We have all done things that we were not proud of. This is especially true for those of us who have used drugs and became entangled in the chains of active addiction. Some of our highs were really high, but they would never be high enough to make up for the lows we experienced. These lows differ from addict to addict. Many addicts have found themselves in jails, prisons, and/or mental institutions. Other addicts may have gotten into wrecks, shootouts, found themselves doing drugs they said they would never do, or in ways they said they never would. Still more addicts found that they had a problem when they had spent their money on drugs instead of paying for their responsibilities, were pawning their children off more than they should in order to get high, or their job or school performance was suffering because of their drug use. It is not important how low our lows took us, how we got there, or any other specifics. What matters is what we do today.
While I experimented with different things and ways of making myself feel good or different when I was younger, my first experience of actually diving into drug use was when I was 17. By this point in life, I had moved out of the family home, and I was living with a 19 year old. The 19 year old had become jealous and although he had been abusive before, but this time it ended with a broken phone, broken car keys, being barricaded and locked not only in the room, but in the apartment, when he left for work. That night I did not realize the drugs made me forget not only that day, but all the things that had happened to me before. I thought I was only having fun. The drugs made me feels good and helped me be more sociable, less uncomfortable, and less anxious.
While this fun was something I used as an explanation to why I used for a while, soon I was using them when I had issues in my life and did not want to deal with pain or problems that arouse in my life. Soon I was always using drugs. I went to work, came home and used, went to sleep, and started again. While I loved the new group of friends that I had (they had saved me from that abusive relationship), everything that I had loved before I used, disappeared. I no longer saw my family, went around old friends, or participated in hobbies I used to enjoy. I did not think about trading drugs for my life at this point. I did not even realize that I was using them to not deal with emotions, feelings, and pain. I only knew that when I was sad, I wanted to use, when I was angry, I wanted to use, when I was happy there was a reason to celebrate, and when I felt nothing, I wanted to use because that was boring.
In November of 2007 I found out that I was pregnant. This was the bottom for me. I remember being younger and all I wanted to do was be a mom someday, however, I was told after a bad kidney infection and PID that I would not be able to. My body also did not naturally produce the hormone to ovulate, and even having a cycle was rare for me. Finding out that I was pregnant shook me to my core. Everything I wanted but was told I could not have was possible, but I had nothing to give this baby. I did not plan for the impossible, but it was here, and I was not prepared at all. All I knew was that I wanted a better life for my baby than had been given to me, but I did not know how to do that.
Although I did not use for my pregnancy, I even quit smoking cigarettes, quitting was not as easy as I told myself it would be. After having my baby, I breast fed for three months, and during those three months I did not use. However, when breastfeeding became an issue and I had to switch to bottle feeding, I decided drinking a little one night would not be that bad. I was wrong. This slowly led me down the same path that I was down before, but now my baby was in the crossfire of my poor decisions. I justified my using by the issues I was dealing with. Drama with friends, issues with men, troubles with family, and using the excuse that I was young and deserved to have fun still. I often had people watch the baby so I could party. I told myself I was not that bad because I was not using around her, and she was not in the chaos and misery that I was because of my using. I never thought about the precious time that I was losing with her.
When my baby was three, there was a small amount of time that we were around my friends before I came back later to get messed up with them. While I did not do this often, I wanted to show my friends how big she had gotten and show her off because she was the most precious thing to me (or so I believed). One of them repeatedly told her to jump off of the top of a truck that was in their yard. This terrified me. This was when I realized that I did not need to bring her around them, and it upset me so that I did not think I needed to come around them anymore. I realized finally that something was wrong, that I could live this life, or I could be a mother, but I could not do both.
I stopped hanging out with those friends, even though I still love them dearly. I stopped using drugs, and I lost my mind. I was confused and lonely. What do people who do not use drugs do? How do they get over hard times? How do they just live? Are there even really people who do not use drugs? I remembered my aunt. My aunt did not use drugs, but she had before. She would know where I could find new friends who did not use. So, I called her and that is where my personal experience with recovery began.
In recovery I have found there is still highs and lows, but today not only are the highs real, but they last unlike chasing a high that will lead me to chasing another. The lows are more bearable and do not make me want to die, as long as I do not try to pick up something to numb that pain. I also have friends today. Friends that do not use and can help me through the pain and the joys of life. I also have hope and faith. I have hope that one day some of my old friends and family can find recovery too. I have hope that my daughter’s life will be a million times better than mine ever was because I no longer have to use today. I have faith that things will turn out just as they are supposed to, and faith that it will be better than anything I could have made happen if I were still using. Most of all I have a choice. I can choose to actually live. I can choose walking through the pain instead of destroying my whole life because of it. I choose recovery.