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***Domestic Violence***

Have you ever made a decision in your life that was so large that it not only changed the direction of your life, but also the lives of those around you?

I have. Twice.

However, you wouldn’t know it by looking at me. I’m your average mom: I have three kids, a nice home, a sexy husband, two dogs, two cats, and a college degree.

I’m a pretty funny person to be around and most people know me for my dry wit and dripping sarcasm. What a lot of people don’t know about me is the deep, dark waters that I’m treading.

Humor is my life saver, my coping mechanism. People don’t understand, that behind those smiles and funny memes is a girl who struggles each day to be enough for everyone, including herself. She is haunted every day by ghosts of her past and prays to be set free… For she is a survivor of domestic violence.

There is nothing monumental in my childhood that led me into a relationship with a man who would fantasize about and act out rape and torture.

I was an average kid from a nuclear family in a small town in the Midwest. I know the stigma around DV survivors is that we are poor, uneducated and grow up in violent homes. That’s just not true. In fact, I would argue that what made me vulnerable to this predator was my ignorance about coercive and abusive relationships. I had no idea what to be aware of. It’s like going to the beach and not knowing what any of the flag warnings mean. You don’t know you’re in danger until it’s too late.

In the beginning everything was great. I was instantly drawn to him because he liked the same music and movies that I did. He was older than me and had dreams of becoming a doctor. He was funny, sweet and adventurous.

He lavished me with attention I so desperately craved. When he asked me to move in with him after a few months I thought it was normal. I thought this is what happens when you’re soulmates. Things just work.

We got married in a rushed ceremony in his parents’ home. His family was very supportive, so I didn’t think about it being too soon. People who are in love get married. People who are married have children. I wanted to do everything right and to be a good spouse.

It was only a matter of weeks before things went south.

I went from a comfortable, middle class life where my basic needs were always provided for, to begging family members for money so my utilities wouldn’t get turned off. I was the sole income. He had neglected to tell me that at the age of 27, he hadn’t held a job for more than a few months at a time and that his mother had paid his bills all his life.

I knew his mother was an attorney, but I didn’t know she had a reputation for being a manipulative, lying, unethical bully. No one wanted anything to do with him or her. That was bad news for me.

There was one stigma I found to be true: a man who abuses women has mother issues.

Man, that was so true. His relationship with his mother was codependent and toxic. He would crawl to her for money every month and she would berate him with accusations of neglect and worthlessness. He would then turn and spill that hatred on me, blaming me for him having to ask his mom for money, blaming me because I paid my credit card payment instead of letting him spend it.

Our fights quickly escalated into violence. There was head slamming, wall and door breaking, punching everywhere but the face and neck. He had hand guns and rifles and would point them at me, always loaded with the safety off. When he would fly into his rages his eyes would go black and he had no control over what he was doing. It was a miracle he didn’t kill me…even if by accident.

I left 18 months into the relationship. One day I went to work and didn’t come home. I was delirious with exhaustion, anxiety and depression. He assaulted me at least three times a week. He woke me up during the night to argue about a dream he had or something he found on my phone. He interfered with me going to work and making money, which made us more dependent on his mom. I couldn’t take it anymore. I went to my mom’s house for the night.

At 10:00 AM the next morning I was served with divorce papers.

I was shocked. Normal people didn’t do that. Normal people didn’t file for divorce after one night apart from their spouse. My mom was thrilled he filed because I could finally be rid of him. She shelled out $5,000 for an attorney while his mother represented him for free.

The divorce proceedings moved forward but my head was still spinning. As quickly as my relationship started it was ending and what did that mean for me?

My daughter was home with him the night I left and that gave him complete control over me. He set up “terms and conditions” that I was to operate under when I had my daughter; including not allowing her to be around my family.

To me, I hadn’t been able to escape his control and abuse and now I was without my daughter and she had no one to protect her. So, when he promised that he would take medication for his anger and see a therapist for his issues, I was ready to believe him. All I wanted was to be with my daughter. I went back.

After I went back things got worse. I had proven that I would leave, and he was determined not to let that happen again. I had to cut ties with my family, so they weren’t allowed to rescue me.

I was not allowed to have friends. I did not have social media for many years. He was always listening to my phone calls and digging through our computer, so I gave him as little to work with as possible.

When my second daughter was born, and he was still without a job I knew I had to do something. I put myself through college online. He went to school to get his Doctorate in Psychology.

That old drive to become a powerful doctor kept him occupied while I worked on myself. The abuse never stopped. I just became laser focused on getting away. When I got my associate degree, I applied for a decent paying job in a town five hours away. There was a school he could attend so he went along with the plan. I knew in order to break free of him I needed to break free from his mother and her power first.

The job that I was able to get was the second major shift in my life. I excelled at this job and got promoted quickly. I was making great money and managing a team of awesome people at only 24 years old. For the first time in my life I felt like I could do anything. My team and my peers gave me the courage and the confidence to believe in myself. Things were going good for me. Until suddenly they weren’t.

Things escalated in 2012. He got kicked out of his school and had no hope of ever becoming employed in any doctoral field. Without the help from his student loans (because he still never held a job) we began falling behind on bills.

We were evicted from our home and sued. I moved my family into a tiny 2-bedroom apartment with nothing but two beds, a kitchen table and my kid’s toys. My daughter’s birthday and Christmas were the lowest days of my life. I couldn’t throw her a birthday party because she had left all her old friends behind.

She put on a brave face and said the trip to the local zoo was fine, but she would later tell my mom it was the worst birthday ever. A month later my girls woke up to three small presents under the tree on Christmas morning.

My ex had spent all our money on a motorcycle (in winter) and cigarettes. It hurt so much to look in the eyes of my seven-year-old as she fought back tears and said she “didn’t really want anything for Christmas anyway”. My children were old enough to understand what was going on.

They heard the fights. They saw the hitting. They cried at night in their beds. I could no longer buy them gifts and attempt to distract them from the truth. It was over.

A few days later he had me drive him to his friend’s house so that he could hang out. I offered to go through the drive through and get him some food. He agreed. I got in the car with my girls and I left. I drove 5 hours north to my mother’s apartment. I hadn’t spoken to her in 4 years but when I called her it was like I never left.

She let me in, and my healing journey began.

I wish I could tell you it was rainbows and sunshine after I left. To be honest 2013 was absolutely the hardest year of my life. Within days my ex took the children out of school and left town. Once again, his mother filed for divorce but in the wrong county. It took me four months, a lawyer and guardian ad litem just to get the case moved back to the correct county.

I then had to hire another lawyer and another guardian for the divorce proceeding. His mother exploited every legal loophole possible to delay my divorce hearing. Both he and she refused to set visitation with me, despite the court’s request on multiple occasions. The legal system was an absolute failure during this time. I did not see my girls from January 13 until October 31st and only had them two weekends a month until my judgement.

January of 2014 was my divorce hearing. The judge took five whole months to rule on my case and I didn’t officially get custody until May of 2014.

