September is national recovery month and KCAU 9 is recognizing those in our community that have worked toward their goals of living an addiction-free lifestyle.

Which is how we met Ramona Wanned, a former addict who managed to turn her life around.

“I wanted something different and the only way to get something different is to do something different,” says Ramona.

18 year’s ago, Ramona decided her life needed a drastic change.

Ramona says,”I didn’t look at myself as an addict.”

Ramona, like many addicts, was in denial of her addiction for many years, missing out on her only daughter’s childhood.

Ramona’s daughter, Aja Simpson says, “It was lonely growing up. I essentially grew up without her, even though she was right there she really wasn’t.”

Ramona says, “And I looked at her and it was the god honest truth. How did I miss your whole life? I missed it because getting high was more important.”

It wasn’t until Ramona realized her addiction was impacting the people she cared about and loved the most, that she was able to make the decision to finally seek help.

Ramona said, “So, when I went to treatment I went to the woman’s halfway house and I told her, I’m never doing that again.”

From that day on, Ramona never went back. It wasn’t an easy road, but standing proud after 18 years sober, Ramona uses her story to inspire those who are walking down the same path she once traveled.

“I’m extremely passionate about what I do and I also understand,” says Ramona.

As a substance abuse therapist at Jackson recovery center, Ramona is able to share her experiences to help others. 

“If I can do this, you can do this. Anybody can do this,” says Ramona.

Now, Ramona and her daughter say they’re closer than ever and can look back on all they’ve overcome with pride.

Simpson says, “So many times we can look back and say look at what we have came from. Look at what we have done.”

“Having my daughter, having my grandbabies, knowing that just for today, I don’t have to use no matter what. I get to work in this field and I get to carry the message. And if I help just one person’s life, that’s a huge thing,” says Ramona.