Editor’s note: Danielle’s name, along with those of her family members, has been changed to provide her with anonymity.

ST. ALBANS — Danielle spends less time with her five-year-old daughter Zoe than she would like as a 26-year-old self-employed mom, working to put food on the dinner table and maintain her home.

“Before, I had nothing but time,” she said, referring to the first three years of Zoe’s life. The two could spend all day together, playing with toys, watching television and sharing meals.

Except, as she says, “We had no real life. We had no real structure.” Her life was run by her drug-buying clientele. She lived at their mercy, day or night, every day of the week.

For five plus years, Danielle sold OxyContin and other pills to drug addicts all around Franklin County to sustain her pill-snorting habit. She left that life behind when she got sober at Maple Leaf Treatment Center in 2014.

Now, their schedule is filled to the brim with daycare, work and peer-to-peer recovery group meetings. Danielle said she’s still trying to find balance in it all, especially being a single mother.

Danielle grew up in St. Albans City in the ‘90s, with her mom, dad and two older brothers. Her mom was a waitress while her father Wayne worked in the trucking business off and on.

“Life was fine; life was normal,” said Danielle. “Then my dad died from a drug overdose.” Before going to sleep one night, Wayne consumed a combination of alcohol, benzodiazepines and the inside of a 100-microgram fentanyl patch. He never woke up.

To read the full story about how Danielle became addicted and how she got free, pick up a copy of the weekend Messenger, subscribe to our digital edition or purchase a one day pass for $1.