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We do recover!!

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We do recover!!

By the time I was in middle school I got this feeling that I didn't belong. I felt different and alone. I hated myself and began to search for ways to mask my feelings. My first answer was self mutilation I began to cut up my arms and legs and also developed an eating disorder. These actions distracted me from my true problem; not being comfortable in my own skin. Soon enough those answers weren't working for me anymore and I searched for something else. I then found alcohol and drugs and I knew I met my match. Under the influence I was comfortable with myself, I could talk to people, laugh and have fun, all my worries and negative thoughts disappeared. Immediately I was obsessed with the feeling and decided I had found my true answer to life: I must have drugs and alcohol to function. I believed this to be true for a very long time. I ran with my new decision and made it a lifestyle. I found friends who did the same things I did and finally felt like I found somewhere I fit in. I did drugs before and at school, at home, before and at parties and everywhere in between, being High or drunk came to be the Only feelings I knew. Soon enough my parents caught on to my new lifestyle and not to my surprise they were not happy. They took me to therapists and doctors who I lied to who in turn put me on medications for depression and anxiety. Things with my parents and sister immediately went downhill. I felt guilty for how unhappy I was making them but I was not willing to change what I was doing. They would ground me and when unable to get my hands on drugs or alcohol I would return to the self mutilation and starving myself. At age 15 I decided I would leave home. I figured if I was out of my parents sight that they wouldn't have to worry about me and also I would?not have to follow their rules and could do whatever I wanted when I wanted. Shortly after running away I dropped out of school. I was already skipping so many days and doing so poorly in school that I figured why even go? So this puts me at age 15 not in school, sleeping on different friends couches with a book bag of a change of clothes to call my own. I was steadily trying new drugs and finding new favorites and staying high. Finding ways for afford the drugs no matter what it was, lying stealing or whatever, I always found a way. Jumping back a bit I'd like to mention the first time I used drugs. On vacation with a friend we met some random boys at the beach we started drinking and they offered us some pills I figured why not?? Turns out four of these pills and a fifth of vodka doesn't mix well. That night, my first night using hard drugs, I overdosed and my heart stopped. In the ambulance that night they revived and using the defibulators. I woke up in the hospital unconcerned and after a week in the psych ward I went straight back to those pills and alcohol. Insane?? Yes!! Every time I think about that now it just reminds me of my insanity, something kills me and then I try it again.... ? Ok back to where I was, finding any way to get high, by now 16 or 17,couch surfing, a drop out druggie. My 'dream lifestyle' started to wear on me. The fun was starting to fade and my feelings if sadness, doom, and despair began to come back. So I got high more, with harder stuff. My friends grew tired of me?on their couches and with my unhappiness I was unpleasant constantly. And when I was high or drunk I was an emotional mess. My parents were concerned for me and I stopped answering their emails (I didnt have a phone). At this point I thought I was in love with a guy, who I knew was cheating on me, but he still wanted my company and I still wanted his so I stayed quiet about it and kept it to myself. This wore on me. And he didn't like that I got high so much and I liked that. He wanted more for me. ?it was like he knew I was better than what I was doing and I knew I was too but at this point I didn't know how to stop. I was working two jobs to support my habit and I moved In with the guy and had to help with rent. Working at 2 restaurants a total of probably 50 hours a week, and still getting high before, at, in between, and after work. I went to my interviews high because I believed I was too shy, quiet and impersonal without it and no one would want to hire me. I had stopped eating all together and there began to be times when I couldn't get my hands in what I needed to get high. So this introduced me to withdrawals occasionally I was throwing up at work, my ribs were poking at my skin I was pale as a ghost and looked like death in general. I started calling my parents every once in a while to let them know I was ok and every time they begged me to come home and let them help me, I would tell them I didn't need their help. I continued to live like this for a while, working 2 jobs and living with the now ex boyfriend. He ended it with me and made it official with the girl that he was cheating on me with. So I moved into my own room in his place and tried to pretend I was ok but I was broken inside. I soon lost one of the jobs for I don't remember exactly what. But it ended with my boss telling me he was going to have to drug test me and he knew I wasn't going to pass so he gave