back into the prison system.

The road to recovery wasn’t easy. I had to learn so many things, such as learning to check
my reactions and my responses. I couldn’t just get high when things got heavy. Adults face their
adversities, not hide from them. I had to feel things, I no longer had a buffer to numb myself. I
had to rediscover me. For so long my identity had been tied up in my drug use, I had to learn
who Josie really was. Witchcraft was instrumental in this process. I could finally truly hone in
and focus on my practice. When I began working steps (yes, I practice a 12-step program which
shall remain nameless in accordance with traditions), it became imperative that I cultivate a
relationship with a Higher Power. Enter Hekate. Hekate came into my life dispelling all
misconceptions and preconceived notions I had about deities. She helped me celebrate my
independence and guided me back to the core of my being, which I had been disconnected from
for so long.

I am the only witch I know personally who practices a 12-step program. I know there are
more of us out there, however we are a spiritual minority in the recovery community. The
beautiful correlation to me between working steps and witchcraft is that they are both forms of
personal growth and development. If you have ever done shadow work, you are participating in
personal growth and development. Adjacently, if you have ever worked a 4 th step you have
definitely participated in personal growth and development work. Both witchcraft and recovery
push the practitioner to be better versions of themselves, and both are spiritually centered.
My journey continues as I am now going to school to be an addiction counselor. I have
worked full time in the substance abuse treatment industry for five years, and love being able to
help others find freedom from their addiction. I incorporate my recovery into my witchcraft
constantly. I have never written or spoken about this publicly, this is me being completely
transparent and bearing one of my deepest truths. If you are struggling with addiction, I am here
for you. Thank you for letting me be vulnerable and share my story.

4 thoughts on “A Witch in Recovery”

  1. maryjanegreen1313

    Thank you for sharing your story, congratulations on living a sober life!🌻🤜🤛💓 Love & (((Hugs))) My🌻

    1. Thank you for being so vulnerable and sharing your story. I am also a witch who has struggled with addiction since my adolescence. Your story is relatable and inspiring. I’d love to learn more about how your relationship with Hekate transpired. Please keep writing and sharing your story. Sending you love and abundance.

  2. I have also discovered witchcraft and A magical practice on my addiction recovery journey through a 12 step program! I was raised Christian and I do believe in God but to me there had to be more than that. Everything has a spirit and from early childhood I remember making altars in the woods and giving offerings for the seasons, and I finally felt comfortable to identify as a pagan through my work in my 12 step program! Sisters in recovery and magick!

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