By the time I turned 19, my herniated disk injury resulted in a prescription for Percocet that changed my life forever. Getting hooked on opioids wasn’t something I planned on doing. It kind of snuck up on me but soon after I starting using, my sense of humor gave way to depression and anxiety. My Irish head of red hair was falling out. I was just skin and bones by the time heroin took over my life. My mom kicked me out for stealing repeatedly.
So there I was… running the streets with my husband, sleeping in abandoned buildings, doing just about anything for the next high. But it was never enough. Inside, I felt unloved, scared, and lonely and didn’t know where to turn. My precious daughter, Olivia, had long been in the care of her father – and that was okay with me – at least I knew Olivia was safe.
But I was not. Somehow I survived an overdose of heroin,. It really woke me up and I decided to make a change. Hitting rock bottom actually empowered me. I mean, I knew what the bottom looked like, there was no denying it. The power came from surrendering. It was the hardest but best thing I ever did for myself.
Luckily, I did not have to go it alone. The nurses and doctors at CAT understood my disease and knew just what to do to help me get through detox. After that, I decided to stay for the 28-day program, followed by another stay at a longer-term recovery house for women where I lived for four months. Another two months of transitional housing made me realize I had built a strong foundation of working the recovery steps, attending support group meetings and surrounding myself with sober support. I was ready to step out on my own.
Along the way, my second daughter, Evelyn, who is 2-years-old now was born. Today, I not only take care of Evelyn but my own mom, since my dad passed. She really needed my help. She’s been disabled for quite a while and dad always took care of paying all the bills, taking the trash out, cutting the grass, etc. After his passing, I pretty much took over where he left off.
I have to laugh now when I realize that mom not only added my name to her checking account – she actually put her house in my name. Funny that now I own the property I used to be banned from!
My advice for those still struggling is that where there is breath, there is hope! If I can do it, anyone can. As the Big Book tells us, it’s a life beyond anything I could have ever imagined.