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[ Personal Narratives ]

The Year I Saw The Other Side

I have such mixed emotions about how to start this real-life, broken, sad story. I guess the best way is to state the hardest life changing event for me. In August of 2008, I lost my father, who was my best friend. The same day, I found out that I was pregnant. Since then nothing has been the same. Shortly after my 16th birthday, I gave birth to my first daughter, Jazmyne. She was perfect. She changed my life for the better in so many ways. She made me want to be a responsible parent and do everything on my own so that she knew what a strong women was. I gave up my teenage party years (thank God) to do the right thing and be a good mom. She was six weeks old when I left her with my mom to run to the store with a friend of mine and I’m so thankful I did leave her that night. On our way home from the store, my friend did not yield to a left arrow and we were hit in her Honda Civic by a Yukon Denali on my side.

We both seemed to be okay—scared and stunned, but not seriously injured. My friend quickly started scurrying around her car to hide empty beer cans and that’s when I realized she had been drinking that night. I was anxious to get home to my baby and put off the hospital because I thought I was alright. But after the wreck, I had pain that kept getting worse and after a doctor visit I was told I had whiplash and herniated some discs in my back. That was the first time I took a painkiller—and entered a nightmare that didn’t stop for 14 years

I always made excuses for why I ran out and had to go spend hundreds and hundreds of dollars every month. Two more pregnancies had put even more of a strain on my back, but I sucked it up and just popped more pills. My then-husband wasn’t very encouraging for me to stop, but I don’t think he even knew the extent of it. The last few years, I was only taking them so I wouldn’t go through withdrawal. I was always angry and aggressive and my moods would be all over the place. I feel horrible for my family. I was already an emotional mess from not grieving for my dad’s death. After all, the day he passed away was the day I found out I was pregnant with my son. I did everything to keep calm and my baby healthy. After years of dealing with depression, I was so unhappy with myself and my physical appearance I decided to go to a weight loss clinic. They gave me phentermine, which made me completely wired. I loved the upper feeling that I decided to kick the pain pills and only take those. Withdrawals were hard but the legal dope the clinic was giving me helped. From there, I decided to leave my husband because he was always so angry and for the first time in a long time I felt good. I moved in with a roommate who introduced me to cocaine, plus I was taking those amphetamines which was all new to me and life spun out of control. We both blew off everything and pissed away all of our money. Then, I was in another car wreck that left my back really screwed up, so I just used even more.

My kids couldn’t understand what was happening. There was so much change for them, I don’t know how they held it together. I tear up now just thinking of how selfish I was. I had all these things that kept popping up in my life that I know now was God trying to show me the right way and get me back on track. I took it all in but didn’t follow them like I should have.

During this time I had to move several times, still dealing with a back injury but the drugs helped numb me. I pushed everyone away and when I finally decided to stop and get my life back, it was too late. I had made so many selfish, bad choices that I had a hard time forgiving myself. People that haven’t dealt with addiction before don’t understand it and instantly label you so I decided I didn’t want or need those kind of people in my life. I’m now doing my part by not only keeping myself clean but doing my best to help others also. Just from living the lifestyle I did, it made me not afraid when I see a homeless kid strung out. Now I go up to that kid and offer help. Although I’ve never touched heroin, my best friend and boyfriend have both had a problem with it and I’ve seen what a problem it is in my area. Drugs are a problem everywhere these days, and I want to do my part by not only helping others get clean but raising my children to know the truth and teach them right from wrong.

My children never gave up on me during the hardest time of my life and I will always do everything that I can for them and to give them the best life I possibly can. They are my heart and sole and I thank God everyday for my babies. Because of my addiction, I am now doing as much research as possible and trying to open a holistic health rehab in my area. It’s a part of my healing: to help others heal and find their peace. I’m going to college and working on fixing all of my screw ups so I can have an amazing future.

It’s not easy being a single mom of three and needing back surgery, but I know I can make it and I know I will make a difference. I hope to find others as passionate as I am who can help with this project. I have currently helped four heroin addicts kick their addiction and will keep going. This is my purpose that God has chosen for me. I’m thankful every day to be alive even during the hard times. I know that it will all work out as planned.