Addiction is a beast that can be nigh on impossible to tame for so many who struggle with it. Oftentimes, it requires drastic measures from those in an addict’s life to turn things around.
That’s what happened to one woman on TikTok, and her inspiring story of how her parents intervened to get her sober is truly inspiring.
The woman’s parents pressed charges to get her sober. Six years later, she’s thriving.
TikToker Abbey Fickley found herself in a situation a heartbreaking number of Americans know all too well, addicted to opiates.
Opiate addiction has been steadily on the rise since 2020 and accounts for the majority of drug overdoses each year.
Fickley was poised to eventually be one of those overdoses. But today, six years after her parents pressed felony charges in a bid to save her, she lives a completely different life.
She recently shared on TikTok the moment she hosted her parents in the home she just bought, and the relief and joy they feel is palpable.
It’s a stunning testimony to the often spirit-breaking lengths families must go to in order to save their loved ones, and the power that being willing to do so holds.
As Fickley put it in another TikTok video, “boundaries save lives.”
Fickley’s parents pressed charges after she drained their bank accounts with stolen checks for money to buy opioids.
“It was a very expensive addiction that I could not afford,” Fickley wrote in onscreen text in another video detailing her story. “So I used my parents’ checkbook.”
When her father went to buy gas and his debit card was declined, he knew immediately what had happened. “He went to the bank and printed copies of every single forged check,” she wrote, and then he gave her an ultimatum. “Rehab, or he was pressing charges.”
She chose the former, but her father ended up reneging on his end of the bargain. On the day of her graduation from rehab, she received a letter from her father informing her she was being disowned and she was now facing 32 counts of forgery, theft, and identity theft.
“I gave myself two options,” she wrote. “Turn my life around or end it.”
Fickley went to jail and emerged with nothing but $10 to her name and a commitment to never look back.
In another video, Fickley detailed what happened after her release. “Bobby, the father of my child… picked me up in the middle of downtown Pittsburgh before he dropped me off at a sober living in the middle of the hood where I was probably two doors down from a dealer,” she said. “The rest is history.”
She lived there for a year while getting back on her feet. She found a job bartending and worked to get her car out of repossession and to get her daughter back after relinquishing custody to her parents years before.
“By the grace of God, I have not seen or touched an opiate in five years,” she said. She now lives a full, stable life and said it has not come without making “every mistake possible.” But one thing made the difference.
“No matter what happened, no matter how horrible I felt, the only thing I never did was go back to my old life,” she said. Now, she bartends part-time, is a prolific content creator on TikTok, has custody of her daughter, and owns a home.
And she gives her parents credit for getting her there by being willing to do the hardest thing possible. “Shout out to my parents for cutting me off and giving me the chance to rebuild a life with their boundaries,” she said.
To some, Fickley’s parents’ actions might seem a bit harsh, but therapists and addiction experts say Fickley is right. Boundaries are an essential part of not enabling addicts, and not enabling addicts is critical for them to have hope of recovering.
Now, Fickley’s new lease on life has led her to make a commitment not just to herself, but to other addicts. “I promise, no matter where I go in life, to always walk with humility and grace and to share my story and to help the next struggling person, because that is my job,” she said.
“I swear to always scream at the top of my lungs about this disease for the ones who lost their voice and are 6 feet under.”
If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, help is available. Reach out 24/7 to SAMHSA’s National Helpline, 1-800-662-HELP (4357) or text 435748 (HELP4U) to find help near you.
John Sundholm is a news and entertainment writer who covers pop culture, social justice, and human interest topics.