I grew up in New York before moving to North Carolina when I was in my early teens. Not too long after moving here, I had my first experience with drugs and alcohol. I was probably about 14 or 15 years old at the time. It wasn’t really something that I had the desire to keep doing, but with the crowd that I hung out with, it became our lifestyle.
When I turned 17 or 18, I began working in bars and clubs, where drinking and doing drugs just kind of came with the job. For the next few years, I drank heavily and did drugs. When I was 21, I was introduced to meth for the first time. The experience was awful, and I said that I would never do it again. Five years later, I was at a party when a guy came up to me with some meth. So I tried it again, and it was a completely different experience.
Everything changed. When I started using, I stopped drinking completely and just depended on the meth. I began to isolate myself from my family. My family tried to get me some help early on, but I didn’t want that at the time, so they just stepped back and let life happen for me. At the time, I was in a good relationship with a man who treated me very well. But once I started using meth, I pulled away until we were no longer together. I found myself getting into a relationship with someone that was the complete opposite. It was an abusive, horrible relationship, but I was okay with it. I had completely changed.
A few years later, I found out that I was pregnant with my daughter. I thought having a child was going to change everything, and I would be able to walk away from that selfish lifestyle, but that wasn’t the case. After my daughter was born, I was right back at it. I kept getting in trouble over and over again. Every time I would go to jail, I would tell myself that I wouldn’t do it again, but it kept happening.
One time, I had gotten out of jail after being locked up for 45 days. My mom was watching my daughter, who was a year old at this point, and kept her awake so she could see me when I came home. I had been in jail for so long that by the time I got home, she barely even knew who I was. I was heartbroken.
I woke up the next morning and had so much pain inside of me because I didn’t know what to do. I had been using and drinking for so many years; I didn’t have any other way to deal with it. It was so uncomfortable sitting on my mom’s couch and watching my daughter run around. I remember crying on my way to go get more drugs.
On my birthday, my sister told me that she had a present for me, but she wasn’t going to give it to me until I was ready for it. She wound up showing me that it was the number to Healing Transitions – she had gotten it from a young lady who came through the program. I wasn’t ready for it at the time, so she kept that piece of paper and waited until I was.
After getting pulled over for the third time in a span of a few months, I was put on probation. I had asked my court-appointed attorney if I could pay money to be taken off of probation, but the day before I was to meet with the probation officer to pay that fee, I got pulled over. I had no tags on my car, no license, and drugs on me. I was sent to jail.
While I was there, I came to the conclusion that it was going to go one of two ways. If I continued the lifestyle that I was living, I was going to end up in prison. But if God saw fit for me to live a different life, He would get me into a recovery program. I can honestly say that I was over my lifestyle. It was just not me. I had forgotten all my morals, all my values. I was isolating and leaving my daughter with my mom all the time. So I spoke with my lawyer and was released to come to Healing Transitions.
Before I came to Healing Transitions, I didn’t think I was ever going to get up in the morning and function without some sort of substance. I didn’t have any motivation to do anything, but I just jumped in and started doing what they told me to do. I would wake up and get breakfast, then come back to my room and make my bed. It was small, but doing that every single day showed me that it was possible.
As I made my way through the program, I began to regain important aspects of my life. I started working and found a job, something that I hadn’t had in a long time. I also began to reconnect with my daughter. She would visit me on the weekends where I was able to spend time with her. Not long after I left HT, I was able to have her live with me again.
Recovery for me today is so much more than I ever thought. I never thought I would be paying my own bills. I never thought that I would be living successfully as a mother. I get to watch my daughter go to school every single day. She’s doing things that I wish I would have done when I was a child. I can be there for my family today.
I was driven by drugs for so long that I had lost the ability to live, or to even know how to live. It was by watching and listening to the people in the program that I learned how to live the life that I live today. I learned how to take responsibility for my own recovery at Healing Transitions. I built a network of peers who hold me accountable and steer me back on course when I need to be. I have my daughter and my family back. And I’ve found a new family and a whole new way of living.