My name is Lindsey and I am an addict.
As a child, my parents gave us all the material things you could think of and we were a wealthy family. I am one of six children. I have one younger sister, three older sisters, and one older brother.
I developed an eating disorder at a very young age.
I believe I was in the third grade the first time I threw my food up at school in the school bathroom. I always had a distorted vision of myself when looking in the mirror. I truly believed, “I am fat,” “I’m not pretty,” “I’m not good enough.”
It never mattered how much weight I lost I always found myself wanting to lose more. I was never skinny enough.
At age 14 I had my first long-term relationship in what was the start of my abusive and dysfunctional relationships with men.
Fast forward to age 18, I met the first love of my life, Johny. Throughout my teen years, I experimented with smoking weed, a lot of drinking, ecstasy, molly, cocaine, and the drugs I call the “party drugs.”
When Johny and I met we didn’t use drugs.
We did, however, drink a lot on weekends and occasionally took molly or Ecstasy (but never opiates.)
At 19 years old my ex-brother-in-law introduced us to the pain clinics in Florida. We would fly to Florida from New Hampshire and we would get an MRI so that once a month we could hit 10 or so pain clinics in a day (each person.) We then would bring the drugs back to New Hampshire so my brother-in-law could sell them.
This is when I started to get involved with perk 30s… I know we all know how that goes once you go down that road. Johny got into them as well. This wreaked havoc on our relationship. Above everything, we still loved each other but the next 10 years would cause a lot of pain.
At age 22 I shot up for the first time.
It wasn’t my last. I became an IV drug user.
This resulted in multiple hospital stays. More times than I can count… spending long term stays admitted in the hospital for overdoses, septic shock, endocarditis, blood infections, abscesses, I even had my finger amputated, knee surgery… and the list goes on and on… all as a direct result of my IV drug use.
I’d sign out of the hospital as soon as they would take my visits away or catch me putting coke and dope in my pick line… I mention this to explain the level of insanity… I had a heart infection with a pick line (an iv that goes straight to your heart) and I was shooting cocaine and fentanyl into it.
I had multiple blood transfusions.
My family came to say goodbye to me many times because the doctors called them to say, “Your daughter is not going to make it through the night, come say goodbye.”
Today I am 31 years old and I have a diagnosis of CHF(congestive heart failure) from not getting my endocarditis treated properly.
My health is not all my addiction took from me… it also took my freedom. I spent the last 15 years in and out of jails: 9 years of close supervised probation, drug court, prison, you name it… I have a record miles and miles long.
And On May 4th 2017, it took my first love Johny.
He died next to me while we were sleeping in a hotel. He was sober for a year but he relapsed a few days prior, smoking crack.
The day he died he had used carfentanyl to come down from his crack high. I was asleep after our night of partying together. I woke up in his arms with my head on his chest, and he was dead. I dialed 911. I pulled him off of the bed and onto the floor and performed CPR while the operator from 911 told me what to do… it was too late, he was already gone.
This was the most devastating time for me, but I feel it’s important to share because so many addicts just like me think it will never hit so close to home… or it would never be me that dies. He was such a beautiful soul. The person I loved the most in this world and he was gone just like that, forever. It was the most pain I have ever felt, and the next two years were about to get far more painful.
Throughout my 20s I attended rehab 50+ times.
After Johny died I went to California to get clean, but as soon as I got back to NH I relapsed immediately. I used the excuse that “it’s too painful here” so I could continue to get high the way I wanted to. I never was someone that could do a gram or two a day and be good… I did 10-20 grams a day of dope and 10 grams of coke a day by the end of my using days.
I was killing myself, completely suicidal. I got really sick with endocarditis. I started to sell more drugs than I did before to support my habit and make money to live. I was a mess… reckless…and a complete lack of regard for everyone around me.
In the summer of 2018, I was set up by a confidential informant working for the NH State Police. I sold fentanyl to her 8 different times totaling 155 grams of fentanyl.
I was arrested by the US Marshals in December 2018 on my mother’s front lawn.
I also had probation that I had been dodging for a year and a half at this time in Lawrence Massachusetts. My probation officer in Massachusetts wanted me to serve prison time. At the time I was angry but this ended up saving my life.
While out on bail on the NH sales charges, I went to Massachusetts. I was pulled over and arrested on my warrants. I went on to serve a year in prison in Massachusetts.
Something changed in me during my last years of drug use. Nothing made me stop before: not jail, not death, not probation officers, not my health, not my family, nothing. I now know that I had to heal from the inside. The desire to change my life had to come from within myself, not because of anyone else or any outside thing making or wanting me to get clean.
I changed my life. For the first time in 15 years… I stopped hating myself.
The day I went to prison in Massachusetts in 2019 was the last time I used any substances. I don’t drink, I quit smoking cigarettes, I don’t use drugs of any form, I don’t abuse any medications, nothing. For an addict like me to be able to change my entire life into something beautiful, rewarding, and purpose-filled, once felt impossible to me.
But if you are struggling and think you are as bad as it gets there’s no way you can do it, read my story, because I am living proof.
I read Tiffany Jenkins’s book High Achiever while incarcerated in Massachusetts along with a lot of books and it really helped my mindset. I worked on myself while I was gone for a year and it gave me time to separate myself from my old life and all the people that were in it before.
I finally LET GO for the first time and that was my biggest struggle was letting go of my past, people mainly.
I got out on April 9th 2020.
After completing my sentence they transported me back to my home state to face 8 sales charges of fentanyl. My family blessed me by always having my back. My dad hired a lawyer that was able to make a plea for me to plead out to drug court.
By the grace of God, I was given a chance to turn things around for the millionth time.
I put in a lot of hard work once I got home from jail. I flew through my phases of drug court without any setbacks or violations. I applied myself when in treatment groups. I got a job working for my dad landscaping, at first for little money because I knew my recovery had to come first.
I took it slow.
In August 2020, 4 months after being released, I registered and started my own cleaning business. So far it has been a complete success!
I fixed my credit score which had a bankruptcy on it and was below 500 points and now is at 700. I bought my first brand new car, I have my own apartment and live alone, and was able to buy all new furniture for it all on my own without taking money from anyone. For the first time, I can say I worked hard for everything I have and I did it by myself.
I have an amazing fiancé that I will be marrying soon and plan to have children with. I have made amends to my family and I have a very close relationship with them and my parents tell me they are proud!!
A few months after being released from jail my family was able to throw me a one-year sobriety party.
It was so amazing to see how happy and proud they all are of me. It is such a great feeling that I can never put into words how it feels to know my family doesn’t worry about me dying anymore.
When I reflect back on my life over the years and how much things have changed I am so grateful. I cry tears of joy that I made it.
At 19 months sober I have accomplished so many awesome things. God had a different plan for me because there were millions of times I should have been dead and he had my back without me even realizing it. At the very least I should be serving life in prison. Instead I am one of the success stories.
I protect myself and my sobriety at all costs.
I do not put myself around questionable people. I lean on my family and positive supports when I am feeling lonely or sad. I am now in the first healthy relationship I’ve been in in my entire life… I have two little nephews that are 1&2 years old that I have an incredible bond with. Their mom and dad trust only me to take them overnight which is a miracle in itself.
The gifts I have received in my recovery are the greatest things in the world and I am blessed beyond belief.
If you are struggling there is hope. I was lost, suicidal, and hated myself. I was destroying myself and everyone and everything around me for a long time. Now that’s changed for me and I know it is possible to come out of it. You are loved and you are worth it.
***Disclaimer: This website, jugglingthejenkins.com, is not affiliated with any specific recovery program. Different avenues work for different people.***