I was so good at hiding who I truly was.
To the outside world I was a tall blonde, with long legs, who worked full time as a paralegal for one of the top Criminal Defense Attorneys in my area. In the evenings I went to law school to further my education and work toward my future—which, at the time seemed like it was filled with endless possibilities.
"Good morning, Kristin, come right through. You know better, you don't have to wait in the security line. Your boss is upstairs, in court room 'one'." The court office said to me as I walked into the courthouse wearing my pencil skirt, heels, and blazer.
At first, I glanced over at the line waiting to enter the courthouse and go through security, I looked at all their faces, most of which were lifeless, beaten, broken, damaged.
I knew that all it would take was one wrong move, and I too would be standing in that line, but for today... I was untouchable. I hadn't had to go through security for years, everyone who worked at the court house knew who I was, and who I worked for. I drank with court officers, judges, and other attorneys in the area, none of them had the slightest clue...that I was a full blown heroin addict.
"Thank you." I smiled, flirting with the court officer. I made my way up the stairs and beiefly thought for a moment, "Kristin that could be you one day, imagine the shame, everyone at court knows who you are." I snapped myself back out of that thinking and was assured by the thought of the system my boyfriend and I had in place. I was to get the money and he was to go get the drugs. I couldn't risk getting arrested for my job. I was convinced my plan was bullet-proof.
I walked up the stairs and entered the courtroom, and the clerk magistrate waved to me. "Kristin, my wife has a thank you card for you and a gift from our daughters." He said. The clerk's wife was getting mail sent to the office I worked at, and I would hang on to it for her and give it to her once a week. "Oh thank you, I'll send mindy a message," I replied. My boss heard my voice and turned around, "Oh good, you're here, do you have the files for today?"
"I do," I said, "do you need me to do anything else?"
"Yes, yes go talk to Emmanuel about payment, he owes me $15,000, I NEED that money." I walked out of the courtroom, motioning for Emmanuel to follow me outside.
My boss defended only the top criminal cases in the area. He charged over $400 per hour and 85% of our clients were drug dealers who delt over 100 grams or more at the time of the arrest. Pockets were deep... and I knew all their secrets.
That night I received a call from a new client, "Hi I'm at the police station being booked, I need a lawyer. I was referred to you by a friend, please come here." When these types of calls would come in, I would call my boss and the two of us would meet at the police station and go down to booking to interview our new client for a minimum of $2,500.00
Each time I walked up the police station stairs, I would think to myself, "One day this is going to be me, how much longer can I live this double life? What happens when things get bad?"
All the police officers knew who I was, I wore tight fitted clothing and 6-inch heels so I would leave an impact. I flirted, texted, and had their private cell numbers. My double life was really starting to haunt me.
Two years went by and in between law classes, I was snorting cocaine and heroin in the bathroom in order to be composed and continue feeling normal while at school.
Eventually my appearance began to thin out, I needed more and more heroin to be able to function. I began to loosing weight rapidly, and people noticed. I could hear the whispers, "Oh shes gotten thin"—"Whats going on with her?" I would smile and say stress or I went vegan. But what I wanted to scream was, "I AM JUNKIE!"
I was lazy, forgetful, and tired. I just wanted to be high all the damn time. When I was high nothing mattered. I kept thinking over and over to myself, "How on earth did I become a junkie?"
After five years of using, I stopped paying all my bills because I needed money for drugs. Eventually my car was repossessed while I was at my job, and two months later I was fired.
After being fired I argued with everyone. "I am fine, hes the asshole. I worked for him for 9 years and he just fires me!?" I knew I looked crazy. Things started to unravel even more, my boyfriend of four years was arrested for an DUI and was sectioned 35. He had gone into a full-blown cocaine psychosis which is a whole story within itself.
My bottom kept getting lower and lower; car crashed, homeless, trap houses, hooking, anything and everything to feed my habit...until my worst nightmare came true...
I was arrested for possession of heroin.
I was arrested by officers who had known me for years, who knew everything about me. The arresting officer looked at me and said, "Oh my God, I know you, you worked for Attorney!"
I had an abscess on my forearm the size of a baseball, my feet were swollen from shooting up, and I weighed 100 pounds soaking wet. I also had five grams of heroin shoved up my lady parts and a gram in my bra that my dealer had given to me for being such a good customer.
