I have definitely been affected by the disease of addiction. I grew up surrounded by addiction, so I guess it’s no surprise that I am an addict.
Because of the addiction in my household, I would describe my home as being very dysfunctional. I was raised in a single parent home, but both of my parents used. I witnessed a lot of drug use when I was younger – at an age where I shouldn’t even know about drugs, let alone watching my parents use.
Growing up, I struggled with depression, anger, isolation, loneliness and tired. My moods were bleak and dark, sometimes it was as if I had no feelings at all. I later came to call this my “nothing feeling.” No emotions existed. No happiness or sadness. Just a feeling of apathy.
I was molested as a child by two people – they were brothers and were both friends with one of my brothers. Since I watched my mom have sex with a lot of men in our home, I didn’t think when I was getting touched that it was “bad.” As I got older, I ran away a lot and skipped school.
I just wanted to be away from my chaotic household. This caused me to be put on probation; I would tell my probation officer that my mother was using in front of me, but he never believed me. It was like the pink elephant in the middle of the room that people are ignoring while I’m screaming “look at it.” Instead, I was put into an 18-month institute for girls. When I came back home, I started to use marijuana – this was at the age of 13.
That’s when I discovered the numbness that using gave…and it seemed easier to deal with life while I was high.
Drugs took away my emotional pain and made me feel like I could face another day…at first. Before long, I needed drugs just to get by and function on a daily basis. I was heavily self-medicating with drugs. I didn’t do anything without first using. I couldn’t see anything in my life but drugs. I used for 19 years.
It wasn’t long before I started facing all the consequences of my addiction. I say “lost,” but really I gave up on my kids after raising them alone for 12 years. I lost custody and visitation rights. I couldn’t keep an apartment and began sleeping on the streets with other addicts. Chasing the next high and prostituting.
My life was unmanageable and in shambles. I had nothing but the clothes on my back. My depression had gotten so severe that I couldn’t take it anymore. I couldn’t take the hopelessness, the lifestyle or the sleepless and freezing cold nights on park benches. So I decided to end my own life.
I spent hours contemplating how I was going to do it. The next night, I took handfuls of someone else’s psychotic medications. I woke up four days later in the hospital not knowing where I was and my hospital bracelet said my name was Jane Doe. The day I left the hospital I was still pretty foggy. I immediately used, but on the whole way to meet my dealer, I kept thinking about my family and kids. They wouldn’t have even known I was dead because the hospital had no information on me; I could have been dead for a long time before they tracked down my family.
I knew I was done; I was at my rock bottom.
I wish I never would have taken that first drug, but I also realize I wouldn’t be the woman I am today if it weren’t for my past.
My past is ugly, but my recovery is bright. Today I am sober and my life is absolutely better – it’s not perfect, but I am happy. I am getting the things back that addiction took from me and, because of recovery and fighting to get everything back, I appreciate everything in a way I never did before.
I never thought I’d be able to change, but I love the changes I have made in order to become the grateful recovering addict that I am today. I have joint custody of my children and my family relationships are amazing…all because I chose recovery.
I have not used drugs since 2/21/2015.