‘After rehab, I manipulated my mom into dropping me off at a bar. ‘I’m not an alcoholic.’ I got drunk and high that night.’: Woman overcomes heroin and alcohol addiction, ‘God put me on this earth to make an impact’

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“Growing up, I was always the loud and outgoing one. I was popular and a cheerleader, but no matter how liked I was, there was always this missing feeling inside of me. I started partying hard in high school and got into cocaine. My mom, not knowing really what to do, moved us from podunkville Marble Falls, Texas to the big city of Dallas.

I had grown up in this tiny town and now I was at this high school triple the size and full of the richest kids in the city. To say I stood out was an understatement. It wasn’t too long after living there I discovered the rave scene and my partying went to a whole new level. I managed to never get in trouble and to still make pretty decent grades in school.

Courtesy of Gretchen Courting

Fast forward a few years, I moved back to Austin. I was about 19 or 20 and I was dating this guy. We had been dating off and on for a few years and just got back together. When we got back together, he was doing heroin, something I vowed I would never do because I was so obsessed with Kurt Cobain. But I did it. That missing feeling I had inside of me for so long was gone. It felt warm and like I was being hugged. It felt like I had arrived. That was the day I learned the true meaning of addiction.

I knew nothing about heroin. I had no clue you would get withdrawals. I kept doing it and one day while I was at work, I started to get cold and sweaty. I had no clue what was going on. When I got back home, a friend informed me I was dope sick. That started years of using, trying not to get sick. About one year in, my mom finally found out. She was very naive when it came to drugs, so as any mom would do, she sent me to rehab. About 2 weeks in, I manipulated her into picking me up and dropping me off at a bar. In my mind, I was a heroin addict, not an alcoholic. I got drunk and high that night. That was my pattern. I went to a few more rehabs and the same, get drunk, then high.

Courtesy of Gretchen Courting

I would share needles with whoever, just so I wouldn’t get sick and in 2006, that caught up to me. In 2006, I decided to get clean and went to a methadone clinic. They did my blood work there and found out I had contracted Hepatitis C. I went to the clinic, started going to AA, and got clean. I stayed clean for almost a year!

It was amazing but then I got restless and those ‘you’re not an alcoholic’ thoughts started coming back. I convinced myself it was okay to drink. I got drunk and high that night. I got kicked out of the place I was living and like any true addict, I did the geographical change and moved to New Orleans. It was the worst place in the world for me. I drank and drank and drank, then I finally found someone who could get me heroin and I was high. I lasted 6 months. Geographical change number two was back to Dallas. I lasted a few years there and moved back to Austin.

I stayed high in Austin maybe 6 months before it started to really wear on me. At this point, one of my best friends, who I used with, had been sober for 18 months. If she could do it, so could I. I went back to AA with her and on July 4, 2012, I got sober. My independence day! She took me to meeting after meeting and hung out with me all the time. I got a sponsor, who happened to be her sponsor. If this lady could get her sober, then she could get me, was my thought. She kept me sober those first few months. Honestly, if it wasn’t for her at first, I don’t know if I would have made it.

Courtesy of Gretchen Courting

In AA, we are taught to find a higher power and although I was so mad at God for making me a junkie, I listened. I worked the steps and sponsored other women. Life was so good. Right when I got sober, I got accepted into a research study and got my Hep C cured! I started working at a treatment center and really trying to help others. My best friend and I started running together when I got sober. Exercise became my free therapy, it was awesome.

About 2 and a half years sober, I went on a date with a stranger from OkCupid. The minute I met him, I knew I was going to marry him. 5 months later, we were engaged and 6 months later, married. He is my best friend and has never once judged me or made me feel weird about my past. He was also the first guy I ever dated that was not sober. He is what we like to call a ‘normie.’

Courtesy of Gretchen Courting

We moved to Reno, and at this point, I was ready to take my spirituality to the next level and I told him I wanted to go to church. We found a church and I slowly stopped attending AA. At first, I was scared. It had been ingrained in my head, you stop going to meetings, you relapse. But I kept going to church and it felt right. A few months later, I got pregnant with our first child and when I was 7 months pregnant, my husband and I got baptized at our church.

Courtesy of Gretchen Courting

I know going to AA all the time is important for some but that is not my story. I was ashamed I quit going for so long and felt my recovery was less because I didn’t go. It took me a few years to get over that narrative. In April of 2017, our daughter was born and my whole life changed. I was born to be a mother. I was and am still so obsessed with her. In 2018, I got pregnant with our second child and in February of 2019, my son was born and my heart grew 100 times.

God has been so good in my life. It’s easy for me to see now, God didn’t make me a junkie. God gave me a voice to help and share my story with others. God put me on this earth to make an impact in other people’s lives. Fitness has always remained throughout my sobriety. I like to say running and a whole lot of Jesus has kept me sober.

Courtesy of Gretchen Courting

I recently started training for a half marathon and it’s been so amazing to see what my body can do. A body that could barely walk to the car to score more dope is running 13 miles. From heroin to a half marathon–pretty dang cool. I have over 7 and a half years of sobriety and haven’t been to an AA meeting in over 4 years. Everyone has their own path to recovery and this has been mine. I am so grateful for my past, and I’m so grateful for platforms like these to share my experience strength and hope.”

Courtesy of Gretchen Courting
Courtesy of Gretchen Courting
Courtesy of Gretchen Courting

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Gretchen Courting of Reno, Nevada. You can follow her journey on Instagram. Submit your own story here and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.

Read more inspiring stories about overcoming addiction:

‘I began violently shaking. Through my locked jaw, I muttered, ‘I’m addicted to heroin.’ My family had no idea.’: Woman overcomes addiction, ‘I am so thankful for this new life’

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