This is my story about my addiction and journey to recovery.  My story may be unique to some but very similar to others.  I was broken, hopeless, and disconnected.  Today I’m grateful, connected, and beyond hopeful.

Addiction had once controlled every single aspect of my life.  Every choice I made.  I was self-centered, empty, and lost most of all I was in full blown active addiction.  Addiction can grab a hold of anyone at any given second.  Addiction does not discriminate no matter the age, race, sex, religion, or type of family we may come from.

Unlike most children, I was not privileged to have both of my parents in my life.  I was being raised by a single mother who did the best she could to raise my brother and I with what she had.  Mom struggled with her own problems with addiction while my father had him own demons to deal.  The consequences for his choices while in addiction led him to a 35 year prison sentence which he is still currently serving.  This is a constant reminder that addiction always leads to jails, institutions, or death.  Because I didn’t have a male role model in my life, I searched for love in all the wrong places.

My mother struggled to raise my brother and I which resulted in a lack of supervision.  At the age of 15, I became pregnant with my first son.  I wanted to give him a loving family with a mother and father; something I never had.  I gave birth to a healthy little boy at the age of 16.  Not long after giving birth I made the bad decision to jump into a marriage I was not ready for.  I was in denial about the abusive relationship I was in.  DCS had threatened to take custody of my child.  My teenage years were troubled and full of obstacles but I pushed forward and managed to graduate high school in 2008.

Around this time I made the choice to leave my husband.  It wasn’t long before I was in another unhealthy relationship and once again pregnant with my second child.  Needless to say the relationship did not last long.  At this point I had a very young son, was well into my second pregnancy, scared and alone and landed back in the arms of my first love.  I had left him before I became pregnant with my first child.  He was willing to be there for my children and me despite the circumstances.  After giving birth to my daughter I filed for divorce from my husband because I thought I had found true happiness and the family I wanted to give my children.

It was during this relationship that I got comfortable and careless.  Soon I found out I was pregnant with my third child, another son.  Things seemed to be going well until that relationship became abusive.  He had warped my mind into believing that he only hit me because he loved me.  I had been considering leaving him until I found out about a very large settlement he was about to get.  I stayed for all the wrong reasons thinking it would solve all of our problems because I was the only one working at the time.  The settlement only made things worse.  At this point I was 19 and had only experimented with marijuana.  Out money started running low so we got this bright idea from a so called friend to invest our money into buying and selling pills.  Little did I know that buying and selling drugs would soon lead to using and abusing drugs.  This was the start of my downward spiral into addiction.

Right after giving birth I married again.  Shortly thereafter I began intravenously using opiates for the first time.  I no longer felt empty.  I felt great.  My drug use progressed until I no longer had control of it.  I was no longer the good mother I once was.  I was a Junkie.  It didn’t take long before everyone around me could see how much I had changed.  My loved ones feared for me and the safety of my children.  My addiction led me to start using in front of my kids.  That behavior led to my first charge and the first of many charges to come.  DCS became involved and took custody of my children.  My youngest was only four months old at the time.  Instead of this being a wakeup call it led me deeper into addiction.  I didn’t have any fight in me to get my children back.  I no longer knew who I was.  I was angry, empty, drained of hope, and full of dope.  Soon my husband left me.  When I was no longer able to support my habit I turned to stealing from others including my loved ones.  I started trading sex for drugs and money.  I had been stripped of any self-respect or self-worth.  I didn’t have a conscience.  I was comfortably numb.  Now I am no longer just using opiates, I have been introduced to meth which soon became the love of my life.

This lifestyle continued for the next two years.  Things progressed until I was arrested in August 2012 for burglarizing the Circuit Court Clerk’s home.  I would do anything at this point for my fix.  I was looking at a very long time in jail for these charges.  I hated myself, everyone, and everything.  I wanted to die.  The next year was spent in jail and then I decided to try Drug Court.  Many people told me I would never make it in Drug Court.  On June 4th I was released to enter the Drug Court program.  I thought I was going to manipulate the system and just get through it.  I still didn’t want to look in the mirror.  I was told honesty was the key to working the program but I was not able to do that because I was lying as soon as I came into the program.  Soon I got involved with another addict in recovery and became pregnant with my fourth child.  I didn’t want to have another child when I didn’t have any of my other three children.  My life was chaos and I didn’t know which way to turn because I was lying to Drug Court about who the father was. Fear and guilt consumed me until I could no longer take it.  I made it four months without using drugs and was three months pregnant when I picked up again.  One use led to two and I knew I had to do something.  I had a drug screen the next day.  I tried to fake it and was caught by Drug Court staff trying to pass the screen with someone else’s urine.  It was a relief at that point.  Later that week I got honest about everything.  Drug Court sanctioned me by placing me in jail for a week and then sending me to rehab.  Insurance would only pay for one week so I had to go back to jail.  That was the day I surrendered and made the decision to turn it all over.  I could no longer live like this.  I was sick and tired of being sick and tired.  I decided to let this make me, not break me.  Later that week I was released on house arrest and was ordered to move into the Drug Court transitional house as soon as it opened.  This was where I began to truly change my life.  I gave birth to a drug free, healthy baby girl in March 2014.  I was blessed and felt I had a purpose again for once in my life.  I began to look at myself, let go, and let God.  I completed my stay at the recovery house but not before I learned so much.

Addiction is much more than using.  It’s the way I think.  I also have a co-occurring disorder which means I have a mental disorder as well as a substance abuse disorder.  I learned that I had to change only one thing and that was everything.  During my journey of recovery, I have signed over custody of my youngest son, I have established a healthy life style, I have a home, I have a vehicle, I have family and friends, and I have feelings of love and joy.  Blessings continue to come my way as long as I make the next right choice.  I wouldn’t change any of this if I could because without all these experiences I would not be the strong person I am today.  I know that if I can do it anyone can.  I hope my story is an inspiration to someone.  It’s not always easy but it’s beyond worth every second of it.  Not matter what, you don’t have to use.  Life is so beautiful and there are so many blessings waiting for us. 

I am 18 months clean and my story continues.