A lot of amazing things have happened to me since I left. I married a real man who is funny, smart, handsome, hard working and has a heart of gold. He has raised my girls like they were his own, despite their psychotic father still being in the picture every other weekend. We’ve traveled across the country while I pursue my master’s degree. In 2015 we had my son and I was finally able to stay home with one of my babies and enjoy them being little.

After I left my own abusive relationship, I have helped dozens of women navigate out of theirs. I have become a victim’s advocate and have attended rallies and volunteered my services to women and children in need. I am currently recording a podcast with the details of my story because it’s truly unlike anything I have encountered, and I’ve learned a lot about the legalities of domestic abuse and children.

I have always said if I can help one person it will all be worth it. Even though I still struggle with the trauma of my experience, I continue to move forward. Everything happens to us for a reason. I have a story and I will not stop sharing it. I encourage every woman out there to do the same. Your voice matters. You matter. Believe it.

Follow More of Megan’s journey on her podcast, HERE.

Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233

To read more stories like Megan’s, click HERE:

To submit your own story of overcoming adversity, see our guidelines HERE.

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*TW – Eating Disorder*

I’ve always been a little chubbier than the kids my age, but I was never very overweight.

I had a normal childhood and did lots of sports in my early years at school. When I approached high school, I stopped doing sports, because I felt like I wasn’t good enough to make any of the teams.

In eigth grade I tried a few diets, but they never lasted long, and I’d always end up putting the weight back on. In tenth grade, I decided to start jogging and eating healthier, just to lose a little bit of weight and very quickly, I noticed the weight began to drop off.

I continued this healthy lifestyle and loved having more energy and feeling healthier overall. I allowed myself occasional treats, so as to not deprive myself.

People soon began to compliment me on how good I was looking and the more compliments that I received, the more my mind told me to keep losing the weight. Though I had lost weight, I was still classified as having a healthy BMI. Very quickly, I began to have really negative thoughts about becoming even thinner and whether or not that meant losing weight in a healthy manner or not, I was determined to get there.

Like many people, I turned to Google on how to lose weight quickly. I stumbled upon websites that promoted anorexic behaviors and saw young girls sharing their diets and tricks that helped them to lose weight.

I began religiously following the ‘rules’ and ‘commandments’ that the websites advised. I then began to drop weight rapidly, and would weigh myself at least twice a day to make sure that I didn’t gain too much throughout the day.

I also began to restrict foods that I thought would make me fat like: bread, sugar, juices, any fats, starchy fruit and vegetables. I tracked every single thing I ate—even a single piece of chewing gum— to ensure that I stuck to my caloric limit for the day.

Each week, I would decrease my calorie intake by 100 calories until I was eating roughly 600 calories a day. I would do weird things like sleep on my left side and suck ice to ‘help speed up my metabolism’. I’d chew gum and drink loads of coffee to suppress my appetite.

I was constantly cold, weak and dizzy and I felt nauseous every morning after waking up. My hair began to fall out in chunks. I soon noticed that I became incredibly introverted and never wanted to leave the house.

I became depressed and didn’t want to get into any social situation that was centred around food.  I began feeling nervous about eating in front of people, as my parents and family would always comment on how little I ate. They would plea with me to eat more, but I’d always refuse and come up with an excuse to not eat.

I remember going out for lunch with friends and telling them that I had eaten before I left home, to avoid eating at restaurants. Then, when I came home and my parents would ask me what I ate, I would make something up just to avoid them from becoming concerned.

I eventually stopped menstruating for almost ten months and my heart began to have arrhythmias. I battled to breathe and my body was constantly in pain. I continually had unexplained bruises all over my body and felt too fatigued to do any physical activity. My lowest weight was 49kgs (108lbs) which is classified as underweight for my height.

One day I went on a school camp which included many physical activities. I was not in control over what I ate and because my body was so depleted of food, and I began to binging on sweets.. When I came home from the camp three days later, I was so famished that I began to eat everything in sight. I then began to feel guilty, and began restricting my calories again.

A turning point for me was when my mom cried over how sick I looked. She was at a loss and didn’t know how to get me to eat more. She feared for my life and my future. I realized that I was only 17 and that I had my entire life ahead of me.

I feared that if allowed this disease to control me, that I wouldn’t live for very long … and my parents would lose a daughter.

I was motivated to change my ways on my own through much research, dedication and family support. I stumbled across a television show that helped to treat people with anorexia. I was amazed that these individuals were able to take control of their disorder and change their lives for the better. I wanted so badly to be like them, so I began to work on my physical progress—but more importantly— I realized I needed to make a mental shift to ensure that I didn’t allow any negative thoughts that I had about myself or my body to rule over me.

I began to gain weight and get healthy, and after four years, I can honestly say that it was one of the best decisions of my life.

I truly have been so blessed by the support of my family and friends who were with me every step of my journey.

Once you realize that everyone’s journey in life is different and that we are all beautiful and unique in our own ways, that’s when you truly know and learn to embrace the differences that we all have.

I have helped and spoken to many other young girls with eating disorders and counselled them since then. I am so passionate about helping people overcome any form of eating disorder, which is why I decided to study Dietetics.

I want people to be open about discussing eating disorders to ensure that those suffering get the help that they need to have a healthy mind and body.*

To read more stories like Jessica’s, click HERE

To Submit your story of overcoming adversity, see our guidelines HERE.

And HERE is an article about Eating Disorder Help, in case anyone is struggling. (I am not affiliated with the link, I just googled. )

**trigger warning, drugs and abuse**


Hi, my name is Dorothy and I am an addict. 

Many people in my life, know some of my story, however I have never felt strong enough or brave enough to share it all; until now, thanks to Tiffany and all of the other amazing people that have shared their truths and have inspired me to do the same.

There is a lot, so please bare with me. I will try to summarize it the best I can. 

From the moment that I was conceived and in the womb, I was an addict. My parents are both recovering addicts, and my mother continued to drink and do cocaine while I was growing inside her, and continued after I was born.

My father would drink himself into an Oblivion and beat the shit out of my mom. It wasn’t until he broke her nose over my crib, and threatened to kill her and I, that she had decided it was enough.

She left in the middle of the night and for some time, we stayed with my uncle. 
My mom, some of my family members and the company they kept, were all party animals and in bands. It was a constant party.
 

My mother is a talented singer and would have band practice wherever we lived, and everyone would be completely wasted and high on coke, and various other side substances, I’m sure.
 I always thought this was normal, until I was old enough to learn that not everyone’s life and family was like this.

As a child, I always felt I had to be the adult, the responsible one, without even knowing the full toll it would take on me later on. I remember at a very early age, I would worry when putting my mother to bed in her drunken stupors, making sure she wasn’t sleeping on her back. 

The very first time that I remember really feeling invisible and worthless, I was no older than three. I was bit on the chin by my uncle’s Bull Mastiff, about fifteen feet from my mom, and immediately I began sobbing as my face blood gushed from my face.

