My son was 3 months old when I tried heroin and meth for the first time. Shortly after that, I lost everything I’d ever known to be good in my life and it didn’t take long to lose sight of all HOPE.
Within my son’s first year of his life, I was in an abusive relationship with his father and hopelessly addicted to heroin and meth.
I signed over guardianship of him to my mom while I was in handcuffs on my way to jail for the first of what would be many times.
When I got out of jail I did any and everything I could to run from my problems and ignore the huge hole in my heart that was missing. I continued to stay high so I didn’t have to feel any of it.
My mom tried to ask me what was wrong and how she could help, why I never came around anymore, and why I had lost so much weight. She offered to take my son until I could get better and I refused every time. I was in denial of what my life had become and what it was doing to my son.
I was in and out of my son’s life for years.
Here and there I would want to do good and come home to live with my parents and stay clean but I still wasn’t ready. The last time I left my son was in the middle of the night. My parents had found out I had been using again and taking a large amount of cash from a settlement. I was unwilling to face the facts so I packed up my car and left a note saying I’d be back and have everything fixed very soon.
I was headed from California to North Dakota, thinking that I could solve all my problems and really get it together. I made it to Forsyth, Montana before I fell asleep at the wheel driving 100 mph and rolled my car 3 times. God willing, I only walked away with bruises.
I came back to California still unwilling to surrender and get help.
It took me going to jail 4 more times, facing 19 months in jail, and months on end of being homeless before I reached out for help.
I was tired and completely broken. I had slept on the dunes of Oceano (a few hours away from my hometown) with nothing but the clothes on my back. I walked barefoot up and down and in the middle of the streets so many times, the officers knew me by name.
I had made it back to my hometown after a trip to the psych ward again. I thought people were after me and listening to me anywhere I would go. I was in a constant state of paranoia and fear. I hardly knew left from right. I had no one and nothing left.
I reached out for help. A friend of mine introduced me to her mom who was in recovery. The same day I met her she took me to a meeting and even against her sponsor’s advice, she let me sleep on her couch until I could get approved for treatment funding. I didn’t have a dollar to my name and no peace of mind. Every person she introduced me to I thought was against me in some way. I could hardly wrap my mind around people genuinely wanting to help other people for nothing in return.
The day I entered treatment is a foggy memory to me.
The paranoia and fear didn’t leave me as quickly as I would have liked. I had been on the streets and bouncing around from place to place and in and out of jail for so long that it was almost like I had to re-learn how to live life again. I hadn’t been living before that, I had only barely scraped by to survive and it showed.
I completed 6 months at a 3-month Residential program.
I graduated with a job and some money to my name. My mom and I were back in contact but I still hadn’t earned any trust back. And rightfully so, because I relapsed shortly after I graduated from the program.
I moved in with another graduate sister of the same program and thought I would try to “successfully use” and just not lose everything this time. I kept my job and apartment for a short time before realizing everyone knew and I wasn’t fooling anyone but myself. I needed help again.
The last day I got high I remember saying that this was it, I was going to die an addict.
Thankfully the people around me I had met in meetings and in recovery loved me more than I loved myself. I put myself back in the program and enrolled in outpatient where they helped me medically detox and learn about my disease and how to cope. Coming off of the medically assisted treatment was rough and lasted weeks on end. I pray I never forget and lose sight of how awful that was.
I was finally honest with my mom about my relapse and after a few months of being back in treatment, she allowed me to see my son. I will never forget that first day and how sad and happy I was all at the same time. I had missed out on another part of his life and time I could never get back again.
I had abandoned him for my own selfish reasons. I chose drugs again. I could only fix the here and now and take it day by day.
Slowly but surely I started gaining trust back and began to work on repairing my broken relationships.
I started to work the 12 steps with an amazing sponsor. She was my counselor at the outpatient program I went to. I graduated there after 7 months and I was beyond proud of myself for actually finishing something. I got a part-time job from an old sponsor who still believed in me.
I saw my son and family almost every day. My mom would pick me up from the sober living early in the morning to take me to work before my son went to school and my boyfriend would come pick me up after he got off of work.
At 9 months clean my Dad gave me a car.
I had moved into another Sober Living in town and stayed there for 13 months before moving out with my boyfriend who is also in recovery.
We lived in an apartment with a roommate that was managed by the owner of the sober living we had lived at. My son started to spend most weekends with us which was a huge step for all of us.
When I got 1 year clean I got a second job working in treatment with other women in recovery. I started school again and my boyfriend landed an amazing career. We bought a car with the help of our family.
We have our own place in what I consider to be THE nicest part of town (again with our families’ help) who a couple of years ago wouldn’t have trusted me with $20. My life today is far beyond my wildest dreams. Far more beautiful than what I ever prayed for it to be since getting clean.
My clean date is August 19, 2019.
The things I have are nice. But what baffles me the most are the intangible things that I have today.
My son calls me mom. My mom has stopped panicking every time there is a knock at her door or an unknown number calling her phone that would have only delivered the inevitable and heartbreaking news. I am able to be honest with myself and others.
I have a healthy relationship, I have a job, I have goals, I am trusted, I have serenity and peace of mind, I am no longer consumed by a substance, I know how to love others and myself, I show up when I say I will, I’m allowed in my parents home, I am trusted with my son.
My criminal record has been expunged, I am present, I start extern for school in a few weeks, I sleep at night, I don’t look over my shoulder anymore, I can go on vacation or even run errands without worrying if I am well or where to get something or if I even have the money for it.
I am free to choose today.
At one point I had truly thought I had done too much damage in my family’s lives and especially my son’s. I am so grateful for the people who pushed me and believed in me when I didn’t. If you think you’re too far gone, think again.
We can and DO recover.
***DISCLAIMER: This website, jugglingthejenkins.com, is not affiliated with any specific recovery program. Different avenues work for different people.***