Ariel Dormaier is three-and-a-half years clean and sober from drugs and alcohol.
Were it not for a treatment protocol that both helped her get clean, and addressed the mental health issues that led her to use and keep using, she doubts she’d be around today.
The problem is, she had to travel to Georgia from Snohomish County to take part in the program. Having a “dual diagnosis” treatment center in Washington, a concept supported by only one Snohomish County Council candidate, would help people here build a lasting recovery, she says.
“You’ve got to deal with what got you there in the first place. Getting clean and sober wasn’t my problem, it was staying sober and dealing with my racing thoughts and the fact I felt uncomfortable in my own skin. I just wanted to mask those feelings.”
Addiction crept up on young woman
Dormaier was born and raised in Snohomish County, and began experimenting with alcohol and marijuana in high school. She doesn’t recall anyone talking about addiction at the time, not teachers or counselors, her parents or friends.
“I had no idea what it could lead to,” she says, nor did she realize that addiction – primarily to alcohol – ran in her family. Looking for other ways to numb a personal pain she had yet to delve into, Dormaier began to use painkillers and became addicted to opiates. When those became expensive and hard to find, she says, “I became addicted to heroin.”
Right kind of help not available at home
Dormaier was in and out of treatment and jail between age 18 and 25 – by her estimate, 10 different outpatient programs and 20 times through detox. With local treatment centers focusing on getting her sober, but not necessarily helping her deal with root problems, it was a constant struggle to stay abstinent once she left detox. “You don’t get a mental health diagnosis until you have one year of sobriety. Treatment centers didn’t care about that pre-diagnosis,” she says.
Finding long-term goals the answer
Dormaier likes Snohomish County Council District 2 candidate Anna Rohrbough’s support for the creation of a dual diagnosis center here. “I know more people who were in treatment in Washington who have died,” Dormaier says. The goal is long-term sobriety and that’s why I love what Anna’s doing. She wants to find long-term solutions.”
Rohrbough says she’s committed to advocating for centers with longer-term treatment programs that treat both mental illness and addiction concurrently.
“This is treatment that works and reduces the burden on law enforcement and corrections,” she says. “We have an epidemic like no other and we must provide the resources that have been proven to work. I want Snohomish County to be known as the safest and most prosperous county in the state.”
The road to a happier life
Having made the decision this year to leave her support network in Georgia and return to Washington to her young daughter and family, as well as to face outstanding legal issues, Dormaier says life is good. She got engaged in March, has a regular job and is working on regaining custody of her daughter.
“People need to hear that there is hope rather than always hearing the negative stories,” she says.
PDC – Paid for by the Campaign to Elect Anna (R).
For more information annarohrbough.com