I was in pain and a mess and needed my mom to help make it better.

I ran over to her where she sat on the couch, drunkenly playing her guitar and singing loudly (one of her drunk phases was to sing and play records loudly). She looked at me as I stood inches from her face crying, covered in blood, and she didn’t say a word. She didn’t react, she just sang louder in my face, her face twisted up like it would whenever she was smashed.

 I had to climb onto the bathroom sink to see in the mirror and reach the sink to wash and wipe the blood away myself. I felt so alone and thought I was without love and that it must be my fault (children never blame their parents, but instead themselves as I have come to learn from therapy); a feeling that would be all too familiar to me as time went on. 

Anyways, this would be the theme to my childhood and growing up, being the most adult person in a room full of adults; watching fights in the trailer parks, always terrified of dying when my mom would insist on driving obliterated, ya know, the usual.
 

I would bond with my friends’ parents to try and feel some normalcy, but was always too afraid to stay the night, as I had a sense of belonging at home to care for my mother.

I was always embarrassed to have friends stay over my place, and usually when they did, it would make me a joke at school because of my out of control mother. If my friend’s didn’t talk about it to everyone, there would be those who came over just to laugh at the spectacle that was my life. 

As a child and up until I was 14, I was against drinking, drugs and cigarettes. I hated it and resented those around me that used.  

I was 14 when I first had a cigarette, marijuana, alcohol and actual sex of my own choice (I was sexually molested at age 4-6).

After dealing with the pressure of life and hating my existence, I decided screw it, I will try all of those things because I had intended to die soon anyhow. Might as well see what the fuss was about, right? 

I had been cutting and burning myself for a while to try to cope with my anger and sadness. Once that wasn’t enough, I decided after school I was going to kill myself. I took every pill that we had in the medicine cabinet, Tylenol, ibruprofen and NyQuil. I laid in my bed and thought about all of the mental, emotional, physical and sexual abuse I had endured in my 14 years. I closed my eyes with a serene smile and felt content knowing it would all soon be over. 

I failed at ending my life. Just as I failed at everything else in my mind and as a result, I was in individual and group therapy. I hated it. I hated how I was spoken to and disregarded and how it didn’t matter what troubled me, what led me to trying to commit suicide or that I adorned scars up and down my arms and legs. Nothing changed. None of my problems went away. However, I would soon discover ways to numb it all. This was a game changer.

I would soon start doing just about any drug I could. My drugs of choice would become ecstasy, cocaine, shrooms, acid, and pills of all kinds (mostly Vicodin as it was easiest for me to get). All of my friends for the most part knew I partied and messed around, but none of them, even my closest friends knew the actual severity of it.

I fooled everyone into thinking it was all social and I had it all under control.

No one realised that I was doing whatever I had to in order to get money and that I had a real addiction. I would have small moments of sobriety here and there throughout, trying to get clean to make my papa (my grandpa) proud, as his opinion of me was the only one I cared about.


I manipulated, lied, and hurt people. I would date certain people based on their access to drugs or money. I put myself in some very precarious situations that I still try to wash myself clean of.

Being numb was better than having to feel anything, any emotion, even happiness. 

The tolerance I had built up to drugs was so high, that I was taking what is usually considered a lethal amount. From age 14 to age 21 I was on a mission to be numb or die. Every night was a blur and a party. 

Thinking back on it all, I don’t know how I survived the many dangerous scenarios I found myself in, and I don’t know how I managed to not be thrown in jail. I felt like the world’s greatest con artist. No one knew, and if they did, they never said a word. 


I used to think that I got away with it because I graduated at the top of my class, and got scholarships and worked and rented my own houses and on the outside, looked like I had it together. I honestly now, think it was just pure luck and if what was soon to happen, didn’t, I could almost guarantee that I wouldn’t still be here to write this. 

I was 21 when I finally stopped everything with the aid of Suboxone and some very horrendous withdrawals. I still have what I call “Swiss cheese” brain from the E, broken/awful teeth and gum damage from all of the grinding and chewing, and issues with my Seratonin levels. 

One day at work, during withdrawals I was so horribly sick and, convinced I was dying and sick with pneumonia. I went to the hospital so the Doctor could take an X-Ray of my lungs, but before we went back, he came in to tell me that he couldn’t do the X-Ray… as I was pregnant.

My jaw, my stomach and my heart sank. I couldn’t be a mom! I couldn’t possibly be in charge of a child when I’ve only just begun working on getting myself together. What if I failed the baby?! What if I ended up just like my mom?! I couldn’t bare the thought of doing that to another human.

 
A couple of months into the pregnancy, I was healthy, and still clean, and couldn’t stop the overwhelming love I had for this tiny human that I’d not yet met! What was this feeling I had?! I hadn’t felt this before, not on this level. I was overcome with emotions as I realized that for the first time in a long time, that there was nothing I wanted more than to stay clean so that I could be the most amazing mother I could be! 

On June 17, 2011 I welcomed the most beautiful, big alien-headed, healthy, little girl into the world and was born anew with her.

She has brought so much joy to my life. So much light in the darkness I had known for so long. Nothing mattered to me anymore in that moment other than her and my sobriety. For the first time in my life it seemed, I wanted to live and fully embrace my new chapter.


My mom, who I’d never seen sober my whole life, stopped the coke , cigarettes and the alcohol and is still clean to this day, nearly 8 years later, and I couldn’t be more proud.

We actually have a proper relationship now which we never had before. I had told her it was either she get clean or will never see or know her granddaughter and although I didn’t think she would since she never chose her own daughter, she chose my daughter and sobriety. 

Today, I am sober for over three years. I see a therapist and psychiatrist weekly that I actually like and feel confident in. I have been properly diagnosed with PTSD, Anxiety, depression, bipolar, fibromyalgia, trichotillomania and life threatening OCD. I am getting the appropriate treatment that I have been needing all of this time, which makes a huge difference.

Having sources of those I can talk to, support systems, and of course Tiffany Jenkins and all that she’s made possible, has made a world of difference for me and I couldn’t be more thankful to have another day, another chance.

All we can do is keep breathing. 

Don’t ever give up. Only you know your truth. You are worthy and you’re so much more than you could ever realize. We are the authors of our own stories, our own life, and every one out there struggling, you need to know that you are strong and capable and that people do care. You’re not alone. 
Addiction doesn’t define us.  


To read more stories like Dorothy’s click HERE:!

To submit your own story for consideration, click HERE:!

Most people don’t know this about me, but I have had an eating disorder since I was eight years old. 

I became anorexic after the third grade, as a result of severe emotional abuse from a couple of people in my life at the time.

I’m 23 now, and I’ve fought to get my life back for the past three years, living through a grueling and sometimes victorious recovery. 

It hasn’t been easy. I have a LOT of years of negative and harmful behaviors under my belt, and it is a daily struggle to overcome them.

I spent the entirety of my grade school, middle school, and high school years dying to be thin. 