me the option to leave. Exactly a week later while in a blackout I quit my other job for unknown reasons, to this day I don't know why I quit. So now I'm jobless, physically sick and breaking down and completely dead inside. I needed a vacation. Me and my best friend decided to go visit her dad in New Orleans to celebrate Mardi gras. I don't remember a thing from that week. We came back home, I was out of money, confused from a week long blackout, sad and miserable. For some reason I called my friends dad that we had just visited and broke down to him said I needed help and didn't know what to do. He told me I could come back to New Orleans and stay with him. So I packed up and headed to my parents house to tell them goodbye. It had been a long while since I'd seen them and I think they were surprised to see that I was in worse condition than they thought. I told them I was holding everything together (and I believed myself) and that I was moving to New Orleans. They lost it. My mom screamed and cried, my dad wrestled me for my car keys. My mom yelled that I needed help and should go to rehab. I cried and cursed at both if them. This moment was not a pretty sight. I snatched my keys back from my dad and left without anymore words. That night my drug dealer took his life. He was unhappy and under the influence and decided to end it. I was sad and my first reaction was to get High and try to forget about it. I went back to the ex's apartment for the night and decided I would hit the road to New Orleans the next morning. When I woke up the next morning something happened. I woke up with tears in my eyes. I was torn up about my friend and dealer taking his own life and my parents words from the fight the day before we're echoing in my head. Suddenly something overcame me and I decided I was done fighting the fight. Something or someone out there guided me into my car and straight to my parents house. My mom came to the door and cried immediately. All I said was "mom I want to go to rehab." I didn't know what rehab meant or what you did there or what the outcome was but I knew that's where people went to get help for addiction. My mom hugged me longer and harder than she ever had before and we both stood there crying in silence for a while. She got me situated on her couch and making me food and calling a zillion places trying to find out what to do or where to take me. She found a detox for me to go to at a hospital downtown. She helped me get something's together and took me there herself. I detoxed there for about a week. While I was there they reccomended that I do a 30 day inpatient treatment program following my detox. I said whatever. They said there was one in Florida ( I lived in North Carolina) I thought about it for a while then said whatever. The detox process was tough, they kept me heavily medicated but I was still terribly uncomfortable. But I made it through it. My body had made through the withdrawals but my mind was a little bit behind. When I was released from the detox I hopped on a plane to Florida with my mom by my side. The treatment center was a mile from the beach if that. Palm trees everywhere and beautiful weather. For the first time since I was a kid I remember enjoying the beauty of the world. My mom told me she was proud of me and hugged me and headed back home. The treatment center was a really nice place they welcomed me into the group. I was very quiet but found a few people I felt comfortable talking to. We had therapists, groups and meetings during the day. On the weekends we got to Go to the beach and the movies and things like that. They taught us coping skills, they taught us to go to AA and thy told us to pray. We needed to let go of our past and commit to be willing to do anything to stay sober. I was heasitant at first but then accepted the idea. In treatment I learned again what it is like to experience life and normal day to day things while sober. I learned how to laugh and smile sober. I learned that if I wanted to, I could stay sober. They taught me I needed to take suggestions and to stop trying to do things my way, I didn't listen to that immediately. It was suggested to me to stay in Florida and move into a halfway house (where Someone goes after rehab to ease them back into the real world). I decided I would move back with my parents so I did. I realized quickly I should have stayed in Florida. All the friends I had were still drinking and drugging and I didn't want to tempt myself by hanging out with them. I didnt know what to do with myself and after being away from my parents since I was 15 (at this point I was 19) it felt weird living there again. I told my parents I wanted to go back to Florida and they supported me. Friends I made in rehab had stayed in Florida and those were people like me who weren't trying to drink or drug. I figured a 19 year old needs friends right? So I moved. Me and my dad packed up my car and we drove to Florida. He took me to my halfway house and helped move me in. He hugged me and said goodbye and got on a plane back to NC. I met up with my friends from rehab and we went to AA meetings together and went to the beach a lot and had a lot of fun. I got a sponsor from AA and started working the 12 steps of recovery. I got a job and started building a new life in Florida. For the first time in a Long time I felt happy again. Drug and alcohol free. It was a miracle! I made great friends, a lot of who three years later are still my friends now. I got my own place by the beach and worked to support myself. My clean time quickly added up and between the jobs, steps, friends, meetings, beach, fun, and happiness before I knew it I picked up my one year sobriety chip. What a milestone that was for me and I couldn't have been happier. My new firends and my parents were proud. I had met a boy. We were best friends for months and began dating. our relationship moved quickly and I went to New Jersey to meet his parents, I loved them. Shortly after, he moved into my apartment. We were happy together and had a lot in common. We had a lot if fun together and complimented eachother. All our friends said we were a perfect match. After my previous relationship, this one seemed like a fairy tale. We were sober and happy and together. That changed. He decided to pick up a drug. I was torn apart. I was concerned for him and fearful that he would leave me. It took him a while to get back on his feet in his sobriety but I never left his side and supported him any way I could. I was scared to lose my fairy tale love. I was still going to my AA meetings and working with my sponsor. Everyone was telling me to back off from Rob (my boyfriend) because he could pull me down quicker than I could pick him up. But I continued to put everything I had into helping and trying to fix him and in doing that I only destroyed myself. He was in and out of detox programs and rehabs and I had decided I couldn't function without him. He had become my new drug. We had plans for a wedding in New Jersey and he was due to get out of a detox the morning our flight was scheduled. Not one person I knew agreed with the idea of me going on this trip with him. Considering his clean time and my emotional state of mind. But I knew what was best for him and I and I wasn't letting him go without me. So to New Jersey we went. Not 48 hours after being there, Rob and I were high. It happened so fast. My lack of concern for myself and my sobriety had backfired and proved that I should waste no time trying to cure someone else if I have no concern for my own sobriety. So right then and there, that easily, I gave up a year and a half of sobriety. I felt guilt and shame so I went back to my solution from the past, keep getting high. Which we did. We came back to Florida with plenty of drugs. The night we got back we saw a friend at wal mart, it was obvious that we were no longer sober, we hadn't slept in days, and soon enough all our friends knew we were getting High. We got many concerned phone calls and texts but didnt answer or reply to any of them. ?I was working a rehab so I willingly quit my job. ? ?I called my mom and told her I was getting high again, that I wasn't planning on stopping but I just wanted her to know. Rob started having really bad back pains. We went to the hospital and they said he was fine. The pains got worse and almost unbearable so he used more and more drugs to numb the pain. But that wasn't working. His feet were tingly and he could barely walk or move. I helped him into a hot shower to see if that helped. He could barely stand in the shower so I decided to take him back to the hospital. ?While getting him dressed he collapsed on the floor. He couldn't feel his legs and I called 911. It's all kind of a blur, due to the drugs and the shock and fear I was in. The ambulance took him to the hospital and I followed in my car. I as crying like a complete mess and scared for him I had no idea what was going on. He was in a room waiting for an MRI and I went out to my car to smoke a cigarette. I woke up 3 hours later. Scared to death I must have fell asleep due to not sleeping for days and ran into the hospital to check on him. He wasn't in the room where I left him. I went to the desk they said they moved him upstairs. I went to the room and he wasn't there. I went to another desk and they said he went into emergency surgery. I broke down and ran all over the hospital searching for him. Someone who worked there stopped me in the hall and asked me if I was okay I told him what was going in and he took me to the surgery waiting room. I was a mess freaking out I still didn't know what was going on. The man from the hall came back and said he could take me to Rob to see him before surgery I ran with him and found rob. He was hooked up to iv's and was in a gown and hair cap. I fell apart and he was calm and told me he would be okay. I waited for him to get out of surgery. I had to call his mom and tell her what was going on she told me to sit tight and she would be in the first plane down. A couple of hours and he was out of surgery. He was totally out of it so we couldn't talk. Soon his mom was there and we spoke to a doctor. Finally I could understand what was going on. Rob developed an abscess on his spine. (Abcessess can form from staff infection and use of needles associated with drugs) the abscess formed in his spine and the pressure from it had caused him to go paralyzed from the waist down. I was devastated. They weren't ?sure about how or if he would recover yet. ?Rob came back around and I was able to talk to him some and hold his hand. The next day he was wiggling his toes, a miracle. Then