I am twenty-two years old. I started using when I was thirteen. I didn’t get drunk my first time but I woke up the next day and I wanted more. I have never, ever been able to drink in moderation, but for years I convinced myself I could.
I never felt like I fit in at school. I wasn’t a loser but I wasn’t popular by any means. I just felt like I was on the outside looking in. When I found alcohol, I was everyone’s best friend. I got a boyfriend who didn’t go to school and did drugs. I loved the lifestyle. I was attracted to the chaos. That’s when I started dabbling. I tried my first Percocet with my boyfriend and I thought: “It’s so small. What is it going to do?” He said: “Big things come in small packages.” I didn’t know those things would end up ruling my life. I got into smoking crack cocaine and I found more friends who sold drugs.
My parents didn’t want to be known as the family with the drug addicted daughter but it got to a point where they would find me sleeping sitting up and making these weird noises like I couldn’t breathe. They knew something was up. They started searching my room and they found everything.
I come from a big Irish Catholic family with a bunch of cousins. We all get together every holiday. My family thought it would have more of an impact if my cousins did an intervention. My cousins are like my brothers and sisters. We are very close. I heard people talk about interventions but I never thought they would actually go through with one. I was hyperventilating and I was embarrassed. They told me: “We’re worried about you. You’re going to die.” It affected me but I said: “Give me a week and then I’ll go to treatment.” My mom said: “We can’t do that. You need to leave.” They kicked me out and showed me tough love.
I wasn’t homeless yet. My friend let me sleep on his couch but he stayed in contact with my dad. He said: “You can’t stay here. You need to go to treatment”. Since I had nowhere else to go, I called a treatment center and got accepted. I got kicked out a week later. My mom told me I couldn’t come home. I had a friend pick me up from the bus station. I Googled a treatment center in Florida and my friend bought me the plane ticket.
I was going to have my own apartment in a Florida treatment community. I had a boyfriend down there so it was my way to get closer to him. When I got to the detox, I did an intake and they took all my stuff. They only give you the clothes you need for the days in detox. I said: “I never intended to stay here. I’m going to have my boyfriend come pick me up.” I left the detox in the middle of Delray Beach. I had no idea where I was. I called my boyfriend. He said: “No, you actually need rehab. I’m not coming to get you.” I ended up going back to treatment.
I did what was expected of me for the thirty day program and then I moved into a half-way house. The owner of my half-way house gave me a job. I was going to the beach every day and I lived where people vacation…but that gets old really fast. My twenty-first birthday came around. I thought: “As long as I’m not shooting dope, I’m fine”. So I snuck out of the half-way house and went to the bar. I woke up on the beach the next morning with no idea what had happened.
I ended up moving out of the half-way house and it went downhill after that. I was doing the Delray shuffle. I jumped from half-way house to half-way house. Then I manipulated my way back to New Hampshire. The only stipulation was that I couldn’t stay at my parent’s house. I moved in with a friend because he thought I was doing good. I was black out drunk every single night and, within a week, I was doing dope. It progressed very fast.
I met another boy. He was living out of his car. I lived out of his car with him. I got involved with a very dangerous group of people. We were getting gas and noticed a woman in the station with hundred dollar bills in her wallet. We followed her home. I was driving the car. My friend jumped out and the lady shot him. Looking back on it today, I am grateful that she defended herself because that very well could have been my mother. A warrant went out for my arrest.
I went to jail and the detox was horrible. I found someone to bail me out and I went back on a vicious run. It was bad to say the least. I don’t remember a lot of it. I broke bail and they brought me back to jail. I got bailed out again. I missed my court date and I went to Lake Massabesic. There’s a rock on the trail where I always find peace. It was a beautiful day and the sun was shining. Only an addict would think: “Today is a good day to die.” I shot enough dope to put down an elephant. I woke up four hours later.
I went back to the city and I got picked up by the police. This time, they threw away the key. I called my mom from the station and said: “I think this is it”. In Valley Street jail, a girl wanted to hide drugs in the clothes I was changing into for court. I was not ready to face the time I was facing. I was looking at five years in prison. I overdosed and dropped dead in the tank. They had to Narcan me four times and do CPR compressions.
My lawyer got me a deal. I had to do in-house treatment. I was in Valley Street for five months and then I transferred to Merrimack County to do their treatment program. When I was released, my court papers said that I had to go the Process Recovery Center and Rise Above sober living. Amy Cloutier, the Director of Clinical Outreach, has never given up on me. She has a lot to do with why I am still alive today.
The Process showed genuine concern and care. The moment I walked into the facility, I was welcomed with open arms. I felt like I belonged and I felt at home. I’ve never been in a treatment facility where they continuously do check-ins. I heard someone say: “If I don’t check-in, I’m going to check-out.” That’s the truth. You need to tell people where you’re at and the Process wants to know. They want to know what you are going through and what’s going on in the community. They want to know how they can make it better. I can honestly say that the Process saved my life. Yes, I was sober when I got out of jail, but I could have gone back to the streets. Even though I am not a client anymore, I know I could walk through those doors and sit in Justin’s office and have a conversation. He smiles and lights up when he sees clients getting it. I cannot express my gratitude enough for the Process Recovery Center.
Today, I have nine months sober, I’m employable, I have my family back, and my nieces know who I am. I have such a passion for recovery. I always try to reach my hand out to the newcomer. I take suggestions. I have an amazing sponsor and a sponsee family. It’s just so good to know that I have women I can turn to today. I have genuine friends. I was never able to say that before. I used to think everyone on the street was my friend. They just wanted me for my drugs and my money.
People come to me for advice. I speak at detoxes as much as I can. I fill my time with commitments and I go to a meeting every single day. I need to put my recovery first. I want other things, too, but I can’t have those things unless I have my sobriety. If I go out now, everything I worked for would go down the drain. I don’t want to give that up. I want to prove everyone wrong who thought I couldn’t do it. If you really want to change your life, you can. You are one decision away from a different life. There is a solution and we do recover.