By Rick Sallinger

LAKEWOOD, Colo. (CBS4) – Beating a heroin addiction is no easy task. Going cold turkey into withdrawal delivers an agonizing feeling much like the most severe case of flu. A Lakewood woman has beaten the odds and is now celebrating a year of sobriety.

(credit: CBS)

A needle and spoon led Teresa Lee to her lowest moment.

“How close did you come to dying?” CBS4’s Rick Sallinger asked Lee.

(credit: CBS)

“Very close. As close as you can come without dying,” she said.

Lee used heroin that is believed to have been mixed with fentanyl called “China white.”

Denise Lee (credit: CBS)

Her mother, Denise Lee, had tears in her eyes as she said, “I’m a mother and a mother’s worst nightmare is they will have to bury their child.”

She helped to resuscitated her daughter as paramedics delivered two doses of Narcan, taking her from the brink of death to another chance at life.

Looking back, Teresa says it was a bad relationship break up that first got her on addictive pills.

“From there it went to heroin and went to daily use,” she said.

CBS4’s Rick Sallinger interviews Teresa Lee. (credit: CBS)

To feed that craving she would often drive to a grocery store parking lot. She would flash her dealer the cash and exchange it for the drugs.

“I did illegal things to get drugs. I have felonies on my record,” she said.

She has a mugshot taken while high to prove it.

(credit: CBS)

Now that is behind her. She thanks it in part to the drug Suboxone, which blocks the effect of opiates. She also credits therapy and especially the precious care from her mother, who told CBS 4:

“I sit and cry because I can’t believe I have my true daughter back again.”

And Teresa has her life back again.

(credit: CBS)

She often comes by a fire station in Lakewood to express her thanks to the West Metro fire department for its paramedics saving her.

Addressing the group on duty, she told them: “I really can’t put into words for how thankful I am for you guys.”

“It really does our hearts good to hear positive story and have somebody come out on the other side of the story,” one of the firefighters responded.

It’s a story Teresa Lee now tells after a year of beating heroin.

“It’s a whole new life now, amazingly hard and worth it and I couldn’t ask for anything better.”

Rick Sallinger