It’s okay not to know the answers. Keep taking the next step, no matter how small, and before you know it, your life will be better than you could have ever imagined.
In my early 20’s, I was diagnosed with moderate to severe rheumatoid arthritis, and my doctor started me on pain medication. Before I knew it, my life was a train wreck. I hated the person I was. Growing up in church, I believed that addiction was a moral issue, and I loathed the fact that prayer wasn’t taking it away. I was a danger to myself and everyone around me. I began stealing from anyone I could get close to support my habit. I overdosed multiple times, and even after a week in the ICU on a ventilator, I still couldn’t come to terms with the fact I had a problem.
My spirit was gone; I was just a shell of a human trying to survive one day to the next.
I tried and failed at every attempt to get sober. I was alone, isolated and felt like all hope was gone. I couldn’t hold down a job, had no friends and tried as best I could to keep my addiction from everyone.
My marriage fell apart and ended in divorce. I lost custody of my kids, and my daughter (who was about six at the time) asked to live with my parents. I sucked the life out of everyone that loved me and kept them in constant fear that I would die or end up in jail. They couldn’t ever be at peace, because I would not allow that. My daughter witnessed paramedics trying to revive her lifeless mother on more than one occasion. She was so used to the chaos that it felt normal to her.
In May of 2014, I was arrested for driving under the influence of drugs and possession of a controlled substance. That same month I overdosed again. My parents were done. They would no longer continue to allow me to live in their home in the condition I was in. I made the decision to get treatment and completed my fifth and final rehab stay. After treatment, I followed up with sober living. I completed the program, got a sponsor, worked the steps and even went on to become the house manager of my sober home.
My life today is one of redemption and hope.
I know I can face whatever comes my way by doing the next right thing. I don’t live in fear or spend my days chasing the next high. I feel free to be myself, and no longer live in the shame I once did. I am surrounded by like-minded people who support me and my recovery.
I have a peace that I can’t explain. The relationships with my children and family have been restored, and I can finally look myself in the mirror and love the person I see. There are hard days, but my worst day sober is always better than my best day high. The most important thing I have accomplished is having my children and family back in my life. They trust me today, and that is a complete turnaround from the life I had five years ago.
Since I got sober, I have been fortunate to work in the substance abuse field, where I can help others find sobriety. It’s a miracle that I can now be an advocate for those who are struggling just like I was. Recently, I started Hope@First, a support group for those that have a loved one struggling with addiction, and I am working towards licensure as a drug and alcohol counselor. I plan to keep fighting and advocating for those suffering from addiction. You never know what kind of impact you might have on someone’s life.
Trust the process! Never give up and stick close to people who are sober, and NEVER, no matter how hard, forget that there is hope!