I was stuck in a cycle of starving myself for as long as I could, binging on anything I could find in the house, hating myself for it, and then starting all over again.

I remember my parents freaking out when I stopped eating, unsure of what to do and how to help me. When I was around 10, my mom started putting special foods in my room that I could eat for breakfast–mini muffins, plums, crackers, and more of my favorite snacks–to entice me to eat more. 

I stored them in my pretend washer/dryer toy and rationed them to last for days. 

I started exercising obsessively, using my Skip-It toy (think early ’90s) for hours, until my ankle was shredded from the repetitive spinning against it. I would force myself to run for miles, even though I hated running more than anything. 

I even joined the track team when I was 12, running sprints and jumping hurdles until my nearly-empty stomach would make me woozy and lightheaded each day after school.

When I was seventeen, I added bulimia to the mix and began purging after almost every meal. This quickly spiraled out of control, and I began binging huge amounts of food and then purging it immediately after. 

I ate entire pizzas, entire cakes, entire quarts of ice cream while hiding away in my room, wrapped in shame that consumed me. One time, I ate an entire bag of Doritos and attempted to purge them in my college dorm’s bathroom. 

While quietly crouched over the dingy dorm toilet, I felt a sharp pain in my throat as I purged. I panicked, having read about the danger of torn esophaguses. Was this it? Was I going to die bent over a freaking toilet?

Luckily, I did not. Somewhere inside, I wished I had.

I’ve had an eating disorder for almost 15 years now, and I consider myself to have been in recovery for three of those years. For 15 years, I have woken up every day feeling like my body is not my own; like I am wearing someone else’s skin. 

I have experienced great pain, and I’ve caused pain to those that have loved me.

I often find myself heartbroken at how many people I meet that are trapped by the same feelings as me. To wake up each day hating oneself on the inside and out is a curse that nobody should have to live with.

But we do. 

I feel extraordinarily lucky to be alive, generally healthy, and surrounded by people (and dogs!) that care about my wellbeing when so many others are not able to make it through.

Through hard work and the love of others, I have stopped obsessing about the number on the scale. I’ve stopped counting calories, stopped forcing myself to run for hours, stopped starving and binging and purging and hating myself. 

I still struggle, and I’m not 100% free of my eating disorder yet. But I’m getting there, and I’m happier than I have ever been. 

I will forever be grateful for the counselors that have challenged me on my bullsh*t, the friends that have listened to me sob, and the women that have taught me to embrace my body and my sexuality. 

I am not ashamed of my body or my heart. I am proud of who I have become.

I have my own story of recovery. To read it, click here.

To read more stories like mine and Bethany’s, click here.

To submit your own story of recovery, follow the guidelines here.

You can see clearly from the “then” picture posted above that I was not healthy. I was underweight and my eyes, well, they just look awful. My name is Amanda Burns, I am 26 years old and it has been 3 years, 8 months, and 22 days since I have been free of addiction.

I was 15 years old when I first felt the effects of opiates. I remember my mother had taken me to the orthodontist to have two of my wisdom teeth pulled. It wasn’t long after the procedure that I had begun to feel the pain. The doctor had prescribed Percocet, so my mom handed me a pill and I gulped it down without any given thought.

About 20 minutes had passed and then I realized… I was floating, I was warm, and I felt great. I hadn’t taken the magic pills many more times after that, but I never forgot how they made me feel.

I was 19 years old when I gave birth to my first-born son. I was prescribed oxycodone. I gulped the first dose down without any given thought. It was different this time. I knew what was going to happen, and I was excited.

About 20 minutes went by and… I was floating, I was warm, and I felt great.

This experience was even better, it was a stronger form of opiate. God, I loved it. I began to take double doses, and I never once thought that I was abusing my medication.

My son was born with a very rare and life-threatening heart disease and at just 4 days old, he underwent his first open heart surgery. So, once I ran out of the oxycodone, I wasn’t too upset. I was a new mom, and I had a newborn who took up all my time.

Two weeks went by, and he was finally strong enough to come home with us. I was so excited. But I was 19 and naive. I hadn’t realized how hard it was going to be, having to care for a newborn with a serious illness.

About 3 months went by and I found myself to be really stressed, and tired, and just angry. I remembered that my mother took a bout of medications. I didn’t know for what, I just knew she had some, and that they were somewhere in this house.

I can remember frantically searching, and googling what each medication was, what it did. My heart was pounding, and I began to feel frustrated that I wasn’t finding anything useful, until… “Tramadol, narcotic” came up on my phone.

I looked at the bottle I had just googled and with shaking hands, poured about 10 to 15 of the mysterious pills into the palm of my hand.

I sat on my bed just staring at the white, oval shaped pills. But it wasn’t long until I popped one in my mouth, gulped it down without any given thought and before I knew it… I was floating, I was warm, and I had just began my first long-term addiction.

About 3 months went by and I was taking up to 6 a day now; 3 in the morning and 3 before bed. My mom had realized that I’d been stealing them from her, and she began to hide the bottle in secret places, and even confronted me on the matter.

I would find a way to get those pills though. It wasn’t until she bought a safe and put her medication inside that I went into withdrawal for the first time.

Back then, I didn’t know it was withdrawal and my mom didn’t tell me, I just thought I had an awful bout of the flu – I even had a high fever. I overcame this “flu” within a week and I began to feel like myself again.

About 5 months went by, and I found myself crouched over my mom’s safe trying to break into it – with success. She quickly knew and confronted me about it, and said she would do anything in her power to keep me from her pills.

My life and my childhood were not bad. I mean, I had my fair share of ugly memories, I had experienced some abuse throughout my life – not by my parents, but they both did have their dark secrets.

I always knew my dad was an alcoholic, but it wasn’t until I came clean about my heroin addiction (don’t worry I’ll get there) that I found out about a lot more. Their own addictions, about their abuse, both of their terrible childhoods.

My parents loved me and my sister as best as they could. We were never well educated on drugs, or that they caused something called withdrawal. “Don’t get pregnant, just finish high school” is what I was always told.

The little knowledge I held about drugs came from the kids at school, and that just made me more curious. I never expected to become an addict, having to swallow or snort a pill just to feel normal.

Even while I was doing all the things an addict does, even while my life was unfolding right in front of me, I hadn’t realized. Maybe I just didn’t care enough to realize. Maybe, I was trying to avoid realizing. These pills were the only thing that made me feel good anymore.

I began to search for pills elsewhere. I turned to the streets, to people I didn’t know. All I knew is that if I gave them money, they gave me my pills.

But one day, I called her and this is what she said. “No girl, I don’t sell percs anymore, I’m trying to get clean from them, but hey, I got something else you might like, Dope.” I had no clue what “dope” was until she told me.

I told her that I didn’t use needles. I thought heroin only came in liquid form and that the only way to use it was to shoot it up through a vein. This is how uneducated I was about the drug.

And then she said, “Girl, you don’t need to shoot it, you can snort it, just like the percs. It’s stronger and cheaper.” Those few words began my two year long journey with my frenemy Heroin.

