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[ Personal Narratives ]

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I never thought I’d write a blog or a strong story like this—one that is real, alive, mine—online, for the world to see. But having read some of these inspiring stories I now feel compelled to do the same.

This is the voice of a very new recovering addict. Its been almost a month since I’ve touched heroin. I have put myself through 25+ DTs and WDs here at home with my disabled son. Imagine that. Being on mom autopilot, while running to and from the bathroom all day just to expel anything that may be in my body. I’m close to 90 lbs (just guessing because I haven’t weighed myself in over a year) and am finally starting to eat almost regularly again.

My story probably isn’t a whole lot different from other addicts. All about numbing the pain of life, body, mind. I started simply enough, with vodka shots chased with Kool-Aid at 11 years old, then pot at 13. It escalated to recreational using of pretty much anything except crack and heroin and meth. Before I was 20, I got into crack with the help of the father of my firstborn son, who is now 11. Our addiction claimed his life. He was 18 when he committed suicide. A side effect of us being depressed, addicted, and having to have family take custody of our newborn boy or he’d be in the system.

I cleaned up my act (as I like to tell myself) by quitting cold turkey after he passed away, only drinking socially and smoking pot daily. I have had chronic pain issues due to a stomach condition since I was 16 years old, so to me, self medicating is all I know, especially as doctors have cut down on medications that are addicting.

Of all the drugs I said I’d never do, heroin was number one on that list. My father contracted AIDS through a dirty needle and passed away when I was six. Good reason to never do that,right? Joke was on me, wasn’t it—because the day the father of my second boy came home with some china white instead of roxies because our pill guy was out, I was all for it. I had been in excruciating pain for days from my condition, plus withdrawal from the pills. I snorted my first line, and it felt as if maple syrup spread all throughout my body, drenched over my head and all over. My pain went away instantly.

Almost three years later, I have probably done just about anything short of robbing someone at gunpoint just to get my fix. I have pieces of my life from the last two years missing from my memory completely. I had actually quit everything when I became pregnant with my now three-year-old disabled son. I breastfed him and was 100% devoted to being a stay-at-home-mama. But when the pain started again, and there were no pills, I started doing heroin again. Because of my father’s way of dying I was terrified of needles my whole life, so it seemed safer to snort it. That didn’t last long. Pretty soon, I was shooting up. I’d blown my arms out one day and started hitting a mainline in my thigh that I still have a dark bruise-like mark under my skin from when I missed. I even had someone hit my neck a few times, because there wasn’t anywhere else to go.

I am not in any way trying to romanticize this. Please don’t get me wrong. I’m telling my story because people need to know that this is really an epidemic.

I have weaned myself with Xanax and pain pills whenever available, but this is not true recovery. I often wonder if that life will always elude me.

As I stated at the beginning of this, I’ve been off of it for almost a month. The first thing anyone should know about this disease is that you will never stop. Not unless you want it! You can lose everyone you care about, all your valuable possessions. You won’t care. You get used to being alone and stuck inside yourself. Well, don’t. The only way out is through. You have to feel it all. All the hurt you’ve been trying to hide from, all the horrible, hurtful things you’ve said and done to ruin every relationship in your life. You have to go through every emotion, sober. Otherwise, you will do as I did and try to quit over 20 times.

This time, I actually have hope. I’ve deleted and blocked anyone in my phone who can lead me there again. I stay playing with my little boy, who got a messed up hand to start off—which had nothing to do with my drug use. How’s that for irony?

I guess to end this, I’ll say be strong and fight. If you have to go through your day minute by minute, then that’s what you do. I did one better: I put a before and after picture set of my daddy right on my entertainment center. To see the picture of him holding me, an infant, smiling and healthy, next to the picture of him two years before his passing—all skinny,looking like Skeletor—that’s enough for each day for me to say “no.”

I don’t want my boys to see me like that. I don’t want anyone to see me like this. I have become a recluse until I feel strong enough to re-enter the world. But I’m raw. This won’t be easy—I know, because it never is. But I’m lucky enough to have some people in my life that have stayed by my side and supported my slow recovery. I wish everyone else the same. If you are struggling with any addiction, you are not alone. You can’t do it alone either, but you are the only one responsible for your recovery. You must want it,and work for it every day. Prayers to you all. You are not alone.