- Friends & Family
In December of 2014, my life was turned upside down when I found out that my 3-year-old daughter had been sexually abused. It turned out that it was the same man who had abused me as a child, my step dad. After several months of trying to hold things together I turned to meth to ease the pain. The next 565 days of my life were hell. Over the course of almost two years, I was arrested nearly 12 times, I lost my job, I lost my home, I was on the verge of losing my marriage and my kids. All of these things though, were just not enough to stop me. The pain that the drug freed me from, the reality that I could escape, that was what made it worth it.
So many different things occurred in my life that should have prompted the need for change, but I lived with blinders on.
Anyone that tried to talk to me was wrong. I lived in my own little world. I’m sure many addicts can relate to saying, at one point or another, “Hey I’ll be right back” and then disappear for several days at a time. This had become a pattern for me and one that my young children had become accustomed to. Even when I would tell them that I would see them later, I could see the disbelief on their faces. My 5-year-old kindergartener was talking to me one day, and she said “Mommy sometimes when I get on the bus I hold my breath until we get to the bus stop. I’ll either smile REALLY big when you are there, or I blow out really mad when you’re not.” When she told me this, my brain told me that I should feel sad, but truth was, I wasn’t. That night I laid in my bed and really thought about how my life was going. That same 5-year-old was the one who had been molested 2 years prior, yet “I” was the one acting foolishly. Out of 565 days I had been high for 560. Tears began rolling down my face as I realized that I didn’t even know what it was like to be sober. I couldn’t conceive ever living my life without drugs.
My help came solely from God. The night that I laid in bed evaluating my life. I had no real desire to stop using. I knew that I needed to, but the want and will to stop was just not there.
So, I prayed, the hardest that I ever had, for the will. The next morning, I woke up, and it was as if my blinders had been taken off. I could see things clearer. I knew that morning, that I no longer wanted to use drugs.
I often tell people that although this was definitely one of the worst times in my life, it has brought many lessons that I otherwise wouldn’t have learned. First and foremost, I think that a key factor in overcoming any addiction is understanding your “why.” It is obviously important to discover your why for quitting, but it is equally as important to discover your WHY for starting. It is only then that you can deal with the issues that led up to your addiction. I am a better person because of the things that I went through. I try as hard as I can to understand the struggles of other people, and if possible, help out when I can. Another one of the most important lessons that I’ve learned, and it probably sounds pretty cliché, is to not take the little things for granted. Freedom is obviously not a little thing however, I think that we are very guilty of taking our freedom for granted. When I was in jail I remember thinking, “God I wish I knew what time it was” or “What I wouldn’t give to just walk outside” those small things that we are able to do are huge when they are taken away. For example, like the smile of a child. Often times we get caught up in hustle and bustle of our everyday lives, and we overlook our children. I now see my children so much differently, and every smile brings me so much joy. I have always been the type of person that people go to for advice and my addiction stole that from me. I lied and lost so many friends, but most importantly I lost my voice. I lost the ability to say something, and have another person believe me. That will take a long time to get back. Lying was so stressful, and I’ve learned that the truth is so much easier. No matter what.
There have been days that I have literally had to take it 15 minutes at a time. There have been days that I have literally gone and thought about sitting inside the police station so that I wouldn’t go use. Addiction is patient, and it will wait till you think that you have it under control, and then it will attack. So I make sure that my recovery remains at the top of my priorities and I live every single day with a new perspective.
I just want to say that there were so many times in my addiction that I felt alone, that I felt like no one would understand what I was going through. But I was not alone, and I was not crazy. Reach out for help, even if it’s just asking for someone to talk to. Remember that no matter how long you’ve traveled in the wrong direction, it’s never too late to turn around.