Twenty one years old and I’m calling my dealer asking to meet up, waiting on the location. My whole body aches, my skin is clammy, my eyes are watering, nose is running, heart is pounding. I hand her the cash, she hands me my dope, we exchange a few empty words and I can hardly wait.

I snort the white, gray powder through my nose; I began to float, I was warm, and I felt great again.

I did a lot of aweful things while hooked on heroin. I stole, I lied, I manipulated, I sold my sons things for money, I was not acting like the mother I should have been. I did the things I said I’d never do.  But, most importantly, I hurt and lost the people whom I loved most. All I had was my heroin now.

My mom would tell me, with tears running down her cheeks, that she hated when her phone rang, because she wasn’t sure if it was going to be “the call.”  The call that let her know that her first born daughter was dead. That her grandson would now grow up without a mother.

I didn’t care. I was sick, and I needed my dope

The first time I told my mom about my heroin addiction, was on her birthday in 2014. Happy birthday, mom. I think we were both in denial, not knowing how bad it was, not knowing how ugly it was about to get. She tried to help me detox at home and gave me some of her medications to help take the edge off.

It worked… For a short while. We kept it quiet, didn’t talk about it. I got my license and a job. I made almost 2 months clean.

We messed up, though. We weren’t talking about it. We didn’t talk about what was going on in my head, or why I began using, that I was still having cravings, and that I was sad and empty inside. I relapsed.

I wasn’t coming home anymore, I didn’t want my parents to see me this way again. I didn’t want to anger or hurt them anymore.

But they knew, parents always know. After about a month long binge, I had to come home, I needed to find a way to steal some cash. I remember the withdrawal creeping up on me.

My mom had had enough, she didn’t want to feel like she killed her daughter by letting me roam free without any consequence. That’s when she said “If you don’t smarten up, I’m taking custody of my grandson, and you won’t be welcomed in this house anymore.”

We were driving up to a detox center the very next day.

It took countless relapses, 3 detox visits, 8 months worth of drug abuse counseling, and all the support I could accept to finally get it right. To finally understand that life is just too precious, that I am worth it.

When they say, “one day at a time” that is exactly what they mean. I am now a mother of 2 beautiful little boys, ages 7 and 1. I am happily in love with my boyfriend of almost 11 years, and I am majoring in Human Services, studying to become a Substance Abuse Counselor. I want to help every addict that I can, show them that they are not alone, and that they are very much worth it.

My name is Amanda Burns and I am 3 years, 8 months and 22 days free of addiction.

I wrote my own story of recovery. Check it out here.

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My story starts off like most that you hear of heroin addicts these days.

I am a 27-year-old female raised in an upper-class white family who, on the outside, seemed to have everything that everyone wanted. The big house, a family with money, dropped off to school in a BMW.

What I didn’t have was a father who remembered the night before or a mother who was there. My parents divorced when I was seven years old. I only remember hearing the screaming from the vent by the head of my bed. My TV was on a sleep timer. But I turned it back on to drown out the sound.

My first memory was my younger sister and I going downstairs on a particularly bad night of fighting and putting pots and pans on our heads in an attempt to stop the screaming. I wish that I could tell you that this is what led me to a 13-year love affair with heroin. But it isn’t.

I was the loser at school who told everyone that weed and alcohol were gateway drugs. A walking D.A.R.E. advertisement, if you will.

I met a boy who I dated for 9 and a half years. I still to this day struggle with the belief that if a man doesn’t make you beg for his attention – well, then, he doesn’t love you. He fell into an experimental phase with drugs and eventually those drugs led him to heroin. I spent my days begging him to stop and asking why he didn’t love me enough.

One day, I decided that he certainly didn’t care when he was high on heroin and I didn’t want to care either and so someone offered me a line of heroin from a Pink Floyd CD case, this is where it started. It took off like wildfire and it showed no mercy.

There. was. never. enough.

There was never enough love. never enough affection. never enough weight-loss. never enough makeup. never enough compliments. never enough lies. never enough heroin.

Heroin controlled my life for the next 13 years. It took and took and took from me. Or I should say I GAVE. I wish I could tell you I didn’t know how horrible heroin was. But I did. I knew what I was doing. But I can’t exactly tell you why I did it.

Heroin fixed things for the hour or so that it disassociated me from “the real world”. But then I needed more. I slowly stopped caring about everything and everyone causing me to lose them just as quickly as the thought that entered my head.  

If I met a guy willing to date me, I held on to him like my self-worth depended on it. I took him down with me and made sure I made him think it was his fault. I was toxic. I was your worst nightmare dressed up in an impeccable style, blonde hair, blue eyes and the perfect makeup. Anything to make you think twice about what they said about my being a heroin addict.

My mental state started to deteriorate. I obsessed over my weight. Anything above 3 digits on the scale was unacceptable. Food became a distant memory and a close enemy. And I was unwelcome at holidays much less in family homes.

I can say with confidence that I never stole a thing from anyone. One thing I kept were my morals. I never sold my body for money or drugs, I kept jobs that paid me very well, so I didn’t have to.  Early 20s with a 6-figure income and a raging heroin addiction meant that I was never sick. But I didn’t pay my rent because I spent it all on drugs. So eventually, I got evicted. I lost my dogs.

My addiction took some time to manifest into it’s greatest devastating intensity. I took about 11 years to pick up a needle. I swore I never would. But we all know what they say about those never’s.

As soon as I invited the needle into my life, the rest of the things that I loved, left; and with it came my first overdose. I decided to go to a rehab for detox to get my family, friends and boyfriend to get off my back. I left after detox telling them that’s all rehab is. Being that no one was really educated on the severity of what I was battling, they went with it.

I left with someone there and an hour later had a needle in my arm laying on my kitchen floor. I wound up in a coma for 3 days in the ICU with a tube down my throat. I woke up & tried to pull the tube from my throat because I was sick and I wanted to get high. I AMA’d and got high. 8 overdoses followed.

About 6 months later, my boyfriend had had enough. I had started a relationship with someone else online looking for the love that barely existed between us anymore. Begging him not to go, I agreed to go to rehab, over and over and over again. But he saw right through it.

I agreed to go to Florida for treatment. 60 days in, they kicked me out and I found a sober living house. An uber that wasn’t an uber wound up kidnapping me, human trafficking me, beating me almost to death and locked in a room for 11 days.

I am blessed to be alive, even with the scars.

This is what heroin has brought into my life.

I went right back to rehab after what transpired in Florida and I never really properly dealt with what had happened, so I wound up relapsing.

I was on a year-long run again when I found out my brother passed on November 25, 2018. I was living in California. I was excited to come home and see my boyfriend when I went back for the funeral. But I had quickly learned that my boyfriend was cheating on my for the past six months.

I was devastated. Suicidal and done with what my life had become. I said I was going to kill myself. Maybe to control him, maybe for attention, maybe a cry for help. I’m still not sure.

