‘I wasn’t a drug addict. I just took pills. That’s not being a drug addict. Boy was I wrong.’

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“My story isn’t a pretty one. It’s not a fairytale, the one you dreamed about growing up, the one you hoped for all your life. My life is a disaster really. It wasn’t always, but that was happier times. I am 44 years old and have spent the last 20 years using some kind of drug, whether it be pills, ice, meth, weed or heroin. I was a mother, a daughter, a friend, a hard worker, someone you could trust and depend on — then all that changed in one short year.

I was at work and started cramping really badly. I went to the ER and after hours and hours of tests, they still didn’t know what was wrong so they gave me Lortab. Let me tell you, in all of my 23 years I had never, ever abused drugs, took drugs, or ever been so dependent on a drug. After months of more tests, they kept me still on the Lortabs and now added some Tylox. It was determined I needed a complete hysterectomy. About a month later, I have the surgery so now it’s been 8 or 9 months of living every day taking at least 4 pills to survive the day. They give me the surgery and 6 weeks later they give me no more pain pills. Bam. Done No more. What am I supposed to do? I’m sick, I’m ill, I have two small children to care for. I have to work. So I began to buy them off the streets.

Missy Fowler

Street value at that time is $5 a piece, $4 if you’re lucky. I’m spending at least $30 to $40 dollars a day to maintain my high with no sickness so I can work and function and take care of my kids. And believe you me, I worked at a good job waiting tables, made a killing in the money department and we never did without, ever. But we could have had so much more, I see now in hindsight. I thought I was a great mother, but I wasn’t. I see that now. I thought I never put my kids in danger, ever, but looking back, my kids have been some places I should have never taken them. I’m lucky the cops never came in the houses we were in. But to me, I wasn’t a drug addict. I just took pills. That’s not being a drug addict. Boy was I wrong.

I spent at least $400 dollars a week at one point on pills, and then it got to where if I couldn’t find the pills I would get ice or cocaine. I had to keep going. I had to be this Supermom. But the whole time I was just tearing our family apart. I was married in the midst of all this to a good man who loved my kids, stood by me through my pill habit, my money spending and the other drug usage. But when you are living the life I was living, chasing pills every day, all night long, your husband gets tired of it after a while. At the time I thought, ‘Oh well, now I can do what I want, take what I want, when I want.’ So here’s me and the kids alone again, but I got my drugs — that’s all I need.

I met another great man, a man I loved more than I have ever loved a man in my whole life. My soulmate, my Superman, my life. Things started to look better, different, happier. I didn’t need the pills as much but we also drank 3 or 4 times a week at a local bar. Did a little cocaine, but still in our eyes we weren’t drug addicts, just social drinkers and used social drugs. But my addiction to the pills drove me to harder drugs he knew nothing about. Lies started hiding my actions, and my soulmate was drifting further away from me. I could see it, but the drugs had such a control on me I couldn’t stop and didn’t want to stop. This was the best. But better than all the pills? Meth. And meth doesn’t care who you are. She’s out there and easier to find, and the high is longer so I thought, ‘That’s perfect for me.’ I also began using suboxone. In everyone’s eyes I thought they saw me as doing great, clean from the pills.

Missy Fowler

I was saving money, I was happy. But that’s just what I wanted them to see. Not the woman in the bathroom hitting a pipe staying up days with no sleep. Well it all came to a halt when the cop hit the blue lights one evening and pulled me over. I knew I had drugs on me but I wasn’t even scared. Not me, I’m not a drug addict. He asked to search the car. I was insulted. I said, ‘Yes go ahead,’ and within 10 minutes I was handcuffed and put in the police car. Now everyone knew I was on drugs. My kids, my family, my friends, my job, which I lost that night.

They did finally let me come back to work, but it was never the same.  You could see the distrust in their eyes, the stares, no one trusted me anymore, not even my own kids or family. But do you think that stopped me? No it didn’t. I just learned to hide it better. I did eventually lose the job I had for 18 years, but again, I didn’t care. It was just another excuse to continue my drug abuse. But the whole time I hid it from my boyfriend, that wonderful man I had looked for my entire life. Until he called me one night and said, ‘Did you go to jail a year ago for drugs?’ I lost everything that night when I told him, ‘Yes, I did.’ That was it. He had never spoke to me again. That was almost 3 years ago. He was done. Finished with me. And still I continue on with the drugs harder than before with no regard to anyone.

Missy Fowler

I am not able to keep my own granddaughter because they don’t trust me. I have lost it all in the last 20 years. To look into your children’s eyes and see the disgust some days is more than I can take. But I know that I do this to myself. I am an addict. I can admit that now. This life is not what I thought it would be not at all. I don’t have insurance anymore so the suboxone is now $20 dollars a pop. If I would have known 20 years ago this is the life I would have been living, I sure would have changed it a lot.

Missy Fowler

Today, on this day, I am clean. But it’s a day to day struggle to be that way. Some days I don’t even want to get up but I have too. My kids are grown now and I have grandkids. They are a joy in my life — the only joy. I want to live to see them grown and maybe have their own kids. But if I don’t stop this drug abuse I won’t. I didn’t write this story for anyone to feel sorry for me or to bash me. I wrote this because I know that there is a lot of women and men living the same life. I want beat this and hopefully I will. Just know that you are not alone. There’s a lot of us out here living a double life. Thank you for reading this.”

Missy Fowler

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Missy Fowler of South Carolina. Submit your own story here, and subscribe to our best stories in our free newsletter here.

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