“Two years ago I was very different than the person who stands here today. I was angry, I was sad, I was lost, but most of all, I was addicted. I started experimenting with drugs at the age of 13 — smoking pot and drinking mostly, until someone gave me a Percocet. I still remember the warmness that came over my body as the surge of dopamine flooded my brain… I was in love. For years I was a casual user but by the time I was 26, full blown addiction had taken its hold. My drug of choice was opiates; any kind of pill I could get. Drug addict by day, mom/wife by night. I have 2 sons who are 2 years apart in age (both of them eventually watched me kick addiction’s ass!) so I did a very good job hiding my abuse at first, but as the disease progresses, it gets harder to hide.
My behavior began to show something was not right anymore. My husband became suspicious and I fell deeper and deeper into addiction. I would hide my pills in my bra or under the bathroom sink with all my gear (card, straw, etc.) I must have been too careless by constantly going in the bathroom because finally one night after my husband ripped apart the bathroom, he found my stash. He confronted me and at that very moment it hit me, I WAS addicted. I cried and promised I would get help and quit. Both of which I did. I even started back to school to get my diploma and a certification in healthcare. I maintained sobriety for 4 months before I gave in and started the cycle again. Except this time was like an out of body experience where I was able to watch my life fall apart from the outside. I had tasted what life could potentially be like sober for 4 whole months, so when I fell back in, it was almost surreal.
One morning as I did a line off the bathroom counter getting ready for school, I took a long hard look at myself. I was beginning to have blemishes, my nose was getting red, my eyes were starting to turn dark again. I literally screamed out, ‘F*ck this!’ I decided in that moment, I DID NOT WANT this sh*tty existence any longer! I knew if I quit I was going to be sick mentally and physically so I planned to sober up on my last day of class before summer break. June 27, 2016, at 6 p.m. was the last time I put a drug into my body. My husband had no idea I had relapsed after going through what he thought was my 6 months of sobriety. I was 3 days into withdrawal and pretending I just had the flu before I told my husband the truth about why I was sick. I had contemplated not even telling him that I had relapsed. I was just going to pretend like 3 months of active use didn’t happen. And then it hit me, a saying often used in rehabs and Cocaine Anonymous meetings. ‘Secrets keep you sick,’ and I was done with being sick!
I picked him up from work and everything spilled out of me. He had his suspicions. This time I wasn’t messing around. My kids needed a sober mom and I needed to live, so I started going to Cocaine Anonymous meetings daily. I listened to the speakers each night praying one day I too could find the newfound love for life they had found. In the rooms they use the word ‘God’ A LOT, and to me that was really hard to wrap my head around because being raised Catholic meant my vision of God was a man sitting on a throne choosing who was worthy of his love. I struggled and I struggled until one day it hit me that God was what I believed it was. God was a universal life force and not some judgey dude picking and choosing who was worthy or not. When I was able to accept that something bigger than me was out there, I was finally able to start my healing journey.
I spent the summer going to meetings every night and found myself a sponsor who helped me dig deep into myself and forgive not only others, but myself. I made amends with everything in my life to this point and for the first time I felt inner peace. I switched up my game from victim to warrior. I began to meditate and do mindful breathing practices (which is difficult at first but the more you try it the easier it gets), I wrote gratitude lists (and still do) starting with one or two things I was grateful for that day, which snowballed into thousands of things I could say today that I’m grateful for! I changed my diet from junk and processed food to more whole foods which in turn made me feel better physically and mentally. I even quit smoking cigarettes!
I wish I could say it was a struggle for me to stay sober, but it wasn’t. I was finally done ruining my body, my life and my family. Don’t get me wrong, every day is not easy, but I make a conscious choice to wake up and take the day for what it is. I meditate as often as possible whether that means a guided meditation or soaking in a nice salt bath, or five minutes of deep breathing in my bedroom. I have learned how to let go, how to be compassionate, how to be understanding and most of all, that service to others is what fills the empty void I had.
I graduated high school (I did the work to obtain my actual diploma and not just my GED) with honors, as well as my health care program with a 93% average. I’ve started my career and am beginning to branch out and find out what I really love. I am no longer afraid to take risks and I am no longer afraid to be me. The mask I wore for 30 years has finally fallen off and I love that my kids got to witness their mom fall so hard, but have the courage to stand up and fight. I got to teach them that you can overcome anything, all it takes is courage. But most of all, now I have this amazing experience to share with the world in hopes of making even one person realize how much potential we all hold within.”
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