For Me, This is Life or Death
Growing up I had a pretty normal childhood, except for the fact that my parents were divorced. I played sports and did really well in school, I actually enjoyed school. But the desire to fit in and feel accepted was more important than any of my accomplishments. The only way I found acceptance was through the "wrong crowd" and that was only with the help of drugs & alcohol. Drugs & alcohol had taken complete control of my life at an early age of 12. In jail 3 times before the age of 18, on probation at the age of 17, with a felony on my record, and in an outpatient treatment program at 19, I struggled to gain any control of my life. I knew things had to change or I was going to be in a worse situation, then I had already been in. Between the ages of 15-20 I had been raped 11 times, in 4 abusive relationships, crashed a car drinking and driving, hurt everyone around me & had attempted to kill myself 7 times. The only way I saw myself was damaged, broken, hopeless, worthless and unwanted. My family completly distanced themselves and didn't believe my cries for help anymore. I tried to quit on my own, only to find myself relying on the drugs and the alcohol even more. I knew I needed help, but I wasn't ready yet, I wasn't even 21 and didn't want to miss that "big night out". ?But that all changed the day after I turned 21.
My 21st birthday was everything I had envisioned it to be, except for the ending of it. Of course I spent the whole day and night drinking & using. But after the bar, at my apartment, I lost all control. I flipped out on my best friend, and tore our whole apartment apart, I shoved her and screamed at her til 4:30 in the morning, when she finally called my mom to get her help. My mom told her to bring me over, and on the car ride there, I decided I wanted to go to treatment. The first time I wanted the help for me. The day after my 21st is my clean date. I spent three days in detox, two days in jail and was in a treatment facility 4 days later. That decision completely changed my life.
In treatment I attended every NA meeting I possibly could, got a sponsor and made the decision to change my life, no matter what I had to do. After treatment, I stayed in the town that I went to treatment in and started a new life. A life completely clean. I began to work a 12 step program, and only talked to other people in recovery. I no longer had any reason to talk to anyone I had used with. I took the suggestions people in the program gave me, well most of them.
In less than 2 weeks, I will turn 22 and the day after that, I will be celebrating 1 year clean! It's pretty amazing and emotional to look back at where I was a year ago. Today I work a full time job, I am in a healthy relationship with another addict in recovery, we pay our bills on time, we have nice things, we partake in family events, we still attend meetings 3 times a week and we only socialize with people who are in recovery also. I hold 2 service positions, and still work a 12 step program. I am beginning to look into schooling, talk to my sponser every day, and no matter what, I don't pick up. Just because I am clean doesn't mean life is easy at times. But even my worst day clean is better then my best day using. Today I have gratitude and a higher power in my life. But the most important thing is that I am clean and my recovery comes first in my life, NO MATTER WHAT.
Anyone can have this way of life, you just have to want it for yourself. If you want something you've never had you have to do something you've never done.
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.