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[ Personal Narratives ]

raised between corn fields and drug deals

i grew up in a tiny gossip filled town between corn fields and drug deals. growing up the youngest girl with three older brothers life was never dull. between visits to the police station to pick up my brother for trading his moped for a car and wrecking the car to police showing up and hauling my brothers off- we had a very well known name in gossip town. as a child i can very clearly recall our struggles, from my parents eating our scraps at dinner to rocking hand me downs for years. we never went without but i now know my parents did just so we didnt have to. my parents were, and still are, two of the most amazing people i know and not just because they created me.

my parents have been married 25 years and they are still disgustingly in love. the butt pinches in the kitchen, to the random dancing in the grocery store, but mainly the way they have never given up on each other or their family no matter how hard its been. my parents met while working at a nursing home together, my mother was a nurse and my father was the maintenance manager- they hated each other. my dad claims that she loved him at first sight while my mom continues to say that she thought he was arrogant. eventually my mom agreed to a date with my dad after barging into his office and telling him to fuck off- if that doesnt scream true love i dont know what does.

as a child my parents were always there, we knew we could talk to them about anything and everything. we were a very close family, every friday was pizza and game night and every sunday we cleaned house together-we had routines. my parents were always very open with us about drugs, drinking, sex, you name it. my oldest brother was 8 years older than me so while i was playing with barbies he was playing with barbiturates. regardless of his interests and habits he always found a way to include me in his life, he would let me braid his hair while jamming out to marilyn manson and korn or help me paint my nails. we were very close until he cut off his house arrest anklet and took off to florida. by the age of ten i was used to the cops being frequents at our house and seeing him through glass, my brother was known for his lengthy background. sadly by the age of thirteen i was also quite used to death.

once my brother wandered down to florida his life changed. ten years later the details are still hazy, either way when he took off he took a part of me. my brother overdosed resulting in him losing his life, my brothers and i losing our sibling, and my parents burying their child at 23. thats when the shit storm really began. as a child i cannot recall my parents ever drinking. i know we had alcohol in the house, hell- we had a stocked bar in our basement! i cannot remember a single time of my parents stumbling around with drinks splashing out of glass cups or beer cans filling trash cans until the day we got the call.

i could not imagine losing my child, the pain and heartbreak that follows but i also cant imagine going into such a dark hole leaving a thirteen year old to fend for herself. dont think that my parents threw me to the wolves or that this is some woe is me-its definetly not- however i was forced to grow up quick. between my mother taking more than a month off work and spending it either locked in her room or blacked out drunk in the garage with my dad, alot was left on my shoulders. the house still needed cleaned, dinner still needed cooked-even though she would go weeks without eating, i still had homework and projects due. my world had came crashing down but the real world kept spinning.

from the loss of my oldest brother i got reunited with my middle brother. he had moved out at 15 to live with his real mom because him and our dad couldnt see eye to eye. once we got the news from florida he moved back home. he was in the middle of some legal troubles for drugs, he moved in and we helped him get back onto his feet. my youngest brother has always been very reserved. he coped with the death by working and staying in his room to avoid the drunk mess that became home. everyone put themselves in their own bubbles and we didnt bother each other, it was our own mutual agreement.

after the summer of 2005 that seems to be proof that i can apparently handle and overcome damn near anything it was my turn to let loose. i will never say that im an angel, ive been down the dark roads yet somehow managed to crawl my way back to safety. the next couple of years were nothing but bong rips and stash spots. in my eyes i was just a normal teenager doing what teenagers do. in school, i was in the ‘stoner’ clique. i started my morning by smoking a joint on my walk to school and enjoying my lunch that consisted of tea and vodka followed by a mint-so nobody knew of course. that was normal life until 2010 when yet another shit storm came around.

i was the average 18 year old senior attending high school in a town where if you didnt play football, you got high- needless to say im no peyton manning. i spent my nights,and most days, getting high and party crashing. one day i finally sobered up enough to realize i hadnt had a period in quite some time. my heart instantly sank at the sheer thought that i could be pregnant. i took a test, positive. i took three more tests, all positive. i was positive i was fucked. my boyfriend at the time wasnt the best or even a decent person for that matter. between the verbal abuse to the physical fighting i knew regardless of what was happening i couldnt stay with him. once i told my mother that i thought i was pregant, she took me to the doctor to confirm and told me i had a huge choice to make. we talked about options- adoption, abortion, keeping it, killing my ex, she would not push me in any direction but she stood by my side every tear filled moment.

at the ultrasound it was revealed there wasnt a heartbeat anymore, my decision was made for me. there was no way i would go through with birthing a dead child, i had to have a d&c done. the baby was still born at about 23 weeks, in order to have the procedure done i had to go to a clinic over an hour away, walk past protesters that had no clue what was going on, and watch my father hand over cash simply because we wanted it off the books. my parents have always been my support system but this experience alone proved so much. while my peers were all deciding what dress to wear to prom i was doubled over in the pain of my uterus contracting back to normal and trying to forget what happened. yet another thing causing me to grow up quicker than anticipated.

