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Choose Life

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I started using alcohol and smoking pot when I was 13 years old. It was a social thing to do with friends and an outlet from the boring arena of a small town upbringing. There wasn't really much else for kids to do. I never thought it was a problem because all of my friends were doing it. When I was 16, my father died of liver cancer. I remember not being present to him when he was in the hospital because I was afraid of him dying and so I would go out partying with my friends instead. When he died, I continued to drink, smoking pot & hashish and experimenting with cocaine and "speed pills." I had been on the gymnastics team in high school, but quit because my drinking was making me lazy and I didn't care anymore. This pattern of drinking and partying continued for several years. I never was one who could drink just to feel good, I had to drink to get totally wasted. I liked to mix speed (pills) and alcohol because i could drink more and feel like I was more alert. I got married and moved to Texas. All our friends were partiers. Every weekend we would get wasted. My husband and I lived with druggies who were into quaaludes and smoking pot. I never liked the downers, so I didn't get into those, but did experiment with cocaine on occassion. I tried once to quit cold turkey and took a 2nd job as a way to avoid partying with my husband and friends. The job was in a bar, and I was serving cocktails. I didn't drink, but was still constantly around it. Evenually, my husband and I split for 6 months, and I started to practice anorexia. At the suggestion of my mom, who thought my problem was being away from my husband, we got back together. While we were seperated he started using methamphetamine. Of course once we were back together, old patterns began to surface and soon I was binge drinking every weekend. Then I started doing meth. It started out just once a weekend, then every Friday and Saturday with Sunday recovery day. I felt great when I was on it, but off it was horrible. I was out of control with my emotions, I was not eating right and started losing weight. I was crazed by my addiction to speed. When I was on it, I felt in control and powerful. I couldn't wait until Thursday came around where we would drive out to the dealer's home to buy more. We started writing hot checks to cover money we took out of our account to buy drugs. The 2 night a week habit started to increase to 3, then 4 days per week. I lost more and more weight and became paranoid. I thought people hated me and would not open the drapes on the windows or stand in front of them because i thought someone was going to shoot me through the windows. I had DT's when my husband was at work once and thought I was going to die. I was surrounded by drug addicts and no one said anything about it. My husband and I would fight over who got the bigger line of speed. He hit me and threw me to the ground.

Finally, my employer (yes, I was still working at this point,) did an intervention on me. He told me if I didn't get help he would have to fire me. I was afraid to be found out, but also relieved because they had found a treatment center for me to look into and actually took me over there that same day. I can't tell you how much that one act of kindness did for me. I am forever grateful to my former boss and coworker who had the courage to confront me. At the time, I weighed 85 lbs. (I'm 5'7".) The treatment center was for eating disorders, but I told them that I had been using meth and had an addiction to alcohol as well. I spent the first week in the cardiac ward in the hospital hooked up to a heart monitor and IV's in my arms. I had to make the decision to choose life. It was a hard, challenging road. I don't know why I lived, but am so grateful to have a second chance! I stayed in that center for 6 weeks, then went to a chemical dependency treatment center for a month and then a half-way house for another 3 months. Once I got into recovery I went to 12-step meetings. I didn't hang out with people who drank or did drugs. I was so happy to be alive and to have a second chance at life, nothing was going to take that away from me. I divorced my husband, because he was still using. Evenually he got into treatment himself.

Years of therapy and meetings have brought me through some tough times, but I never used. I have been sober and clean for 25 years! Today my life is so blessed. Not every day is easy, but now I have the tools and courage to face life on life's terms. I went back to school and got a Bachelor's degree, I became a yoga teacher and personal trainer and live a healthy lifestyle. I got remarried to a wonderful man who doesn't drink and treats me with love and respect. I hope that this inspires someone who may be like I was 25 years ago, searching for hope. Don't give up on yourself! Life is truly worth living!


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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Comments

1. Carmen Romero
your story is very inspiring I too am in recovery and have been clean for 3 1/2 years, I know the road to recovery is a long and hard journey but I take it one day at a time and I too have learned skills and have tools to help me cope when I get the urges to use again, I have also gone back to school to get my Associates Degree and have changed my lifestyle completely. Today I have sober friends and I have different hobbies and I take baby steps all the time because I never know what tomorrow may bring but just for today I will strive with all my might to stay clean and sober and that is how I have done it for 3 1/2 years not to mention that I went to a program where I learned about my addiction and the tools and skills that I needed to fight my addiction, those programs really work if you are willing and ready to change. I am most grateful for them.