I grew up in a very alcoholic, drug-addicted home. There were always a lot of people over. Everything was always done out in the open; nothing was ever really hush-hush. I was given the impression that the way I was being raised was normal, but at the same time I knew in my heart that it was not.
I lived in a constant state of fear of the unknown, fear of what was going to happen and fear of who was going to go to jail or to the hospital tonight. I remember this fear gripping me so tightly that I would rarely ever leave my bedroom.
I began stealing my mom’s alcohol and her marijuana when I was 10 years old. Getting outside of myself was the only way I knew of to cope with the world that existed around me. I began skipping school at age 11 and was truant from school by age 12.
Both of my parents wound up in jail at the same time so the only option for me and my two sisters was to live with our grandmother. This was a whole new world for us. My grandmother had rules and chores and bedtimes. She had all these things she wanted us to do and all this structure she wanted to impose on us. We had pretty much been doing whatever we wanted to do our whole lives.
I became very angry at my parents. I felt that if they loved me at all, they would not do the things they did and would be there for me. I became angry at my grandma. I felt like she did not care about me and only wanted me there so she could draw a check and use me to her advantage. All of these thoughts came from nowhere other than my sick, twisted mind and sent me to rebel against everything and everyone.
At age 14 I began using harder drugs. I started out with Percocet, Lortab and different kinds of pain pills. I started doing Mini Thin excessively and binging and purging. When I turned 15, I started to go to night clubs that were known for teenage drug use, and I began to use just about every drug imaginable. That year was the year for a lot of firsts for me. I tried Ecstasy for the first time. I tried acid and ‘shrooms. I snorted cocaine and smoked crack for the first time. I did OxyContin for the first time. When I was 15, I snorted heroin for the first time. It did not matter what drug or alcohol I put in my body. I fell in love with them all. I wanted uppers, downers or whatever it was that would alter my mind and make me feel better about myself and my life. And I wanted as much of them as I could get.
When I was 15, I also started cutting. If you have never been there, it is something you will just never comprehend. I have done it, and even I still do not fully understand why.
I started selling drugs and getting into a lot of fights at school. At age 15 I went to a detention center, a mental health facility and a drug rehab facility. This set the tone for how the next 10 years of my life were going to go.
I always maintained good grades somehow. I was given awards for a lot of my poetry and even had some published in books in high school. I attended a vocational school and was a CNA by the time I was 16 years old, but I was forced to withdraw from school two months before I graduated because I was getting sent to a detention center yet again.
Shortly after I was released from that detention center, I turned 18. I quickly began getting my “grown-up” legal charges. I got one charge after another ranging from public intoxication to assault, possession to theft and breaking and entering. I lost my nursing certification, and being forced to withdraw from school and losing my certification provided the most legitimate reasons for me to just not care and party my life away. In my mind I had nothing to lose.
I continued to get charge after charge, and I ripped through the lives of everyone that I came in contact with. I was in one sick relationship after another. I put myself and everyone else through much physical, mental and emotional abuse.
I wound up getting married and having two children. I want to tell you that I did the right thing and I got sober to carry my baby boys through the pregnancy process, but that is just not part of my story. Being pregnant did not slow me down at all. I still did not miss a beat. Every day when my feet hit the floor, they hit them running, chasing that next fix. I now know that it was through the grace of my loving God that I gave birth to two healthy, beautiful, perfect little boys. I would not have said that then though, because at that time I thought God was very punishing and did not love me. Now I see that He was there all along, or I would not still be here.
Giving birth to my little boys gave me a reason to want to change, but I do not care what expert says, “All you have do is want it.” It is so much more than that! I wanted to change for years! I just had no clue how to!
I became a junkie in every sense of the word. I was not above doing whatever I had to do to get my next fix. I would cheat, I would lie, I would steal your dope and help you look for it. I put my kids and myself in a lot of really dangerous situations. I would try to convince myself that I was a good mom because I always had my kids, but in all reality I dragged them through so much stuff they should never have been subjected to. I overdosed countless times, even when my children were right there. There were times I would be so dopesick that I would be too sick to get out of bed to take care of my kids, and they would eat crackers for meals. I don’t say these things because I am proud. I used to be ashamed to even let these words come out of my mouth, but it is my past, and it is where this disease took me.
