My story starts off with what I used to be like. If I could describe what I was like growing up I would say I was alone. I never felt a part of anything.

I battled cancer as a child and it left me hearing impaired. I was self-conscious and insecure. I gravitated towards the darker side of life and quickly found myself mixed up with the wrong crowd.

I was a misfit, misunderstood, and angry.

I started smoking marijuana at 12 years old and fell in love. I had finally found an escape. It wasn’t long until I caught my first consequence; I was expelled from school and dove into a deep depression.

At 13 years old I started cutting myself. I was isolated and felt trapped. I felt like I was on the outskirts of life. I quickly found pills; Xanax, Lortabs, and Adderall. I did not care. I was looking for anything to keep myself from being sober. Because sober meant being me.

Fast forward to my senior year of high school. I was in love, I found my soul mate. “J” was the first loved one I ever lost to an overdose. Alcohol became my coping mechanism. I drank almost every day. Blackout drunk, waking up with bruises. I got my first DWI at 19 years old and turned harder to pills.

Opiates were my chosen poison.

It quickly progressed to heroin and I was in denial about my use. Looking back now I was deeply depressed and I could not stop. I got pregnant at 22. I considered adoption, but something told me I better keep her because she would be my reason not to kill myself. I see now that was God.

I had my daughter at 23. I love my daughter very much, but if she was enough to keep me sober then I wouldn’t really qualify as the hopeless variety. Unfortunately, I do.

Photo Credit: Katrina

By the time I was 24 I was back on heroin. I dabbled with you name it, but the demon that brought me to my knees was IV heroin.

I told myself I was not that bad off.

I wasn’t homeless, I kept a job, had my child, had a car, never been arrested for drugs, but inside I dying. I was the one sneaking to the bathroom and hiding my track marks. I struggled every day, ruled by the next bag.

I tried rehab, detoxes, and MAT, but I just wasn’t ready… YET.

At 26 God humbled me. I got caught with drugs and paraphernalia in my car with my daughter. The biggest lie I told myself to stay in denial was taken from me. I faced serious consequences and this was what I needed.

I quickly got myself into treatment for the last time. February 24th, 2018 is my sobriety date.

I completed treatment, lived in sober living, and completed IOP. I beat my charges and never lost custody of my child, by the grace of God. I joined a 12-step program and found my purpose, helping others. It was not easy building a relationship with my higher power, but I started to come back to life.

At first, I felt like I was CRAZY, realizing how much I truly damaged my mental state.

I started to notice that sometimes it takes a bit more than trusting God, cleaning house, and working with others. I am in therapy once a week, on medication management, and I continue enlarging my spiritual life. I am not perfect and I still make mistakes, but I realize how lucky I am to be able to own my mistakes and have a chance to correct them.

The things I have been blessed with are stuff money cannot buy; like happiness, family, and purpose.

I work in the same treatment center that changed my life. I am on my way to becoming an addiction counselor and I finally feel like this is where I am supposed to be.

I am engaged to a wonderful man who helped me realize I do matter.

Photo Credit: Katrina

I have an amazing bonus son who is so freaking cool. I live in my own home and pay my own bills. I laugh when typing that because it sucks being responsible sometimes, but it does give me a sense of fulfillment to finally be an adult at 29 years old.

Life is messy, but I don’t need a chemical substance, instant gratification, to cope with life. Today I am proud of this mess and happy to be honest about who I am. This is just… ME.

***DISCLAIMER: This website, jugglingthejenkins.com, is not affiliated with any specific recovery program. Different avenues work for different people.***