there are some things you simply cannot mentally prepare yourself for and 2010 proved that to me. i wasnt prepared to endure my first pregnancy that way, or the backlash afterwards. my ex would call me just to tell me that i was going to hell for killig a baby, he had his friends calling me a baby killer. he was never there during the appointments, he didnt care to know what was going on but he cared enough to bring me down a little bit further. later in 2010 i met a man i will always call my sunshine. we met at a shady minit mart, he needed some weed and by some fate i came through. he was with his girlfriend, and i was with my boyfriend at the time. i was instantly attracted to him, he had a smile that could melt an igloo and eyes that i still swear can read my soul, the tattoos covering his arms and throat screamed bad boy but those eyes told a whole different story.

sunshine just got out of prison, he was a tattoo artist- he slowly became my tattoo artist. i would go to his house for a small tattoo and spend hours there after he was done. we clicked instantly, we shared more with each other than our significant others even knew. we knew we had something but we both knew we had other people as well. as fate would have it both our relationships failed at nearly the same time, resulting in us getting together. he spent the holidays with my family and i spent the high nights with him. he was on dope and my depression spiraled me into the pill life. he had connections i could only dream of.

the dope, the pills, me , and sunshine were inseparable. where he went i went, where the drugs were we were. i was taking a steady flow of xanax with me in every pocket. two bars to wake up, one more to eat, two more to socialize, three more to sleep. my supplier, my bestfriend with benefits cut me off after a months worth of pills disappeared up my nose in two days. reality hit me like a semi truck, laying on my floor praying to find a pill, needing to find something to numb my thoughts and all i could think was how pathetic i must be to have a dope fiend cut me off. we drifted apart and he got back with his ex. over the years we always kept in contact, we knew there must be something about us and our connection since neither one of us were ready to let go.

in the time that sunshine and i slowly stopped hanging out my brother and him began. they had always got along so i thought nothing of it at first. the weight loss, the bouts of rage, and the intense moments of nodding out screamed a different story. they were hanging out because they were each others connections in the dope world. dogfood, h, dope, dirt, whatever you want to call herion i call it hell. my brother was a funny, outgoing, self proclaimed player that not so slowly turned into a theif, liar, and now an institutionalized felon.

after months of fighting with my brother to get clean he did, by the state of ohio. the police showed up to haul him away as he got his rig ready and shot up one last time. he had gotten charged with breaking and entering a couple houses, he shouldve got charged with breaking our hearts. watching my blonde bubbly brother turn into a criminal over something so dirty was never something i imagined looking up to him years before.

while my brothers world has now stopped everyone else still had jobs, and kids, and freedom to enjoy. shortly after my brother went to prison my mother got sick with gallstones. simple enough-remove the gallbladder, sadly nothing is simple in our life. her normal surgery turned into a not so normal virus that mimics congestive heart failure. the virus attacked her heart making it only work at about 12% of its ability. my mother didnt want to concern my brother with her health, or the friends he had that had overdosed since getting locked up.

now the next couple of years were pretty average in our world. ex boyfriends faking suicide on my voicemail, getting stalked, more police showing up, and of course avoiding the rest of the family knowing that my brother wasnt really working out of town became everyday life. finally in 2015 the days were only to double digits for my brothers release and now the anxiety set in. wheres he gonna go? hows he going to transition? how can i help?

after my brother robbed my parents they didnt want to help him so i knew it fell into my hands. i moved out of my house with my best friend in the country to be in a small trailer in the city just so he had a place to call home. i helped him find a car and a job so he didnt need to rely on others. now, the ball was in his court. however i wasnt aware that ball was at the bottom of a case of beer. the way i saw it beer was better than herion, and with him working two full time jobs i couldnt complain.

by this time in my life the only people i had were my parents, my brother, and my best friend. i couldnt handle the bullshit most people played and i knew i didnt need anyone, well i thought i didnt atleast. one evening i got a message from sunshine asking to come visit him at his tattoo shop, i decided why the hell not. sunshine has always held a special spot in my heart, over the years we always managed to get reconnected but it never lasted long. our lives crossed paths but never ran parallel. the next morning we had plans to get coffee before he went to work.

nine am hit and sunshine and i were sipping our coffee laughing at our old memories of getting drunk and going canoing to crying in my front yard because we were the only ones each other had. i knew i was fucked, the love was still there. weve always loved each other but we left life and poor decisions get the best of us. this time it was different, i wasnt going to be the one putting my heart on the line. i knew i wanted him in my life even if it was as just my best friend again.

as i sit here six months since our coffee date the kids are in bed, housework is done, and im waiting on sunshine to get home. we are both clean from drugs and alcohol and couldnt be happier. after years of having my life being consumed by addiction the feeling of addiction losing its grasp on myself and my loved ones is amazing. my brother has his own place, working more than full time, and spending his free days with his straight arrow girlfriend. he still enjoys a beer after work but he has come so far from his prison release exactly a year ago. 

addiction will forever be a part of my life however finally being able to go to sleep not worrying about which loved one will overdose or where my next pill is coming from is the most amazing feeling. everyone deserves to know what happiness is, and to me it is living a sober life after a crazy past. one day sober is a huge acomplishment and even slight in someone elses eyes it still deserves recognition- live for the future not the high.