You might recognize Devynn S. from her starring role in Junk Film’s 2019 Beit T’Shuvah Gala video “We Are One.” Devynn’s calm demeanor belies the turmoil that defined her life as a heroin addict. “I wanted to be a ‘classy’ heroin addict, which meant using a needle only once. I’d just throw each needle to the side when I was done. My apartment was literally covered in needles. Very classy,” Devynn smirks as she recalls one of the darker aspects of her addiction.
Devynn grew up in an unstable home. Forced to change schools almost every year, sometimes twice in a year, Devynn had difficulty finding structure and a social life outside of her family. “I always felt that I was supposed to a hero for my family, but I couldn’t because I was just a kid. I didn’t want to let anyone down. And that made me my own worst enemy,” she remembers.
By age 14 she began experimenting with weed and alcohol, and by 17 she was getting into toxic relationships and using meth and heroin. Devynn recalls, “I was looking to numb myself. Heroin was the best feeling for me. I could escape responsibility. I felt small and insignificant. Like I was nothing. Like I was a bug.” And no one expects a bug to be a hero.
Lost and unsure of herself, Devynn made her first attempt at trying to get clean because “that’s what drug addicts do. They get high and then go to rehab, right?” She went to a 35-day treatment center for minors but relapsed and was discharged early. She went on to fake drug tests and complete high school in a heroin daze.
The next five years were punishing. “I held down multiple jobs, had a car, an apartment and worked 18-hour days to support this gnarly habit. Then I’d lose it all; I’d live out of my car or on a couch, get clean, get another job, only to lose it all again. It was a brutal cycle,” she recalls.
After losing her best friend to an overdose, Devynn went to rehab in Florida where she would genuinely try to get clean. But her time there was spent transitioning from sober house to flophouse. “I had all these fresh wounds that had just been opened up in therapy, no credit, not sure what I’d do for money. They never really treated me. I just detoxed for a month at a time,” she recalls.
Devynn knew she needed something long term or she’d be doomed to keep repeating the pattern of sobriety and relapse. She had heard of Beit T’Shuvah from a former resident and did everything she could to get in, calling every day for months. Finally, in April 2018, Devynn walked through the doors of Beit T’Shuvah and with humility, grace, and determination got a sponsor and began to work the steps. She now holds down two jobs and is sponsoring other women in recovery. Devynn smiles, “It’s been an amazing ride here at Beit T’Shuvah. Coming here helped me figure out who I am. I’m no longer a bug. I’m a playful little wolf puppy.”