“I got clean…”
Those words in and of themselves would make for a happy ending. But, when Kelli Eggleston said them it signaled a new beginning to her story.
For the past three years, Eggleston has worked closely with her husband and three children to create “A Taste of Eggcellence,” a successful family catering business based in Gap Mills. In fact, the business has done so well that it was recently necessary to upgrade into a larger location. However, for nearly ten years prior to that, Eggleston’s life was controlled by her opioid demons, and spiraling in a much different direction.
“It doesn’t matter how deep and dark your rock-bottom is,” Eggelston said while speaking with The West Virginia Daily News. “There’s always tomorrow, and there’s always another chance. God hasn’t given up on me.”
But to fully understand what that spiral is like, one must understand the weight of a daily life-or-death struggle with addiction.
“It’s only by the grace of God that I’m not dead,” Eggleston said.
According to drugabuse.gov, “Opioids bind to and activate opioid receptors on cells located in many areas of the brain, spinal cord, and other organs in the body, especially those involved in feelings of pain and pleasure. When opioids attach to these receptors, they block pain signals sent from the brain to the body and release large amounts of dopamine throughout the body. This release can strongly reinforce the act of taking the drug, making the user want to repeat the experience.”
Unfortunately for many users, the word “want” becomes irrelevant when it comes to repeating the experience. Addiction has nothing to do with conscious or mitigatable “want”; addiction, by its nature, is an irrational, uncontrollable, all-consuming need.
“When you’re an addict, you’re always a slave to that,” Eggleston said. “You’ll do anything to not be sick. It’s an awful feeling to know that you’re gonna have to go to this person’s house because if you don’t you’re gonna be sick for the next two days.”
Like so many do, Eggleston began experimenting with drugs at a young age.
“I started dabbling when I was a teenager,” she said. “And I was hooked by the time I was 21.”
At the age of 29, and after a decade spent in the darkness, it was the love of Eggleston’s family that finally proved stronger than the demons of her addiction.
“My husband finally told me ‘you have to get clean’… so I got clean,” she said, through a tear and a smile.
“You cannot conceive, nor can I, the appalling strangeness of the mercy of God,” wrote Graham Greene. While that may be true, God’s mercy is something with which Kelli Eggleston is very familiar.
“If God would save me out of my mess, he will save anybody,” she said. “I should not be alive … I should be dead. I have to give God all the glory.”
With her husband behind her, and her children by her side, Kelli Eggleston continues to grow her business and respect her sobriety.
“It’s part of my ‘wow’ story that we were able to start our business with $300, and have since been debt-free,” Eggleston told WVDN.
But it is not only God who Eggleston credits for the life she now lives; her husband’s love and support are every bit as important.
“He never left me,” Eggleston said. “He said that God never gave up on him, so who was he to give up on me? And he’ll say this too, that when you take your vows, for better or worse, you don’t get to define what’s better and you don’t get to define what’s worse. And you don’t get to define what’s sickness and what’s health.”
If Kelli Eggleston’s story were to end right now, that ending would be a happy one. But her story is just beginning. And when the next chapter is written, it will begin with three words…
I got clean.
A Taste of Eggcellence is located in the Kitchen Creek Bakery building across from the Cheese n’ More in Gap Mills.