Recovery remains one of the highest priorities in Leigh Ann’s life as she works on herself every single day. “I know I will never go back. I am just going where God takes me.”

Leigh Ann Minter grew up in the small town of Oviedo, Florida, back when it was just “open fields and cow pastures,” as she put it. Her father was a businessman while her mother worked at the University of Central Florida and was primarily a stay-at-home mom. Minter was raised in a sheltered environment with her sister, attending a Christian school and navigating small-town life.

But at around 10 years old, Minter’s world was upended by her parents’ divorce. Feeling isolated and lost, she turned to drugs and alcohol as early as 13, later starting to use cocaine around 15.

“I gradually developed social anxiety,” Minter explained. “I used alcohol to talk to people at parties and began to experiment with all types of drugs such as ecstasy.”

Around 16, she was arrested for underage drinking.

While the experimentation seemed fun at first, Minter soon realized addiction was taking a toll but couldn’t stop. She stopped attending church and spent her time going to parties and using drugs.

By 18, Minter had labeled herself a person with an addiction.

“I always knew from the beginning,” she said.

Her marriage ended in divorce. Minter then met another man addicted to alcohol and felt her life progressively going downhill.

Early Attempts at Sobriety

Minter first attended rehab at the University Behavioral Center in Orlando, Florida. But after being released, she went on vacation, and 3 days in, started drinking again. Her relapse quickly spiraled.

A year later, she attempted medical detox again at the same facility, but the cycle repeated – drinking again after getting out.

A Toll on Health

A few years down the line, Minter started dating someone else and continued falling back into her own addictions. Her addiction to alcohol and cocaine intensified over time.

One night in her late 20s, laced cocaine sent Minter to the hospital, where she stopped breathing and her husband had to perform CPR. Yet she neglected her failing health until she was diagnosed with hepatitis, likely contracted from a restaurant incident. Her consistent drinking then led to her developing pancreatitis after persistent vomiting. She was jaundiced for four months on and off.

In the depths of despair, she attempted suicide, admitting she felt utterly helpless and would practically beg God each night not to let her wake up the next day.

For months, all she did was lay in bed, drink, and sleep. Until one Friday, Minter realized she couldn’t do this anymore. Without insurance, she baker acted herself into a hospital per a rehab’s instructions.

Understanding Recovery

After a 5-day detox, Minter had been speaking to an addiction specialist, Dr. Leach, who prescribed medication. But she drank while on it. Dr. Leach later referred her to the Caring People Recovery Center, a non-profit Christian rehab.

“I knew I was where I was supposed to be,” Minter said. “God put me there.” With her organs shutting down, she was in bad shape.

But this time was different. At Caring People, Minter found the right treatment, a sense of belonging, new friends, and a renewed closeness to Jesus. 

“I felt good and alive,” Minter recalled. “God healed my body.” Incredibly, she tested negative for illnesses that were once positive.

While two friends from rehab later died, Minter felt “grateful for taking it seriously this time.” 

After getting out, she attended Action Church, where she met Angella Moore, who was opening the sober living home Armor Up Recovery Homes and Ministry. Minter now serves on their board, doing outreach, Bible studies, and more.

Tragically, Minter’s brother died from a fentanyl overdose on February 25th, 2023. She describes addiction’s grip vividly as an obsession that is physical and overbearing. It was all she could focus on. 

“Once I had a drink, I would relax. I was anxiety-ridden until I got that bottle,” she said.

Where Leigh Is Now

Now 48, Minter has worked at Advanced Recovery Systems as an intake coordinator since September 2020. She inspires others daily and aims to build relationships with every call.

“I know what it’s like to be in that situation and not have support,” she said. Minter keeps in touch with recovery patients like Taylor, who once came to hear Minter’s testimony, telling her, “If it wasn’t for you, I would not be sober.”

As of July 2023, Minter will have been sober for 5 years. Recovery remains one of the highest priorities in her life as she works on herself every single day. When asked what stage of recovery she is currently at, Minter responded, “I wouldn’t go by stages. I know I will never go back. I am just going where God takes me.”

“Put God in recovery first and do the next right thing,” she said was her daily quote. “Even if you’re not ready, give recovery a chance. Fentanyl is in all drugs now, so there are no second chances.”

If you or a loved one is suffering with a substance use disorder, The Recovery Village is here to help. Contact us today to speak with a helpful representative and learn more about treatment plans that can work well for you.

Editor – Aileen Delgado
With years of journalism experience, Aileen's reporting has reached several outlets including PBS NewsHour and the Alzheimer’s Association—covering mental health, profiles, local community issues and public health. Read more
Medical Disclaimer

The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers.