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Struggles to Strength

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Struggles to Strength

I started using drugs when I was only ten years old in order to "cope" with my problems. I didn't really have a childhood and my life was full of heartache. This only continued to get worse the older I got. I continued to use all throughout junior high and high school. I attempted to stop many times during those years but was unable to keep away. By this point, I was using just to keep from getting sick. During my senior year in high school, my big "secret" had gotten out. I was no longer able to hide my messed up behavior. I used during school hours constantly. The night of my 18th birthday, my school resource officer and my high school guidance counselor kept me after school and took me to rehab. I did not want to go but it was better than jail. It was an acute treatment facility so I was only there for seven days. When I left, I went right back to the same home environment and was using again two days later. I lived with my father who was very abusive and I used that pain as an excuse to continue feeding my addictions. About two weeks after I was home from rehab, I'd had all I could take of the abuse, the pain, the guilt, the self-hatred. I just couldn't take it anymore. I was planning to commit suicide while everyone else was away from home that night. I had a solid plan and was ready to go through with it. Finally, when they all had left, I put the gun to my head with my finger on the trigger and was saying my "last prayer" as my father's girlfriend came back into the house. I hadn't expected her to return so soon. If she had been even one minute later, I would not be here today. She stopped me and took me to the sheriff's department (for protection from my father) and that night, I moved to my mother's with nothing more than a trashbag of clothes. I continued to use and went back to rehab for the second time in two months. I was sure that things would be different this time. My home environment was much better. But I was wrong once again. I stayed sober for a couple of months and relapsed three more times before I finally got my wake up call. During my last relapse, something went terribly wrong. My heart was pounding and I was in enormous amounts of pain. I was so scared. I didn't think I would live through the night. I finally passed out and to my surprise, woke up the next day. That was the day I decided to take my life back. I enrolled in college and got my act together. Now, I am 20 years old. I am clean and sober and I attend Paramedic School full-time and will soon be working as an EMT as well. Once I have my Paramedic License, I will also do Firefighter training and become a Fire Medic. I have learned that nothing in this life time can possily stop me from reaching my dreams so long as I am willing to keep fighting for my own life. I no longer look at my past as a curse but rather, a gift. Because of everything I went through, I am better able to help others both in my career and in my personal life. I have learned to turn my struggles into strength. I hope that anyone else who may read this will also learn to do the same. It's definitely not an easy thing to do, by any means, but I promise you, it is worth the fight.

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.

Guest Book


1. Ed Birk
The letter is not strong enough.
2. Rebecca Doane
I feel so sorry for the kids! Kids act like their parents! I have a feeling this will come back to haunt them!