I grew up in a very chaotic home. My mom was an active user and my dad wasn’t really around. I always felt out of place as a child. It took a lot to get comfortable and I would find any way to fit in. My brothers and I got taken away from my mother at a young age. My aunt took us in so we weren’t separated in foster care. My aunt and uncle provided a structured household. They made sure we did our homework and paid for us to get into extracurricular activities. Even though they provided for us, I still wanted my mom. I did cheerleading and gymnastics, and I fit in there, but I also hung out with the people who were partying. I got introduced to the party scene and I took off from there. I was drinking all the time – anything to get out of myself.
I was in a very emotionally abusive relationship and that lasted for years. My ex-boyfriend sold a lot of drugs. That was just life for me. All the gymnastics, cheerleading, and schoolwork – everything that was beneficial to me – went downhill. My ex-boyfriend got into a motorcycle accident and was prescribed Percocet. I dabbled with that. My life was all about using and getting that next fix.
My mom was in and out of the picture my whole life. She did a lot of jail time and, on her very last bid, I picked her up and had her living in an apartment with me and my brother. Both my older brothers used, too. I looked at it as a godsend that she was able to spend that time with us. But it just became chaotic because we used together. My mother ended up passing away as a result of the disease.
That didn’t change anything for me. A normal person would probably get their ducks in order and figure everything out, but I just wanted to get out of myself and not feel those emotions. I continued to use and I got introduced to more serious drugs. At that point, everything went downhill fast.
They call it the “gift of desperation”: I was alone in an apartment with no furniture. People were calling me but I knew they weren’t my friends. My mom had her services and all the friends I pushed away due to my drug use showed up. None of the “friends” I used with were there. It was an eye-opener for me. I decided to try treatment and, but for the grace of God, it worked for me. Every day I just try to live the life that my mom wasn’t able to live.
Everyone I surround myself with is in recovery. I just don’t associate myself with bad company. Recovery is my world. I am about to have a baby in recovery, which is the best gift I could ever ask for. I hope that my story will help women who are struggling to get their kids back. I know both sides of the picture; being an addict and being the child of an addict. The best gift is to be able to bring a child into this world and really care for them and be able to provide for them. You don’t have to use just because things get chaotic. That’s why you need a support system to help you when things are stressful. Using is just not an option for me today. It’s not going to make anything better, it’s just going to make everything spiral out of control. There’s so much help for women with children if you choose to utilize it.
The material things don’t matter. Yes, those things are great and, over time, if you keep a steady job, you’re going to have them. The best gift I have ever received in recovery is the ability to feel my emotions and get through them. I stuffed so much for so long that it took awhile to get to the point I am today. I wouldn’t give it up for anything. Continuously helping other people helps me. It sounds so cliché, but it’s so true. Working in the field, if I get one client to take a suggestion, I can go home and sleep at night.
There is another way out. You just have to seek the help and utilize it. Sharing is so key because if you don’t share about it, nobody knows you’re in pain. That’s what we’re here for…we are here to help. Prayer is a huge thing – I know that not everyone believes in God – but there is something out there that’s bigger than us. Finding my Higher Power guided me. Religion and spirituality are two different things. A lot of people come into treatment facilities who aren’t necessarily ready…but something got them here. Something motivated them to look at the big picture. Something was working in their life. It’s not a coincidence.