"My life changed immediately from the first time I ever did it," Tonya Wheeler said. "The spiral of my meth addiction was quick and it was severe."
Wheeler got pregnant at 15 and gave birth to a healthy girl, Marcie, but as much as she wanted to be a Mom, the meth always came first.
"It literally took away my ability to be a parent," Wheeler said.
Wheeler's parents took custody of Marcie.
"I don't really remember my mom being there at all when I was little," Marcie Buel, Wheeler's daughter, said. "It's hard growing up without a mom."
Wheeler continued using meth.
"At that time, I was probably using 2 to 3 grams of meth a day and not even feeling the effect," Wheeler said.
She was arrested for drug possession, spent time in jail, and got pregnant again at age 18. Once again she was unable to care for her children.
But then at age 21, something snapped for Wheeler, and she went to a treatment center.
"I weighed 103 pounds," Wheeler explained. "I was almost dead,"
After a year of treatment, Wheeler was sober.
"It was difficult getting clean," she remarked. "It's not real easy. If I could have done it alone, I would have done it before my life fell apart."
Her will kept her strong. This year she's celebrating 22 years completely sober.
Buel says she didn't feel love from her mom for years but once her mom made 20 years sober, she felt she could trust again.
"I really grasped that we were going to be a family and that she was in this for the long haul," Buel said.
Wheeler is now the Executive Director of the Advocates for Recovery Organization. She wants to not only make sure addicts get the help they need, but also says it's important for the community to know that strides are being made right here in Colorado.
"It's important for us to share that recovery really is a reality," Wheeler said. "We have not only an opportunity but in some ways an obligation to give back."
Wheeler and her daughters are once again a close family and both daughters have learned to trust and love again.
They each have their own children now and they are all part of the Advocates for Recovery Organization and the Rally Walk coming up on Saturday, September 8 at Civic Center Park.
(KUSA-TV © 2012 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)