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Dallas woman uses her past to brighten the future for others: "God told me if you can't die, you might as well try to live"

Nexus Recoery Center employee, mom uses her past to brighten the future for other moms
Nexus Recoery Center employee, mom uses her past to brighten the future for other moms 03:34

DALLAS – Mackenzie Blacketer is one of thousands of people recovering from substance abuse issues. 

She says addiction issues are so intertwined with mental health, that sometimes it's impossible to separate the two. But she's using her past to help brighten the future for others.  

"I suffered from addiction at an early age," said Blacketer, "I had attempted suicide and it did not work. So, God told me if you can't die, you might as well try to live."

Blacketer's journey started a long time ago.  

"I started to party and hang out and any high schooler," she said. "And then I met my ex. I was in a very abusive relationship with him and I took the substances to a new level."

Along the way, she had to lose everything in her world before she was ready to start her journey to recovery.  

"I finally got away from my abuser after I lost custody of my first son," Blacketer said. 

That's when she found Nexus Recovery Center in Dallas.  

"When I was finally ready to seek help, I didn't even know, could kids come? Could kids not come? And I typed in rehabs on Google and Nexus was the first one that came up," she said. 

Not every rehab facility allows you to bring your kids, which can be a problem for single moms trying to get clean. 

"For a woman like me, leaving a situation like that, I didn't have anybody," Blacketer said. "My family is not here, so I didn't have anyone to leave him to."

According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 8.2% of people age 12 and older were classified as having a substance abuse disorder in the past year in the DFW area.

Mental health and addiction go hand in hand for Blacketer. 

"Substance use is a huge part of mental health. You don't realize it when you use substances that it takes over your mind, body and soul," she said. 

She's been clean since 2020 and she's only looking forward. Now, she's an alumni counselor for Nexus. 

"I tell my girls, I've been in this bed, I've slept in this bed, I've eaten this food. I've been through all the nonsense that you have gone through in this dorm and I'm here and I did it, so I know it's possible," said Blacketer. 

And she has a message for anyone out there struggling with addiction and mental health: "It's OK to talk if you're not OK. It's OK to not be OK. But do something about it."

If you or someone you know is struggling with substance abuse issues, you can visit and find a treatment center near you.

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