Today, I have two beautiful sons. My oldest son is five, and my youngest is eighteen months old. I plan on raising them to know about “mom’s addiction”. What I hope to truly convey is that I have a brain disease. A disease, which I believe is hereditary. I believe it was passed down to me from generations long before my time. A disease, I believe, that has been passed down to my sons. I want them to know that I grew up without my mother as a result of her own addiction. I had a firsthand reason why I should NEVER have tried drugs and every single warning sign right in front of me. My father warned me, my stepmom warned me, my grandmother warned me, and even my schoolteachers warned me. So, what will be different for my children? I can warn them and lecture them about how I still “did it” despite all these warnings. However, I hope the difference can be…the solution. I fought my way back from the gates of hell to be their mother. I hope that I can always lead by example for them. I hope that when they are faced with the temptation to experiment with drugs, that my story, my fight, will be hardwired in their brains. I hope they can learn from MY mistakes, and never have to “learn the hard way” like I did. But, most importantly, if they happen to lose themselves to the disease of addiction one day, I hope they remember that there IS a solution, it is NEVER too late to change, and that mom will ALWAYS love them! Sometimes, I can convince myself that growing up without my biological mom doesn’t still affect me, but it does. I used to think, “why wasn’t I good enough for her to stop?” It wasn’t until I had my first son and struggled with an addiction of my own, that I finally understood. She couldn’t just stop! I remember being five years old and making a promise to myself, to NEVER use drugs and to ALWAYS be there for whatever kids I may have someday. If I could turn back time, I would tell myself, “YOU ARE GOOD ENOUGH! Your mom is sick, and it has nothing to do with you! Don’t say you’ll never do something. You will have your fair share of experimenting; just try to remember your worth along the way!” When I finally did get heavy into my addiction, I didn’t even realize it! I knew that the things that I was doing were wrong, but I was convinced that I could stop anytime that I wanted to. I just didn’t want to, yet. Since I had to grow up without my mom, I never wanted my children to have to go without me. I believed my children needed me. I was dragging my oldest son with me during every single dirty thing I was doing. My son ended up watching me get handcuffed and taken away in the back of a police cruiser. I still remember him screaming for me. He wasn’t even 2 yet. For months, my child lived with his father at his grandmother’s house. His father was nice enough to bring him down to the jail to see me behind the dirty glass. I had failed my son. I had failed his father. But I had also failed my “five-year-old” promise to myself. I learned the hard way that my son could and would be just fine without me if I didn’t get my crap together. I learned the hard way that I needed my child more than he needed me. I wanted help but was scared to leave jail. I knew that I was still not ready to commit to change. And so, I didn’t. If I could tell myself anything the day that I left jail, it would be this, “You are worthy of a good life, you’re not a failure, and it is not too late. You CAN change!” As soon as I left the jail and felt the fresh air, my addiction kicked into full gear and started to attack my brain. I went searching for relief in alcohol. But, you see, if you have the disease of addiction like I do, then you will take anything that intoxicates you and do it to excess, just to have relief and freedom of self for an hour! So, I did. It only took a month this time, and I was right back in jail. I had violated my probation. This was my rock bottom. At this point I was desperate to change. I didn’t want to be “me” anymore. I couldn’t stand the sight of my own reflection in the mirror. I never want to forget this feeling. I was totally lost. Today, I have worked hard to turn my life around. I still work at it every single day and will have to work at it for the rest of my life. But I have realized that over time it DOES get easier! It has been roughly four years since I last used illicit drugs. Next month, it will be three years since my last jail stay. Today, January 7, 2020 I celebrate eighteen months alcohol free! I still go to group therapy twice a month at BrightView. I go to a 12-step program at least 3 times per week. I got engaged to my son’s father and we had our second son together. I get to be an active and sober mother to both of my boys. I’m a carpool mom. I’m PTA president. I volunteer my time downtown at the Center of Addiction Treatment as a recovery coach. I am furthering my education. I took classes to get my Peer Recovery Support Certification, so I can help guide other people who struggle with addiction, to recovery with my own lived experiences. I have learned to paint in recovery. I have taken multiple spiritual retreats with people in recovery. I’ve been blessed to vacation to Florida twice with my handsome fiancé. The second time we went, we had the magical pleasure of bringing our five-year-old to Disney World. I am living a good life today. My life will never be perfect, and neither will I! But I have a host of friends and family that are beyond supportive of my newfound way of life. The longer I stay sober and in active recovery, the more blessed I become. I recently had the opportunity to be on the news with BrightView, and on Aaron Laine’s podcast called, ‘Tragedy to Triumph’ to talk about my recovery! This coming from a girl who, at one point, no one wanted to hear what I had to say! Because of all these wonderful opportunities, I am able to forgive myself today. I went through every single hardship for a reason! For a purpose! So that I could be living proof for my children, and to anyone else watching me. I am proof that it IS possible to change! If I can do it, so can you! If you or someone you know is looking for help with substance use disorder/addiction please call 833-510-4357 to speak with a live, compassionate person who can help get you on the right track TODAY.
February 7, 2020