I was a slave to many different drugs and was definitely an extreme alcoholic. I thought being a drug addict was just in my cards. I didn’t realize there was any kind of hope for a person like me: a person who could not sleep more than a few hours without having to get up and do a shot of heroin to make it through the night without starting withdrawal, someone who can hear their perfect little precious baby boys in the next room laughing and playing but has a needle hanging out her arm, someone who hoped this would be the last time she had to do this and that the shot she was about to do was going to end her misery, someone who thought that death would be a better option than living the life she created for herself for one more minute. Thank God that was not my destiny. God had other plans for me, and he began to do things for me that I would never have dreamed of doing for myself.
I wound up getting some pretty hefty charges that the police department let stack up for two years. The cops ran into my house and found needles and dope laying everywhere with my kids there, so they were taken away that night. This turned out to be a blessing in disguise.
Everyone has a rock bottom, and everyone’s rock bottom is different. I truly believe that losing my children was definitely my rock bottom, my turning point. I want to say that I quit using at that point, but when I got out of jail again, I was off to the races. I had every intention of doing whatever I had to do to get my boys back, but an addict like me didn’t even know where to start when trying to live right. You literally have to be un-taught everything you have been taught your entire life.
I used for about two more months before I turned myself in to probation and parole and told them I wanted help. I had been in and out of drug rehab centers and detention centers since I was 15 years old so at this point everyone thought I was a lost cause. To be honest I did too, but my probation officer agreed to get me help one more time as long as I agreed to give it my all. From that moment on, I did.
May 25, 2012, is my sobriety date. Things have not been easy since I have gotten sober. I have been through some really tough stuff, but I have not had to pick up and drink or use because of any of it. I realize today that I do have a choice, and my life is what I make it.
I went through 18 months of very, very intense treatment. I buckled down, and I took a lot of hard knocks. Whatever God put in front of me and whatever the ladies in the treatment center told me to do, I did. I took the steps that were needed, and I fought to get my rights to my children back. They now live in my home with me. When I got out of treatment, I began college for drug and alcohol counseling. Who better for the job then someone with so much experience? I have held a job for the first time in my life! My kids are in sports, and I don’t miss a game. I am very involved with their school events. Some days the responsibilities of real life smack me in the face as these things are things that I never did before, and they can be very overwhelming. I am not saying that I do not ever have thoughts of drinking or using. As an addict I know I always will, but the difference today is that I don’t put action behind those thoughts.
I have forgiven my parents for the mistakes they have made, as I now see that I am them. I love my children with every fiber of my being, and I would give them the world if only I could. I never want them to feel an ounce of pain because of me again, and I realize that just because my parents made some bad decisions does not mean that they did not care about me.
I have made amends with my grandma. Looking back I see that she really did care and that she did not have to do all that she did for me. She was only trying to help. I took her for granted, and today I am so grateful for everything that she did for me.
I continue to make amends to people whenever the opportunities arise. It is the most liberating thing to be able to clear your side of the street. I know people see the things I am doing to try to better my life, and I know that is the only reason they even consider forgiving me. Knowing that the person that I was is not who I am today and that I never have to be her again is amazing. It feels so good to wake up feeling blessed with the opportunity to see what the day has in store for me instead of waking up feeling like God is punishing me by making me continue to stay in my own misery.
It has been a long road, and I am nowhere close to being finished. I am only getting started in my new life, the life God has intended me to live. I am writing my story to give hope to the hopeless, faith to the faithless. Nobody ever believed in me. I never believed in myself. I am writing to let anyone who struggles with this disease know that it IS possible for people like us to escape the grips of this terrible disease. Wanting it is a huge part of it. If you do not have a relationship with God, just try to establish one. With God all things are possible. Without God we are nothing! God bless you!
My children are my biggest motivators every single second of every single day. Find what drives and motivates you to be a better you! You have to want to do this for yourself, but in my eyes my children deserve nothing but the best, and I know I would be no good to them sitting around with a needle hanging out of my arm, in a jail cell or six feet underground. Everything I do is so I can be a better me, for them!