GRAND FALLS-WINSOR, NL — You’d never guess when talking to Grand Falls-Windsor’s Laura Baird that just four years ago, she was in the midst of a crack and cocaine addiction that almost took her life.
Baird grew up in Grand Falls-Windsor as a part of a loving family – a good kid who knew the difference between right and wrong.
But while hanging out with an older crowd that was into drugs, at the young age of 16 Baird tried crack cocaine for the first time.
From there, addiction took over her life.
After high school she moved to Alberta, where she moved around from town to town, at times trying to get herself clean.
She thought a move from Red Deer to Fort McMurray would be the solution.
Unfortunately, simply moving was not the answer she was looking for, and she quickly went back to doing drugs, losing job after job and being unable to support herself.
Due to her raging addiction, she was unable to show up for any job at 6 a.m., she said.
She knew it was an addiction, but she would stop and then a short time later start using again.
“By the end of it, it was a full-blown addiction and I had drug sores all over my face,” she said.
The darkest time came for Baird after the one friend she had and used with left her, and she found herself alone in Fort McMurray.
Without any family and friends to lean on for support, Baird drove her car around for two days, smoking crack and contemplating how she was going to end her life.
Baird knew the pain of losing friends to suicide all too well. Knowing how it would make her friends and family feel was enough to make her reach out for help through a Facebook post.
Four years later, she doesn’t remember what that post said, but she does remember that her sister-in-law reached out to her to find out what was going on.
It was at that point that Baird confessed everything to her sister-in-law – the true depth of her addiction.
Two days later Baird’s father flew up from Newfoundland to Fort McMurray to pick up his daughter, driving her car back to Newfoundland and bringing her home on the condition she attend a rehabilitation program in the province.
"Life can change – you just really have to work hard for it." Laura Baird
Baird arrived home in Grand Falls-Windsor in February 2013. She was still using cocaine but had not used crack since she was in Fort McMurray.
In May 2013 she went to rehab on the west coast of the province for three weeks. She remained clean through her stint at rehab and for three short weeks after she was released, she maintained her sobriety.
On June 6, 2013 she relapsed after the death of a close friend. She used drugs again until March 2014.
It was March 1 she decided once and for all that she was going to get sober and get her life back.
The epiphany came after her ex-boyfriend went on an acid binge, broke into someone’s home and later ended up arrested and in jail.
“I swore then I would never do another drug,” said Baird.
It was in that moment she knew she did not want her life to turn out like that and she had to change.
Fortunately for Baird, her story has a happy ending.
Through sheer willpower, on March 1, 2014 she stopped using drugs and got her life together.
She is now a licensed practical nurse working at a methadone clinic in central Newfoundland, where she is able to help people facing the most difficult time in their life in a situation Baird found herself in not too long ago.
Baird believes her battle with addiction helps her in her role at the clinic, because she is better able to relate to what the clients are going through.
A success story like Baird’s can be reassuring to those going through the darkest part of their battle.
“For anyone struggling, don’t give up,” Baird says to anyone who might be in a similar situation.
“Life can change – you just really have to work hard for it, but it isn’t as impossible as it may seem to be while you’re drowning in the depths of addiction.”