Micki Arvin’s Journey to Freedom

A woman with 3 small children.

This article was originally published in the Spring 2024 issue of Living Recovery. To view the full issue click here.

She was 89 pounds, homeless and wearing nine layers of clothing. She had been on the run from law enforcement for over a year, living in a shack, all alone. Until one brutally cold day, she was caught. This was the day Micki Arvin could finally breathe again.

Growing up, Micki was a shining star in Leslie County, Kentucky. She excelled in everything she put her mind to, taking college classes in high school and heading off to nursing school when she was 19. She graduated at 21, but deep inside, Micki felt she did not belong. “I say that my childhood was normal, but I still had a void inside of me. I always compared myself to other people,’’ said Arvin. “I was always a people pleaser.”

In her early 20’s, Micki was diagnosed with Polycystic Kidney Syndrome. The medications she was prescribed after multiple surgeries led to her first taste of addiction. “I had seen addiction, but it’s a lot different when it’s you versus when you’re watching someone else go through it. I just knew that if I didn’t have that medicine, I would be sick without it.”

Drugs began to control her life. She searched for a way out, going to treatment center after treatment center. Hopelessness took over as her family forced her to give up her daughter. It was then, that Micki used heroin for the first time.

“I remember it like it was yesterday. I remember looking up at the mirror in front of me and audibly saying out of my mouth, ‘I want to feel this way for the rest of my life.'” Crime and running from the law became Micki’s normal life. She overdosed seven times in one week. She was narcanned five times.


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“I remember being on the run and knowing that if I would turn myself in it would just all be over with, but I couldn’t find the courage to do it.” When police arrested her for the last time, she stood at a crossroads. Her ninth attempt at treatment was with ARC. That ninth time was the turning point.

ARC’s Crisis to Career™ model and compassionate staff changed Micki’s life, and she’s never looked back. “Today, I am blessed with a loving husband, I have my kids back, and a fulfilling career with the organization that saved my life.” Micki has worked many jobs within ARC and is now the Patient Access Manager at Bellefonte Hospital and Recovery Center.

“From the first day I had the opportunity to work with Micki, I knew that she was special,” said Johnathan Frazier, Community CEO at Bellefonte Hospital and Recovery Center. “Her story and her faith have allowed her to impact so many people from so many walks of life. She was placed in our paths to help ARC grow, and help all that are in need.”

“Treatment is not the end of the world,” said Micki. “You say rehab and that is automatically scary, but treatment changed my life. I’m a better version of me today than I was even before addiction.”