My name is Beth, and I’m in recovery.
On December 2, 2008, I used meth for the last time, and I pray daily it remain my last time.
I’ve been asked several times why, at age 31, when I was self-employed in a very profitable business and had two beautiful daughters ages 7 and 12, a 3-bedroom home, a new sports car and stable relationships with my family and some great friends, I would ever try meth.
Why? Because it was offered to me.
Because I had recently gone through a divorce. Because I was dating a drug user and had tried to keep up with his lifestyle for almost six months. Because my self-esteem had always suffered.
Why my self-esteem had never been good is still a question I ask myself daily. If I ever figure that one out, I will be rich. All addicts suffer from low self-esteem. That’s why most of us use. The drugs give us a sense of self-esteem even if it is a false sense. We finally fit in and have a whole new set of friends, or we at least think they are our friends.
On October 30, 2008, I went to a party in my apartment complex and was handed a small wad of toilet paper. I asked what it was and was told, “Meth.” I asked if it would make me throw up and was told no. I asked how it would make me feel and was told, “Good. You will have energy and be really happy.” I swallowed the wafer, or wad of toilet paper with crystal meth inside.
I went upstairs to my sleeping boyfriend and said, “Tina said to take this and get to the party.” He immediately jumped up, snorted the meth and began to get ready.
A few minutes later I began to feel the effects of meth. My boyfriend looked at me and said, “You took some didn’t you?” I replied, “Yes.” I will never forget the next words he spoke to me. He said, “You just messed your life up. In a year you won’t have anything. You will lose your house, your car, your business and will never want to see your daughters.” I replied, “I can handle it.” He laughed and said, “No you can’t. It’s meth.”
They say if you try meth once, you might be able to walk away from it. If you try it twice, you’re addicted.
I used daily from that night until December 2, 2008. Unless I was sleeping, which wasn’t often, or in jail, I used, and I used a lot.
Less than a year later I had lost my three-bedroom home and was living with my mom. My car had been wrecked while I was driving drunk, and it had been repossessed. I lost all my clientele, and I made up excuse after excuse why I couldn’t be with my daughters.
One night my youngest was clinging to my leg and begging me not to leave. It was 10:00 at night, and my girls were in tears. They were screaming for me to please stay home and sleep with them, but I couldn’t. I had to go chase the sack. The hell I put my family through is heartbreaking to think about.
I remember bragging that “I do drugs, they don’t do me.” I was never so wrong. Meth did me in.
I did nothing but use for nine months. Soon I had to find a way to pay for my increasing habit, and, like most addicts, I began to sell. The next five years were a blur. I was using, selling and having sex with anyone I wanted and anyone that would make my boyfriend jealous. My morals and dignity were slipping away. I soon just didn’t care, and, when you don’t care, you’re a very dangerous person. I fell asleep driving and had guns pulled on me. I walked into dope houses and hotel rooms alone with bags full of dope and wads of cash. I was a target to be robbed, raped and killed. I went from bad boys to extremely dangerous men. I thought I ruled the world. I had the dope, the money and the men, and people jumped when I said jump if they wanted their dope.
I lost cars, time, memories, clothes, jewelry and my clean record. I was arrested time and time again. I was given chance after chance to change. After each arrest I thought I could be slicker than the Feds and city cops, but I found myself facing life in prison with Federal charges. I had sold to an undercover agent. They had busted me with 24 pounds of meth, and my “friends” had ratted me out. The state was pressing charges of trafficking, and, on top of all that, I was pregnant.
I got pregnant and had a miscarriage in November of 2005, and that was the best thing for my unborn child. I was using and selling big time and had yet to be caught. That baby would have been born addicted, and the state would have taken it away at birth. I was hoping I would miscarry with this pregnancy as well.
Two and half months into the pregnancy, I sat in a hotel room with who I thought was my baby’s daddy’s best friend, but the truth is I had no clue who the dad was. It was between two men I had been in a relationship with, one for four years and the other just over a year. I had decided it would be best if I tried to have a drug-induced miscarriage. We loaded two syringes with over a gram of dope. We found a vein on each arm and shot it up knowing it would kill the baby inside me and might even kill me. I was okay with both of those happening.
What happened was I threw up and was higher than I had ever been for about three days, and there was no spotting, no cramping, nothing.
One night in November, my long-term boyfriend and I got into a fight. He was angry I was using dope while pregnant. He was scared, because the Feds were breathing down his back. I had been arrested again, had my brand new Charger impounded and had $7,000 taken away when I was arrested. I was on his couch with nothing, and I was putting a damper on his sex life. He told me I had to go. He was sick of me and no longer loved me. I was sick, and he hated who I had become. A junkie was sick and embarrassed of another junkie.
I knew what laid ahead of me: prison for life. I knew what I had become to my family already: dead. I was never around, and I avoided their phone calls. They went weeks not knowing if I was dead or alive. I thought my girls would be better off without me. They needed a step-mom who would love them and actually be a part of their lives. This baby didn’t deserve to be born in prison and be another child of the system. I had lost all hope. I wrote a letter to my boyfriend asking him to tell my family goodbye, and I texted him and said I had taken all the pain pills I could find and apologized if when I died, I left a mess in the bed.
I took the pills, called my dog up on the bed beside me and fell asleep.