I was heading to the police station now—the same police station I had walked into a hundred times before—this time, I was in full blown withdrawal
As I entered the cell, there was another girl inside and we eventually ended up chatting. we chatted for a few, and to my surprise and delight, she informed me she had two grams on her. We each sniffed a gram and kicked back in a holding cell until I was bailed out a few hours later. My friend picked me up with a big old bag of Xanax bars, I picked up 5 more grams of heroin and on my merry way I went.
The reality didn't hit me that tomorrow I would go to court and see everyone I had known. That day I walked in so under the influence I just wanted to leave as fast as I could. I was arrianged and released due to having no prior record and received another court date and continued to get high.
Two months had passed since my arrest and my mind grew darker and darker. I was using alone in an attic apartment living with a man and his mother downstair
One day I woke up to a knock on the door and saw a cop standing in the doorway.
"Excuse me, Miss Hammond, we have a warrant of apprehension out for you arrest."
I was taken to the local courthouse and brought upstairs in sweat pants and a sweatshirt with track marks covering my arms and neck. My father was waiting for me in the room...and to make matters worse, it was his birthday.
"Miss Hammond, you are here on a Section 35. Your father has brought in a purse filled with old needles and says you are an active heroin user." the judge said
I took a deep breathe looked straight at my father, I could barely see him as I didn't have my glasses on but I squinted my eyes so I could try to make the best eye contact possible, "I hope you die dad, I hate you, real happy fucking birthday."
The rest of the hearing is a blur as well, but once it was over, I was driven three hours away to a place called WATC (womans addiction treatment center). I was there for 18 days and went home to the same people, places and things and eventually, relapsed again for ten days.
However on the 10th day I had enough, I walked out of the trap house in the middle of winter, in bloody socks from shooting in my ankles. I was tired and scared and in withdrawals. I proceeded to walk, looking only down at the ground, looking up was to hard as I didn't want to make eye contact with anyone and when you are getting high you never look up at the sky, you only look down.
After walking for about five miles, I worked up the courage to call my father.
"Dad, I need help please, I need to go to treatment. Please help me"
"Kristin I will not let you go cold tonight, but you need to find a detox now and that is the one ride I will give you." my dad said sternly.
I walked into Phoenix House in Quincy ready to start my journey into recovery, I was done, this life needed to end. Using wasn't fun anymore, that double life was gone, now I was a homeless junkie who hadn't showered in over ten days with bloody socks.
I stayed in detox, I kept to myself, I dealt with the aches and pains, I went to further care, I sat with self, I read the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous for the first time. I went to a halfway house and thought this was it for me. But as I struggled to obtain employment I could feel my mind getting sick again. I felt like a failure. So I decided to come up with a plan, "I will just kill myself."
I overdosed on drugs intentionally, and woke up in a hospital to find that I had been given Narcan and was brought back to life.
I was sent to treatment at Women's Addiction Treatment Centers and this time, I wanted recovery more than anything. I sat in treatment and worked on myself. I didn't yell or fight, or get caught up in the drama. I read, I prayed, I took suggestions, I sat in the damn passenger seat and let someone else drive the car to the recovery land for me.
I got clean.
I know that inside me there was a person full of life. Someone I could bring out to the world and help another person. Someone that I truly wanted to become. I had the tools, I knew the way, now it was time to apply it in the real world.
When I left rehab, I had nowhere to go so I moved to a rooming house, where I lived with a man who ended up getting me pregnant. Getting pregnant at sixty days clean was not the smartest move, but looking down at my little nine month older daughter sound asleep right now as I write this tells me that is what God had planned for me.
I am now 21 months clean from drugs and alcohol. I am living in the solution, I run a group for moms in recovery online, I attend a weekly group at my birth hospital for mothers in recovery and the staff at my birthing hospital asked me to speak at the hospital once a month to the DDU unit and share my story.
Sobriety is absolutely amazing, being a mother has been the greatest blessing of my life. Will I go back to law school and finish my dream? I hope to one day. But for now I live in the day, and stay grateful and humble.
There is light at the end of the tunnel. Recovery is hard, but I promise you one thing... You WILL NOT regret getting sober.
Each week I like to share stories of recovery, in hopes of inspiring those who are struggling and losing hope. Our stories are proof that addiction is NOT how your story has to end....
If you’d like to submit your own story, check out the guidelines for submissionHERE.
***** I wrote a book about my own dark journey through addiction, order itHERE. *****