NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — October marks Substance Abuse Prevention Month – an issue that impacts tens of millions of people in America, but Local On 2 honored one Middle Tennessean who changed her life around.

About 17 years ago, Raychel Tomlin of Gallatin found herself in a tough position, to say the least.

“I had twins that were 2-years-old, I was living in public housing, and I got pregnant and I didn’t know which way I was going to turn,” Tomlin said. “And I ended up giving a baby up for adoption.”

Raychel Tomlin, pictured in 2008, struggled with substance abuse issues and is now working to help others regain their lives. (Credit: Raychel Tomlin)

After making the heartbreaking decision, Tomlin said she ended up dealing with the pain on her own and became addicted to crack cocaine.

“I was in a very dark place in my life,” she said. “And I mean, I lost everything. I hit my rock bottom, I didn’t have a car, a house, my children. Nothing.”

Tomlin ended up going to several rehab facilities but says it wasn’t until she made the choice and wanted to change that she turned her life around, about five years later.

“I think that’s part of my recovery, is my children saved me. Because why should they suffer through something that I had to go through? And that’s the thing when you go through addiction, everyone suffers,” Tomlin told Local On 2.

“You know, is it really worth the pain that you have to go through? And yes, it might take it away, because that’s what it [did] to me, it numbed me. I didn’t have to feel that pain from giving the baby up for adoption, you know? I didn’t have to feel anything.”

She went to a mental health and addiction treatment facility, and got a mentor, who then introduced her to someone who changed her life around.

“That’s where Dr. Jones comes in and helped me feel better about myself. And I call him one of my walking angels.”

After recovery Tomlin said she still felt broken on the outside, but Dr. Herman Jones gave her a new set of pearly whites.

“It always makes you feel great to change someone’s life around,” Dr. Jones stated. “That’s what we strive for. She was real nice, and very very appreciative. It was fantastic to see a girl pull herself up.”

Tomlin reflected on the work she received and stated, “He has touched a soul that will never forget him. And he’s just amazing.”

Now, fully recovered, Tomlin owns a business, got her kids back, and tries to help those who may be experiencing the same thing.

“I think it’s all down to – you have a choice. You have a choice to do the right thing or not. You know you wake up every morning, and I try to be positive, and I say anything that steals my happiness has got to go!”

If you need assistance or more information about substance abuse, you can call the Tennessee REDLINE at 1-800-889-9789.