Understanding Addiction: Cynthia Boyd

cyndyboydST. JOHNSBURY- Cynthia Boyd's experience with drug-use began as a teenager. According to her, not fitting in and feeling uncomfortable in her own skin were two prominent factors which influenced her initial experimentation. "My drug use went anywhere from smoking and drinking, to using heroine to using cocaine- was my drug of choice for 25 years," she said. Proceeding to note that she'd do anything to numb herself and not be able to feel.

Around the time Boyd was 25 years old, she was pregnant and decided to move from her home state of Massachusetts to be closer to her other child who was living in Vermont. Sadly, her older daughter was killed in a car accident, but her ex-husband encouraged her to proceed with moving plans as Vermont had more options for recovery housing and inpatient care.

Although tragedy had struck Boyd, things began to look up as she became acquainted with her new home. She had gotten herself a job as an LNA at a nursing home in St. Johnsbury, she had a car, and she was sober.

However, things took a turn for the worse when one day at a neighbor's house, her drug of choice was sitting on the kitchen table. "In three months time, my daughter became sick from me smoking crack-cocaine. I took her to the emergency room and DCF got involved. So, between November and January I lost everything."

According to Boyd, she was charged with cruelty to a child- a conviction that she associates with abuse and mistreatment. Although she never physically abused her daughter, Boyd explained the moment she came to the realization that her daughter had gotten sick because of her own actions. It was then that she realized the importance of holding herself accountable- something she now correlates with one's ability to move forward in recovery. It was also then that she decided to sign over her parental rights as she felt it was in her daughter's best interest.

"The DCF doesn't just hand pick you, and probation officers don't just hand pick people to send to jail. There's always reasons behind it, and generally it's our own actions and behaviors. Being held accountable for them and being able to take responsibility is kind of what propels people to move forward and change."

Once released from jail, her initial end goal was to finish what she needed for the Department of Corrections and go back to Massachusetts. Nevertheless, the longer Boyd stayed in Vermont and became more involved at the Kingdom Recovery Center in St. Johnsbury, the more she truly found recovery. "Before I didn't know who I was, and I liked who I was becoming," she said.

Boyd began her time at the Recovery Center in March of 2008, working as a volunteer. She became the Weekend Coordinator in 2010, made Co-Coordinator in 2012, and she was hired as the Executive Director in 2015.

As well as working to better her direct community, Boyd is also part of the Governor's Opioid Coordination Council. According to her, it's a position she enjoys because she can use her experiences to educate others at a state-wide level- serving as a voice for many who often-times go unheard.

To this day, Boyd also maintains a healthy relationship with her daughter and her foster family, stating that she attends every gymnastics match and school event.

When asked what she would want to say to someone looking at substance abuse from the outside, she explained that her biggest piece of advice is that addiction doesn't discriminate. "It does not matter the lifestyle you come from, whether you're educated, or come from a good family. It does not matter. Anybody can become addicted and effected. It ruins lives and families. When you're judging people, that's not okay, because you don't know their background to begin with. It will take anybody. It does not matter your race, your color, or your social status. It takes it."

Pt. 1 Understanding Addiction: Zach Rhoads

Pt. 2 Understanding Addiction: William Liberatore

Pt. 4 Understanding Addiction: Mike Lucier

Pt. 5. Understanding Addiction: Tennyson Marceau


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