That night, I wound up arrested. This was the second time. That summer, I was arrested for felony sales to support my habit. Before that, I’d been to jail overnight a few times for possession. But nothing like this.

This time, I wasn’t going anywhere. I sat in jail for 3 months on warrants. I saw what my life had been turning into as the high wore off and reality set in. That boyfriend who promised to be there never answered a single phone call. After 4 years. I have never experienced such pain, regret, disgust, shame, guilt and loneliness.

The court mandated me to treatment and probation. I just got home 3 days ago. I am so grateful and so blessed. I am coming up on 90 days clean. My life is by no means fixed or perfect. I still have a broken heart. My ex is still with the girl he cheated on me with. But how did I constantly expect people to put their lives on hold for me when I couldn’t get mine together?

I am owed nothing by anyone but myself. Today, I give myself time. Today, I love myself. Today, I am free of the chains that are heroin. I am blessed. I am happy. I am alive. And that is the most beautiful thing ever.

I wrote my own story of recovery… to read it click here.

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It’s been nearly twelve years since I began recovering. I didn’t think of my issue as an addiction until now. I didn’t realize how much I relied on cutting as a coping mechanism. I self-harmed and I’m recovering.  But not every day is an easy day. There are days where I long for the pain.

I’ve never discussed my story, not in its entirety. Maybe, because even after 12 years I don’t understand it.

I can’t remember how it started, but I do remember self-harming in elementary school. I stopped for a while until I reached high school.

My grandmother whom was like a second mother to me passed away just before I started high school and my parents went through a nasty divorce. So, my world had completely shifted. I was angry, sad and lost. I had friends but no one to talk to that would understand.

I remember starting off hitting myself, leaving bruises. I remember taking shaving razors apart to use the blades to make small cuts. Then there were more cuts. The more I did it, the more I NEEDED to do it.

I remember the first time I cut myself with a box cutter. The deepest I had ever cut myself. I looked at it with utter fascination… and I wanted more. Id wake up and cut myself before school and Id come home and cut myself after. Hundreds of cuts at any given time. Forced to wear long sleeves and arm warmers when it was hot.

My turning point was in chemistry class when we were learning to use the burners. Students weren’t allowed to wear long sleeves during the class so of course this was an issue since I was covering fresh wounds from the morning.

After going to the guidance office and speaking with a counselor, they called my mother and we set up an appointment with a psychologist. After being seen they prescribed me medication as a quick fix, which it wasn’t.

The adjusting it took to get used to the medicine almost set me over the edge. I was worse than ever before, cutting deeper to the point where I tried killing myself.  I laid on the floor with slowly bleeding wrists, but they closed on their own.  

Once I got passed the initial adjustment of the medication it actually started to do its job. I was happy again and I started to feel normal.  And I can say that I wouldn’t be here without it.

It’s been 12 years and I’m doing okay. I regret how I treated my mother in my dark days and even now I still have them here and there.

I had one slip up when I was feeling overwhelmed two years ago. I was only lightly cutting myself until one night I cut so deep that it wouldn’t stop bleeding. It was a big scare for me since it went too far and since then I haven’t done it.

Since high school I’ve been happily married for nine years and I have two adorable boys that are my entire world! I have lost 160 pounds, graduated college with a bachelor’s in Social work, I’m a distance runner and working towards getting my personal trainers license.

There are days where it’s a challenge. It’s hard to inspire others when you need help too. There are days where I just want to sit back and hide… but the messages I get from my followers telling me how much I inspire them helps keep me going.

I cannot convey my whole story, but to the teenagers in this world, it gets better! You can survive it. You’re not crazy. You are stronger than what you think. We all are! You can do whatever you set your mind to. You’re not alone and when you talk to that guidance counselor.  

Cutting isn’t something that gets publicized and unless you’ve lived it, there isn’t a lot to say to those that have. But, you aren’t alone, there is so much beauty in the world and you deserve to experience it.

I wrote my own story of recovery, click here to check it out!

To read more stories like mine and Brittany’s click here.

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Ironically, I would normally post about recovery from addiction; which will no doubt be a constant struggle of mine.  However, living with abuse is what actually caused me to become a shell of a person.

 My raver days and journals to God and drugs for decades were all set aside when I married someone.  He had a slow manipulative grasp on my soul, my heart and love of life, my no twelve year old son.  My son has autism and we met my husband closely as friends when i was a single mom working a corporate job. 

We thought he hung the moon, and he sure did. He showed up to special education meetings, holidays and family life. He embraced autism and all that seemed to matter in our world was our future together. 

Having left all drug and religious-perfectionist thinking of a simple life to complete us behind. He lived a life of prostitute-addiction and was a pathological liar seeking to gain status in middle-class America. 

Then I started catching the lying, but I ignored it all until cheating was revealed in the most obvious habit pattern. I paid for his college, teeth, lifestyle, etc and lived on every penny; working part time and from my previous career’s settlement. But all of his bank accounts were not to be seen or touched. 

I believed he struggled and thought that I could save the father/son relationship I believed would happen for my son.  

I left after the cheating, fraud and porn addictions that became extreme; but, I returned. I felt it was right, and I had this drive that it felt like it was up to me to love, forgive and save the only security we had at the time. My thinking became dependent. 

He became angry after his father passed and would rape me, throw things, lock me out of the house. Or he would hit not only my autistic son, but also my toddler at the time. They would cry and scream as he hit and yelled more. We would cower and it would make him more angry. 

 I slowly disappeared as a person.  I was terrified he would cheat again so I would beg for proof of receipts and pictures while he was out, Which would lead to me paying the price in bed later that evening with pain and humiliation. 

His power grew and I began hurting so much that it was physically difficult for me to walk at times.  We made it through barely keeping him calm. I stopped drawing and going to shows, I became fearful of the world and him, YET I STAYED. 

They told me to hold it together for the kids, and I really did try.  I became sick all the time and we lived poised for his entrance every night.  And somewhere down the line, he took away my ability to care for and console my children. I couldn’t touch them or help them with scrapes and scratches, homework, physical abuse, or being called braindead brats!

 Sometimes myself or the kids would hide in the bathtub to get away from him. All the while making me feel confused and promising he loved me. 

We grew to live this way as a family, my kids knew nothing else. He slept on the floor with my youngest for about 3 years while I would be shaking in the bedroom not allowed to come out. My oldest knew he couldn’t come to me no matter how bad his autism affected him. My husband conditioned him to think that coming to me would lead to him being beaten.

I left after making it through a holiday season to appease extended family. He had forced me to drink enough to pass out despite my resisting. He stripped me and took photos while of me while I was asleep. He sent them online for days and supposedly it was his new online job that he was starting from home from me tablet. 

I had been asked each time to take the kids out so he could get this work done until I discovered what he had been doing. The anger was fierce!

I had no account access, food or a place to stay so I fled to my parents house. I stayed there for a bit and raised my two boys. But he eventually crept back in.  

