WHEELING, W.Va. (WTRF) – In this week’s Faces of Recovery series, we bring you a story never told before.

Dorothea Shaw was born with a birth defect in her neck. But it wasn’t until just a few years ago that doctors realized it. And that is what lead her into the darkest years of her life. Take a look.

Inside she was dead. Nothing was left but a shell. With no life to call her own.

That’s the situation Dorothea claims her doctor put her in just over five years ago. Four neck surgeries and vast amounts of prescribed Oxycodone and Fentanyl later—she describes herself a person trapped inside her own body

I mean I’d be in all kinds of- I’d be on the floor, and different places from taking so many pills trying to get the same feeling I got when it first started. That never happened.


Eight 15 milligram Oxy’s a day and one 75 milligram Fentanyl patch along with over 45 years of taking Xanax, had people closest to her looking into her nearly lifeless eyes.

And my daughter kept telling me, “Mom, look at you. Look what you’re doing. And you’re not going to do this in front of my kids.” And then I started getting scared that she was going to end out relationship. Which she almost did. Then I said, “You know what, I can’t do this anymore. I need to get help.


At the time Dorothea decided she was ready to get help, she was taking 60 milligrams of Oxy and 90 Milligrams of Xanax in just 3 days, and being prescribed 7-8 prescriptions at a time that could be filled every five days.

And I could have easily stayed on it. But you know—I needed to see myself sober. So, that’s what I did. And I admitted myself to a rehab.


Trinity East’s rehab center saved her life after cheating it seven times in six years. They held her hand during her recovery, something she says her doctor claims she would have never seen the light to do.

The doctor told me I would never walk, talk, eat, or anything again, because I was in such bad shape. Well, look at me now! Here I am, and I’m doing wonderful.


Now she can stand up straight, see bright colors she never could before, walk and play with her Grandchildren and have a healthy relationship with her daughter again.

I mean—I see myself now, now that I’m sober. And my life is so much better. I can live. I joke. I laugh. Things that I could never do.


Dorothea says life is so worth living and is now months clean after over 45 years of pill-popping. She is a warrior, and now, a Face of Recovery.