One mom’s shocking before-and-after photos — showing how her “disgusting” life had been ravaged by meth, cocaine, and heroin addiction — are going viral for their combo of shock and hope this week.
“I was a monster,” Dejah Hall, 26, of Glendale, Ariz., told ABC 15 on Monday (video below). “I was a monster in every sense of the word.”
Hall, now an avowed Jesus devotee and mom to an 18-month-old girl, posted a series of photos to Facebook on Dec. 6 to mark four years of sobriety. While the before shots have her looking vacant and worn, the current-day photo shows a well coiffed Hall looking vibrant and glowing from within.
“Today marks 4 years clean from heroin and meth,” her post to the public Facebook group Sobriety Birthdays reads. “The top left is me in full blown addiction, I was a terrible IV user and like most, progressively got worse. The bottom left is me the day I was arrested 12-6-12 and coincidentally the day I finally surrendered to God! With the help of God I am completing my BA and hope to one day be a prison minister…”
Hall’s original post has been shared more than 34,000 times and gotten more than 78,000 reactions, plus hundreds of supportive comments telling her “You are a walking miracle,” and “Sobriety looks gorgeous on you!!!” She reposted the photos on Dec. 16 to express her gratitude over the response, which racked up more than 600 responses and more comments calling her an “inspiration” with a “powerful testimony.”
The young mom, who is working as a bartender while majoring in Christian Studies at Grand Canyon University, told the Daily Mail this week that her descent into drug addiction began when she was just 17 and took a prescription pill while partying. “It just went downhill from there,” she said. “I was taking up to six prescription pills at a time every single day before I reached a point at 20 years old where I wanted to get off them.”
She went from trying methadone treatment to stopping cold turkey, until a friend introduced her to smoking heroin as a way to stop her withdrawal symptoms. “By the second hit I fell in love with high. It was numbing,” she said. “I couldn’t stop. All I wanted to do was numb myself. I wanted it so desperately that nothing else mattered. Every single minute of the day I just wanted to get high… By the time I started injecting heroin I didn’t care whether I lived or died.” Hall said she was injecting both meth and heroin for several months in 2012. “I was killing myself,” she said, “but I still felt like I looked beautiful.”
Her grandfather was the only person who could get through to her, as he spoke honestly when she visited for his birthday.
“My grandfather was sitting in his wheelchair and he looked at me he said, ‘You’re hurting me, Dejah,’” Hall told ABC 15. “I went to the bathroom and I looked at myself and I really looked at who I had become — this disgusting person who needed to continue to stick these drugs in their veins because I couldn’t function.” She promised her grandfather she would get clean — and hours later was arrested on felony warrants, sending her to prison and pushing her to keep her promise.
Although she could have gotten drugs while incarcerated, Hall said she made the choice to stay sober and embrace a religious life. But her grandfather died two weeks after she got locked up.
“More than anything, I wish I could tell him that I made it,” she said. “That I’m doing it.” Her message has been received, at least, by thousands around the world.