This shocks me still, but I was so brainwashed into believing that he was the only way me and my children were going to survive.  

We rented a new home and believed that it would work this time. But, he took out his anger on his stepson again. My son began to self harm and write about his anguish and we all still had to walk on eggshells around him. Although, this time, I started to get angry as well.  Perhaps subconsciously, I was angry with myself for sleeping beside someone I feared every night. Underneath it all, I never forgave him and I was angry with myself for going back to him after having proof not to. 

I became even more depressed and was not the mother my children deserved. I became wreck-less and put my family through a shockwave of behavior that I still cant believe came from a girl full of love and passion like myself. I just gave up. 

And thats exactly what he wanted; for me to become so worn down until there was nothing left of myself. 

One night, he wooed me with a homemade meal and wine at home which meant he needed sex, or else. I went with it and felt genuinely happy and hopeful, as we spoke of a baby and saving for soccer for our little guy, he snapped and his eyes were black. 

I ended up slammed into a wall for several minutes as he screamed about sex in my face while holding me down. I called the police and I finally had courage to press charges.

People turned their backs on me, but I realized the same lesson the ravers did

*Evil has no bounds and can control others*

Thankfully, I am out and will never return! I homeschool my oldest son after seeing the pain he went through in public school. They segregated him and deemed him incapable when he has all that he needs to be successful! 

I left this man in February last year and have an apartment, a job, a car, and my boys. A new life and the knowledge that I have no idea what happened for the past 8 years but that I am so glad it is over! I made the right choice for my sons and that the truth will set them free.

I wrote my own story of recovery, click here to check it out

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Leaving a parent at a treatment center time after time at a young age was life changing. It is a feeling that could only be understood by another child who kept losing their mother over and over to addiction.

I thought it would be my lesson on not abusing drugs, my “what not to do.” In a world where I just wanted to be better; things kept happening that brought me farther down.

I wouldn’t say that my sister and I had it the worst, but we didn’t have it the best either… not even close. On the outside looking in, I think we did well at masking the truth of what was happening, but this isn’t about that. This is about the truth behind my addiction.

When I was about fifteen, I found out something that completely shook my world. I wasn’t anywhere near ready to hear about the details of my creation.  I felt like was a living, daily reminder of a horrific event that my mother had to endure; and my mind raced wondering if I would be like the monster that forced my creation.  

I felt lied to, betrayed. Like I was all alone and that deep down I was unwanted. If I was told now, instead of then, I would have taken it much better. Life unfolded the way that it did, I am here, and my family loves me no matter what. I wish I would have seen it like that back then.

I drank to forget, turning my days and nights into black out drunk adventures. I spiraled fast and the next four years were a complete blur. People definitely saw me as the fun party girl. If only they knew… I just didn’t want to feel or think anymore. I would get caught up in fighting a lot because I would never be able to hurt the person that hurt me the most.

At fifteen, I took some pills because I said I didn’t want to live anymore. Looking back, I think I did it for attention, a cry for help.

 At eighteen I took a bunch of pills with a lot of alcohol. I believe that I did truly want to die that time. But once found, I was sent to rehab for alcohol abuse and it turned into one the worst mistakes I ever made.

I went to treatment to get better and in all reality, I soon got worse than I ever was. After rehab I moved to a town far from home with a person I met in rehab. Things were okay at first. It felt good to be away from everything at home and be somewhere where nobody knew me. I felt at peace with life.

But the feeling you get when you first shoot meth is unexplainable. It makes you feel more alive then you have ever felt. It quickly tricks you into thinking that the only way to feel alive is with a needle.

The next three years cycled like this: get high for days maybe weeks, fall out wherever I may be at that time, then wake up wherever after however long it takes and then go get high again.

I couldn’t fool anyone, I was lost, I didn’t even try to hide it. One look at my arms and you would have no doubt. I didn’t just use to get me through the day, the high wasn’t even my favorite part. It was the rush, and since that doesn’t last long, I had to do it over and over again… just one more time.

My arms were so bad that I would cry on the bathroom floor or have people try other spots on my body because I needed that high. When I moved back home, needles weren’t as accepted so I went to other ways. Of course, nothing was as gratifying as injecting.  

When I met my soon to be fiancé he also preferred injecting, so it worked out well to go back to using the way I wanted. Selling and using drugs became my way of life, and soon turned into all that I thought about.

One day I decided I was done, and I knew it was my time. After a few relapses and the feeling of defeat it clicked, I didn’t want to live that life anymore. Would I stay clean forever? I didn’t know but I did know that for that day, for that moment, I was done. It wasn’t until 2 months later that I knew without a doubt I wanted away from the lifestyle.

Two months after getting clean I found out I was four weeks pregnant. Talk about timing! I believe I was given an angel; my child saved my life.

Even though I have been clean for three and a half years, using could be so easy for me. My mind still plays tricks on me telling me I could just do it once for fun. It takes me a second but the moment I think about my child it’s an easy choice. I won’t give up him for a drug.  

I told myself I would never live a life of addiction because of what I saw growing up. Maybe it wasn’t about me this entire time. Maybe I went through that to open my eyes up about what I wanted for my child.

I will never let my son go through that. He won’t ever drop me off at a rehab center. He won’t have to have visits with me; and I will never have to watch him cry as he drives away. Maybe I lived it so my son doesn’t have to.

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It was September 11th, 2009. I slowly and painfully opened my eyes to see a screenshot of the Twin Towers collapsing on the news in a memorial tribute they were conducting.

I wanted to feel empathy for the pain these people were experiencing, but I couldn’t. I couldn’t feel anything. Because in my own life, my world was collapsing.

Collapsing so fast around me there was no way to stop it. I slowly realized where I was. I was in a hospital bed, connected to endless tubes and feeling like I was hit by a speeding train.

I shed a tear once I realized why I was in the hospital, and closed my eyes  again, drifting into a sleep I was hoping I would never wake up from.

Twenty-four hours earlier,  I was, in my dorm room just three weeks into my freshman year at college. It appeared as if I had everything on the outside, but on the inside… I was done.

I was done with suffering from bulimia and self-hatred. I was done with the panic attacks, with the highs and lows that came with the mental illness I carried for years without knowing.

I was done with hiding my body in the September heat because of all the wounds I had inflicted upon myself. I was done with my newest malady—a prescription drug addiction I was unaware I even had at the time.

So I had taken the pills. All of the pills. I needed my pain to end so I took matters into my own hands. Little did I know I would survive and my journey that had seemed so long up to that point was actually just beginning.

 I was kicked out of my dream college for overdosing in my dorm room, and forced to return home with two furious and hopeless parents.

The following months were some of the lowest of my life. For one thing, I was detoxing from the pills. For another thing, I was on suicide watch.  I was unable to be alone during the day, yet spending every waking moment that I was possibly able to binging and purging and self-harming.

I had loathed my body so much, that I spent every day injuring my underweight, yet seemingly enormous stomach in the shower, hoping for it to somehow appear more acceptable to me when laden with indelible scars.