I woke up in front of my house in the back of an ambulance. Charcoal was being poured down my throat , and I had IVs in and oxygen on. I looked out the window and saw a car pull in my driveway. A girl got out, my boyfriend went to get her and they went inside our house. He already had a chick in our bed, and he didn’t know if I was going to live or die.
After they got me stable, they admitted me to the behavioral medicine unit across the street. I found out the next day the baby had survived, and it was a healthy, perfect little girl. I looked up at the ceiling and asked God, “Why?”
A week later my boyfriend picked me up and took me to my mom’s. She insisted I go to treatment.
I sat in her bathtub with a syringe full of the last little bit of meth I had. My arms were bruised and had knots all over them from times I had missed my vein. My veins were shot, but, by God, I was going to find one somewhere. The water became cold and full of blood. The syringe had more blood than dope, and I knew, when I finally found a vein, the dope would be so diluted I wouldn’t be able to get high off it. Because of my insanity, I kept trying. I looked down at my pregnant belly as I sat in cold bloody water, and every so often a ripple would flow through the water when the baby would kick. Tears were falling and hitting my stomach. I was sick and tired and hated myself.
I slept the next two days straight. I woke up and convinced my mom to let me take her car to go get a new driver’s license, but in reality I was going to go to my boyfriend’s and get high. Before I could get off the couch, the doorbell rang. It was the Feds. They were looking for me. I told them to come back with a warrant, smoked a cigarette, jumped in the shower and waited.
I stayed in jail until, only by the grace of God, I was allowed to go to rehab.
On April 6, 2009, after three and a half months clean, my third daughter was born healthy and perfect with her two big sisters in the room.
I graduated rehab on October 7, 2009. On December 15 I was sentenced. My attorney, the Federal DA and the judge met the day before and signed for me to do three years. I was to leave the courtroom and go to prison.
Before this, on August 17, 2009, God spoke to me. I had been praying every chance I got since coming to rehab, “God, please let me stay out of prison.” I begged Him to let me raise my girls. I lived each moment in fear of losing my girls when I went to prison. I was not enjoying life. I was imprisoned by my own thoughts. On August 17 I was on pass at church. I took my baby to the nursing room and began to pray while she nursed. The same prayer begging God not to send me to prison. After I finished praying, I felt Him walk in the room, walk across the room and sit in the rocking chair beside me. He said, “Beth, relax. You’re not going to prison. I’ve kept you in rehab this long so you can get recovery. Be patient with me. It’s almost over.” At that moment my entire world changed. I began to really live. I told everyone I wasn’t going to prison because God had spoken to me. I loved each moment with my kids and didn’t fear not having them. My prison walls crumbled.
When my attorney called me the day before I was to be sentenced and said they had signed for me to do three years, my world crumbled. I had to go home and tell me girls I was going to prison the next day. I had to look them in the eye and apologize for screwing their lives up. I told them I wished I was dead, because that would be less embarrassing for them than having to tell their friends their mom was in prison for drugs.
My oldest daughter, who was now 18, was going to take over guardianship of my baby. My middle daughter asked me if I was a liar. I said, “I try hard not to be these days.” She replied, “Well you said God told you you weren’t going to prison.” She was right.
I got the elders and ministers together from my church, and we prayed for hours. One elder prayed for the judge to have a sleepless night. One prayed that this be the hardest case he had ever had to render, and another prayed for him to be in turmoil about what to do with me.
There had been over 70 letters written to the judge on my behalf, and the courtroom was packed. There were over 50 people inside and in the hallway including my 13-year-old and my 9-month-old daughter. My oldest was in the front row waiting for her mother to be sentenced. This is something no child should ever have to do.
The judge walked out of his chambers and called me to the bench. The first words out of his mouth were, “I didn’t sleep last night. I was in turmoil about what to do with you. In my 25 years of being a judge, I’ve never had a case this hard to render.” I turned around, and everyone who had been in the prayer session the night before were in shock. Exactly what was prayed for was spoken. I walked out of the courtroom with five years probation and six months of house arrest. God is good!
Tomorrow I celebrate five years clean and free. This is a big deal, because I used for five years. I will be clean as long as I used. It is only by the grace of God I have been able to do this.
My little girl is four and perfect. After her fourth birthday, she told me something that still gives me chills. She said, “Mom, I saw God.” I imagine she has seen lots of pictures of Him since we never miss church and Bible class, and I asked if she saw His picture at church. She said, “No, I saw Him when I was in your tummy. He came inside your tummy twice. He has really big arms. He held me and said He loved me and that everything was going to be okay. I asked Him who He was, and He said, ‘God.’” She had needed God to intervene twice in her life, once when I tried to have a drug-induced miscarriage and once when I attempted suicide. God is alive and very active in an addict’s life!
I am back in college to get my Masters in drug and alcohol counseling. I speak every chance I get and am writing my story. I attend meetings regularly and have a sponsor. I sponsor other girls and have a strong relationship with God and my family. I’ve been forgiven and am trusted. My oldest daughter told me I was her hero while I was still in rehab. I’m my middle daughter’s best friend, and all my girls are my rocks. I put them through rough times, but they have seen the power of prayer and that recovery does work.
I didn’t have an answer when I first asked God, “Why?” after learning my healthy, perfect little girl survived my suicide attempt. Now my “why” is a life free from meth, days spent with my family and something to be grateful for each day.