“When I was a little girl I never expected to be in rehab by 23 years old, or be calling myself a recovering alcoholic and drug addict – but here I am. Like many these days, I grew up in a pretty chaotic family. I was always so full of life as a young girl, and I loved performing! I would always dream of becoming an actor when I grew up.
Until I was 14 years old, I was in competitive dance, which meant I was doing about 14 hours a week. I had an agent for acting in Vancouver, even though I was living on Vancouver Island at the time. I was bringing home straight A’s and had an amazing group of girlfriends. I really enjoyed life and I was excited about living.
When I was 14 years old I started dating an older guy in my high school. That relationship turned very co-dependant and it was my first ‘real’ love. While I was in this relationship, I was exposed to more of the party life style and began smoking weed every day. I loved the thrill of dating an older ‘bad boy’ and I thought smoking weed every day and drinking was ‘cool.’ As I became more co-dependant with my boyfriend I started drifting away from my girlfriends. I would just hang out with him all day, every day. I ended up dropping out of dance and my grades started to slip.
Living in Nanoose Bay, Vancouver Island, meant living in a small community. That also meant once I stopped dancing (and no longer had my agent for acting), all there was to do was party and hangout with my boyfriend. Like most high school relationships, we ended up breaking up and that was the most traumatic event ever, for me, at the time. I had never had a broken heart before and I had invested everything into this guy. I lost myself in this relationship and had no idea who I was anymore. I felt very much alone. So, how did I cope with this? More drugs and more partying!
I have never been the type of person who was able to have one drink and stop. That concept was totally foreign to me. I mean, if I could only have one drink, what would be the point of drinking at all? I drank to get blacked out, wasted and get out of my own skin. I couldn’t stand spending time alone with myself, I was so uncomfortable in my own body.
My high school days consisted of smoking weed every day. It got to the point where I would puke in the morning if I didn’t have a bong hit. I would then drink and be blacked-out wasted every single weekend. I would never remember how I got to bed. Immediately after my first relationship ended, I started dating another guy. I needed something else to fill the void inside of me, I just needed someone to love me because I wasn’t able to love myself.
I always prided myself on being the ‘party girl.’ I thought I was so cool! I was the youngest of the family and both of my siblings are in addiction as well, so I tended to get away with a lot growing up. I do want to make it clear that my parents are awesome people, and neither of them are alcoholics or drug addicts. I honestly don’t know how all three of us ended up getting so involved with addiction, but I do think part of it comes from growing up in a small community. There wasn’t anything else to do for fun, other than drink, drugs and party. Or it seemed that way. The three of us also went through some hardships and we all made the choice to go down the dark path. Even though my biological parents aren’t addicts, there is a lot of addiction that runs in my family’s history.
By 17, I was pregnant and was too high on drugs to even notice for 2 months. I am hesitant to write about this as I feel the most shame around this situation. I feel I need to be honest about it because addiction is dark, and it is a self-centered disease. I don’t feel right hiding certain parts about it because I want people to know they aren’t alone. To this day, this is the thing I carry most with me. I chose not to have the baby because I was so drunk and high, I didn’t know how much damage I may have already caused. Just writing this makes me feel sick, it is something I am continuing to work through. I buried my feelings with even more partying to cope.
When I graduated high school, things just got worse. I did go to University but dropped out after the first semester. I was prescribed ADD medication in University, so what would a natural addict do with this? Use it for all the wrong reasons. I would just take it regularly to get even more of a high! By 19, I was taking prescription drugs on the regular, drinking almost every day and continuing to smoke weed. When I was in high school I had tried MDMA a few times and did shrooms a couple times, but had never done cocaine.
At 19, cocaine became my new favorite thing. It seemed to be a cure for blacking out, so I loved it! It allowed me to party even longer and be able to remember a little bit more of my nights. There were several times I had woken up with a guy next to me and I had no idea if I had slept with him or not. To this day I wouldn’t be able to tell you what happened some of the nights I was out partying. And I sill thought this was the norm.
My parents would question me, but like most addicts I was very manipulative. I could talk my way out of almost everything. I bounced from one boyfriend to the next never giving myself time to heal. I had only four major boyfriends in my life, and I was a disaster when I was dating each of them.
I’m not lying when I say I couldn’t be alone. I hated who I was inside. Everyone would always think I was so happy and that was a mask I wore. But I was dying on the inside, I had no idea who I was. That’s not to say there wasn’t good parts of my life, I loved all the people I hung out with and I think every one of them are amazing. Most of the people I surrounded myself with weren’t as bad as me when it came to partying. Some were, but for the most part, I was the one who always blackout drunk.
I ended up working for my Mom when I was around 20 years old. I started to ‘manage’ my drinking a little bit more. Most weeks I wouldn’t touch alcohol from Monday to Thursday, because I knew I couldn’t have one drink. I knew I wasn’t able to control it otherwise. Since I have was 15 years old the longest I have ever made it, without using a substance, was four days. On the days I wasn’t drinking I would just be thinking about drinking, and I couldn’t wait to get to Thursday so I would be able to get blacked-out wasted and do some cocaine. It’s what I lived for.
When I turned 22, my boyfriend (at the time) and I purchased our first house. From the outside looking in, it looked like I had my life together. I drove a nice car, I had a good job at my Mom’s medical clinic, I owned my own house. It looked like I was living the dream. On the inside though, I was broken and lost. Maybe I was living someone else’s dream, but I sure wasn’t living mine. I kept wanting other people to make me happy, I put a lot of pressure on my ex to make me feel good about myself. Little did I know at the time, the only person who could make me feel good about myself was me.
The night that changed everything for me was October 15, 2016. As usual, we were going out to get blacked-out wasted and party. I ended up running into a girl who I went to high school with at the club and brought her back to my place. My ex fell asleep, and she and I were in the basement doing lines of cocaine. At some point I came up with the idea to fly to New York City. I have never been there before, but always wanted to go. It seemed like a great idea at the time. So, she and I got a cab, went to Nanaimo airport, and flew to Calgary where we were able to purchase a one-way ticket to New York City.
I woke up in a different country after a night of drinking. I don’t remember much of all the events that took place, and I have no idea how we were even allowed on the plane to New York. We had no luggage, I was wearing my clothes from the night before. All I had was my passport and my credit card. I woke up in a tattoo parlor in Times Square. We were there not even 24 hours, and I had spent $6,000 dollars. As soon as I got home, I was checked into rehab.
I tried to fight my Mom on it, but she held my job over my head at the time, and today I am beyond grateful. Having to change was the scariest thing I could have ever done. I had no idea who I was, there were several times when I wanted to leave treatment, but there was a voice inside me that knew I was meant to live a different life. So, I toughed it out, as hard and as uncomfortable as it was. I stayed there for the 8-week duration and to this day, I continue to work on myself, and discover who I am more and more. To be honest, I am loving the person I am discovering and becoming.
I am now over two years sober. I live in Vancouver, recently graduating acting school, and I am signed with one of Vancouver’s top agencies. This journey has not been easy, but I can say that every day I get up I am so excited to live. I am finally pursuing my dreams and I feel like I have so much purpose.
I am so grateful I am a recovering alcoholic and drug addict because now I am finally learning to live by discovering and trusting my true strengths. I think sometimes the parts of ourselves that we carry the most shame around, can actually be channeled toward becoming our greatest strengths, if we have the courage to face them.”
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Kyra Scott of Vancouver BC, Canada. You can follow her recovery journey on Instagram, YouTube and her website. Do you have a similar experience? We’d like to hear your important journey. Submit your own story here, and subscribe to our best stories in our free newsletter here.
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