By BENJAMIN ZACK/Standard-Examiner staff
Ramona Mata's journey into addiction began at 17, when she started abusing prescription pain medications and then moved on the heroin.
After dropping out of high school, having her three children taken away and a stint in jail, Ramona ended up at The Ruth House and became one of their success stories. She has been drug-free for six months.
Standard-Examiner photographer Benjamin Zack documented Ramona's stay in The Ruth House over the course of several months. The following are just some of the many images he captured, accompanied by audio clips from Ramona as she describes her story.
Click the grey text to play and listen to Ramona describe how her battle with addiction began.
“I had a good life growing up. My mom and dad, they’d never done drugs. They were good parents, you know? We moved to Roy and I started getting prescriptions of pain pills and then I started taking them, like, a lot. And then I went to heroin. It was after my dad died.”
Ramona lost custody of her children more than a year ago. Here, she describes why getting them back is her primary motivation to stay sober:
“It’s hard, but I’m doing it for my kids and myself. I want my kids in my life. I don’t wanna mess up again because my kids do mean a lot, everything, to me. (..) I don’t want them to be like me. I don’t.”
Ramona describes what her life is like now that she's graduated from The Ruth House.
“Well, I moved out of the Ruth House in August. (...) I have a job. I did all my classes I’m supposed to get my girls back. My life now is just: Work. Come home. Work. Come home. Classes. You know, all that. I really enjoy it actually. It feels good to be on my own.”