he was able to get out of bed and walk 2 feet with a walker and 2 nurses at his side. He spent 7 days at the hospital and I stayed my his side. I didnt have anywhere to go. I slept in the chair next to him and watched him and he slept. I was sad for him but relieved he was too to be able to walk. We found out that he was going to have to spend 6 weeks in a nursing home to receive IV antibiotics and physical therapy. We found one and I stayed with him there. His mom stayed in Florida too. We decided to go to New Jersey for the remaining 3 weeks of his nursing home stay so his mom could go back to work. We didn't see any reason to stay in Florida. We had ruined our friendships with the people we knew, I had no where to live and rob had a long road of recovery ahead of him. So we packed up and went to NJ. He was still using a wheelchair. The new nursing home wouldn't allow me to stay with him there so I spent my days there with him and my nights sleeping at his parents house. He did well there and was getting better. When he was done there I moved in with his brother. Rob was still on pain meds from the surgery. Soon he decided to get off of them and flushed them down the toilet. He went through bad withdrawals and couldn't tough them out and went out and got high. ?After that he did an outpatient detox program which worked well for him. He started getting a shot every month that is called vivitrol it is an opiate blocker (if he tried to get high he couldn't) . He did well with that. He was still in physical therapy 3 times a week. That's all we did for a while. Physical therapy and go for dinner at his parents house. I turned 21 Without a drink or a drug. We stayed sober. But did not attend meetings or work with a sponsor. I did continue to pray every day. ?Some months went by and we were in for something more. We weren't happy. We were miserable. We started to make contact with our friends from Florida, we had given time for the air to clear after our relapse and our friends were happy to hear from us. Soon we decided we needed to go back to Florida. We were young, we needed friends, sober ones who were doing the right things. So we started preparing to move. We fixed a wrecked car he had in his parents garage, packed up and headed for Florida after 7 months in New Jersey. Our friends welcomed us with open arms ?which was a great feeling. We found a place to rent and found jobs quick. We tryed hard to do the right things and move In the right direction. I returned to AA meetings and found a new sponsor and started working through the 12 steps again. ?We made it easy on ourselves and kept our life very simple. Rob continued on the vivitrol shots. We were happy again. We had a home, a cat, a dog, eachother, and sobriety. It felt like we never left Florida. We visited New Jersey not too long after for robs sisters wedding and all went well. Before we knew it we hit one years sobriety again. Our friends trust us again and can count in us. I have reconsiled with my family and they are happy with me. I am now 22 years old and 14 months sober. Though I gave up that previous year and a half , I have learned so much through this experience. I may have list some clean time but I gained knowledge and learned lessons. I truly believe everything happens for a reason. It was hard at the time but I know what rob went through happened for a reason. I believe his story can inspire many people and give them hope. This new way of life has introduced me to so many new things. Trusting people, trusting god, happiness, faith, responsibility, patience, courage, love and many other things. Most important of these things is my faith and trust in god. My higher power does not lead me to anything that I can't handle, he helps he to be if service to others. He gives me opportunities like this to share my story and my hope with other people who may be struggling. My life today is beautiful and I am forever greatful for every struggle and experience I have been through because they have brought me to where I am today. I have relationships with people that I wouldn't trade for the world. My parents and I talk almost every day, I am on good terms with my sister. Rob and I are still together and I haven't lost my fairy tale love. I have learned to not suffocate our relationship but to let it breathe and be free. I have a good relationship with robs family, I talk to them often. I have a great relationship with my sponsor who walks me through my problems. I can't say why I deserved a second or third chance at life but I received it. And to show my gratitude I will continue to share my story with others in hopes to spread inspiration or to shine a light of hope where there is only darkness. I would have never got this life if others hadnt done that for me so I will continue to give back. Never lose hope, and thank you for reading.

- brita


This Story of Hope was created in celebration of recovery and to let families know that there are pathways to hope and healing. The Partnership for Drug-Free Kids is the only nonprofit organization dedicated to helping families who are struggling with their son or daughter's substance use. Please consider sharing this page so that families know where to turn to for help, and that there is always hope.

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