My parents divorced when I was 11 and I felt like I was robbed of a life. We went from family vacations and getting tucked into bed every night, to scraping up loose change in order to eat. Growing up in the house with my mother who was once a safe, at-home housewife, and watching her turn into a meth fiend was absolutely traumatizing. There were nights she wouldn’t come home and I was forced to play every tragic scenario in my head that could have happened to her. She only smiled at me when she had scored enough to keep her in the bathroom for an hour, and she laid in bed when she ran out of money. I knew my mother had a drug problem, because she spent every last dollar of received child support on herself and her addiction, leaving us to finger peanut butter out of the bottom of the jar for dinner. The only positive force in my life was my boyfriend, David. He was my best friend and my life raft, so to speak. By the time I was 17, my grandparents moved my mother to Nebraska in order save her life. This left me and my older brother behind. My father was around and did what he was capable to doing to help, but I did everything I could to push him away. I was able to guilt my father into renting us an apartment in order for me to finish out my senior year. By the middle of senior year, I was accepting free alcohol on the condition that my apartment was used to “party” in every night. I was drinking and ingesting any opiate I could obtain. The “senior year” I was so passionate about finishing, was no longer a thought. At this time I met a guy named Ray, who was a few years older than me. I fell “in love” with him. I dumped David, my best friend, immediately. I poured every ounce. of my being into Ray—and he took advantage. Ray was using me and abusing me. I remember my friends telling me he was dangerous, but I didn’t listen. I had a hole I needed to fill and he filled it. I quit going to school and I stayed home every night waiting for Ray to show up and love me. I was alone almost every single night. I was absolutely miserable, using drugs, self-harming and waiting for someone who would never come. The pattern of my life was becoming apparent. I managed to pick the broken pieces of my life up enough to graduate high school. But within the next few months I fell back on my face with my addiction. I found myself back with David who was now,just as sick as I was, and we fed into each other’s addiction. We were living out of his parents’ house, not needing to pay bills, not needing to work, and only needing to get high. Every day was a mission to find money and get high. I was selling drugs and stealing from whomever I could. I lowered myself to the absolute worst level I could face. I did not know what morals were and even if I did, I wouldn’t have cared to practice them. I wanted to use and I used whoever I needed to get it. I had no self-worth, as I would sit in my white pick-up truck every night, degrading myself to give some guy a sense of entitlement. By this time, Ray was back, pressuring me to undress myself every night for him and throwing guilt on me to support his habit as well. I remember not knowing how to say no, it was like I was incapable of speaking when I wanted to voice it. My body quit working and I became paralyzed. I needed someone to help me, but I had no one safe I could call. My dad and I had no relationship and my mother was in another state. My brothers were addicts just like me, I felt alone. I wanted so desperately to be loved by another human being. Little did I know, to be loved, I needed to love myself first. After some time, Ray went to rehab and David and I kept our hustle up for as long as we could. I learned very quickly that if the drugs don’t kill you, the life style will. I remember crawling to the lake near where I lived and I sitting in the chair. I was terrified that I had used too much and I was afraid I was going to die. All I remember was thinking “I cannot do this anymore; I am going to die.” I was completely powerless over my addiction and my life was absolutely miserable. I had no genuine relationships with anyone in my life; and I used, cheated on, and threw away anyone, and anything I ever loved. Around this time I believe I felt a change within me, I don’t know what else to call it other than a power greater than myself. I prayed, for the first time I really prayed. I asked for whatever divine being to help me. I begged for help because I didn’t want to use drugs anymore. I managed to gather a year sober. I thought that if I got rid of the drugs, then everything would fall into place and that I would be happy. This was far from true. Even though I wasn’t using, I still felt the same feelings I felt my entire life. I felt abandoned, I felt angry and I hated myself. I was still chasing men that weren’t mine and continued to avoid anyone that wanted to rehash the past. I was living in guilt and shame. I truly believe God does for us what we cannot do for ourselves. At this time, I was married to David and I had ambivalence for living. I continued to have a relationship with Ray and the patterns of our past only repeated themselves. Both of us were not using, but our relationships was so damaged we couldn’t move forward. I was married and sneaking out every night in order to sleep with a man who constantly reminded me that I was worthless and “a piece of shit.” I believed him. Around this time I was reaching out to another man for comfort, affection and intimacy, to again fill the hole that was in my soul. He ended up breaking it off, but suggested I attend an AA meeting in order to get my life together. I felt so miserable I wanted to use again. I took the suggestion and went to a meeting. I was terrified, but I walked in anyway... and I never left. I had been searching my entire life for someone to understand and to want to be there with me and for me; I found it in a meeting. It wasn’t as easy as it sounds. It took meeting after meeting for me to understand why I was there. I found a sponsor and began working my steps. I attended other meetings within the Narcotics Anonymous fellowship in order to connect on the level that I needed, but showing up to my first AA meeting saved my life. I was reaching out for others to comfort me, to protect me and to love me. I learned this needed to happen within myself first. My sponsor showed me how to be a woman because I was never taught how. I grew up believing that drugs and men were the answer to my problems and I now know that a spiritual program is the answer to my problems. I truly believe a power greater than myself has been with me my entire life and that alone, is why I am breathing today, clean and sober. Through working the steps and attending meetings regularly, I have since divorced from David and shut Ray out of my life. I have been clean since December 3rd, 2014. I have a relationship with my family today. I have a group of women I can go to for support and I have a job in behavioral health, helping other women struggling with addiction get sober. I met an amazing man at an AA camping trip and we have been together for a year and a half; We have an honest, loving, trustworthy relationship and I am faithful to him. I have morals today and I practice them in all aspects of my life. I still have days where I truly struggle, as my addiction will attack me anyway it knows how. But I have so much gratitude for this life today and I have faith that I am right where I am supposed to be. I no longer am carrying the guilt and shame of my past and I have truly learned to forgive myself and everyone that has crossed paths with me. I thank my higher power for always being there for me, even when I was not there for myself. I live for today and today I love myself. Today, I will not allow a man or a drug to take that away from me. Today I am loved and I can love fully. Today, I am enough...
- Anonymous on Ashley’s Story, Recovering Beautifully.
- Anonymous on Ashley’s Story, Recovering Beautifully.
- Anonymous on Helpful Links for those who are struggling.
- Jessica on 10 Things I Didn’t Anticipate With Having 2 Under 2.
- Monica Vaughan on I have a bonus daughter…
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