I remembered that after I was hospitalized for anorexia for the first time at age fourteen, I had read a book that was recommended to me, which was written by two authors.  It became my recovery Bible, my survival handbook.

The month after I overdosed, I connected with one of these authors on Facebook. He told me he was conducting an eating disorder recovery retreat in Nashville and would love it if I came. So I took a leap of faith and traveled from Detroit, Michigan to Nashville, Tennessee not expecting much of anything to happen there. Little did I know my life was about to change.

At the retreat, the moderators and other girls there talked about a residential treatment center just outside the city. They made it sound like a safe haven where healing just naturally occurred. Following the retreat I had a two-month long fight with my parents to let me go to the Recovery Ranch in Tennessee. They thought it was a waste of time and money after undergoing so much outpatient and inpatient treatment up to that point, they thought I was a lost cause. Eventually they begrudgingly to let me go to treatment.

The day finally came. December 22, 2009. I hopped on a plane at eighteen years old and travelled to the Ranch, hopeful yet horrified. Regret immediately set in once I arrived. Before I left home, my father had threatened to disown if I came back with my same issues tagging along. So the pressure was officially on, as I couldn’t let down my family or myself.

The next 90 days I did the most work on myself as I had ever done. I uncovered the root of my eating disorder, mental illness, self-injury, and addiction. With my trauma therapists, I finally talked.  I finally talked openly and honestly. I talked about my severe Misophonia Sensory Disorder that destroyed my family and my childhood ever since the age of two.

I talked about the time I was assaulted in junior high, my innocence stolen and heart permanently broken. We talked about what the disease was doing for me, how it was serving me, and how it was not.

Those three months were miraculous, but didn’t come without their blood, tears and lapses.

Parents weekend was in March. My parents came and we discussed everything. All the pain that they had no idea I had been experiencing, the pain that caused so much anguish for me, and in turn for us all. I saw my dad cry for the first time. Inexplicably, it was incredibly heartbreaking and heartwarming at the same time.

After the Ranch I was transferred to Wisconsin for transitional living for five and a half months, during which time I was accepted into the University of South Alabama, a school I was introduced to by my best friend from treatment.

 I relocated to Mobile, Alabama, once again both hopeful and horrified. I was afraid that round two of college was going to turn out exactly like round one. But I was stronger this time.

I was doing great in college until my parents called me to come back home for a visit a few weeks in. I had a bad feeling about this. As I suspected, both my parents were in the parking lot outside of the airport, my dad, looking once again like he would burst into tears. He told me my mother had been diagnosed with breast cancer. I had to return back to school with this news in mind and try not to let it affect me which was difficult, but luckily I did great.

Nine months later I received a call that the cancer was quickly spreading in her brain now, and I had to return home immediately. When I got back to Michigan, my mother, my rock, my best friend, couldn’t remember my name. The dementia had set in for the first time. We had brain surgery and she recovered but it was a long journey ahead of us.

I returned back to school once again in August 2011, and went into full- blown anorexia relapse. The restriction set in again, which was soon followed by binging and purging and running up to ten plus miles a day.

My body was exhausted. But it was the only way to deal with a dying, dementia-inflicted mother. Soon after that I met an amazing man and everything seemed to get better.

In March 2013, my dad once again called to say it was time to come home. This time to say my goodbyes. I was twenty-two. She was fifty-one.

The same year mother died, my boyfriend and I decided to get engaged. I was heartbroken my mother wouldn’t be there to see me shining on the happiest day of my life.

Unfortunately, her death had triggered in me a relapse with myself-injury that landed me back in treatment. This time at SAFE Alternatives in Missouri. I once again took a look at my triggers, did some more trauma work, and stopped the self-injury and eating disorder once and for all.

Things have been much better since then, but not all rainbows and unicorns. At first it was failing out of Occupational Therapy school due to anxiety and overly-sedating medication, then it was losing my best guy friend to suicide, then a divorce at which time I was forced to return home. 

I experienced liver failure caused by Hepatitis which almost cost me my life. But now, I am happy to say that I am behavior-free and feeling as healthy and strong as ever. I could waste my time feeling sorry for myself. I could stay in bed and grieve my losses and not try so hard to motivate myself to keep going. But the truth is, if I had an easy life, I would never had gained the experience, strength, and hope that I did through my struggle.

I can honestly say I have something more priceless than any number on a scale, marriage or occupation. I have resilience. Why is resilience better? Because it means that I can still enjoy my good days, but I can survive through my bad days, as well. No, I can THRIVE through my bad days. That is something no one can buy or obtain through anything but fighting. I fought hard. And I won. 

I am now finishing up my master’s degree in addictions counseling. I want to help people who I know are struggling through something horrific. Something that has another side. And I thank God that I was able to get there….

Special thanks to those of you who are bravely willing to share your stories of overcoming your struggles.  For more stories like Jordan’s, click HERE

I realize I don’t owe anyone an explanation, so I’d like to get that out of the way first. I am completely aware that I am not responsible for how people perceive me — especially when their perceptions are askew.

Full disclosure, this isn’t for them—it’s for me.  Why is it important that I defend myself? In the grand scheme of things, it probably isn’t at all. However to me, in my life right now, it’s huge.  It’s so huge in fact, that it’s keeping me up at night and overpowering my thoughts.

So I am putting this out there, and I’m doing it for me.  In publishing this, I am giving myself permission to release the unbearable heavy weight of trying to please everyone. I can’t and I never will. So I will type this, and bid these feelings—and those who have fallen out of love with me, adieu.

To The People Who Say I’ve Changed:

You are damn right I’ve changed. 

In May of last year, One year and four months ago, I was a mother of three working at a carpentry company.  I made a silly video for no reason other than I felt like it—and it went viral. 

That was never my plan…

Eleven months later I had 1 million supporters. 

In the four months following, I acquired 1.5 million MORE supporters.

In one year, and four months, I have been blessed with over 2.5 million followers.

That was never my plan.

I was not expecting any of this and frankly, I was completely unprepared. However I was grateful, honored and joyous over the fact that I had finally—found my calling.

I loved making videos, and people loved watching them. So much so, that in order to keep up with “demand” of continuing to do so, I decided to quit my job at the carpentry company – one of the scariest most liberating decisions I’ve ever made.

The thing is, making videos, brightening peoples days, and spreading awareness became my mission – I loved doing it. However my husband was working overtime to pay the bills, and truthfully if it wasn’t for Patreon, I would have had to stop and go back to work.

With a large number of supporters, comes a large number of people reaching out to me. So for those of you saying I look tired, or I don’t care about you because you reached out bearing your soul and I ignored you, I’d like to give you an inside look into my world.

This is from tonight, from my email—one of 5 inboxes…. observe the frequency of the incoming emails…

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 I have thousands of unread messages in IG and FB as well…

 

 

I can tell you one way I’ve changed…I am filled with so much gratitude that people are reaching out to me, I am honored they open up the way they do, but I’m just one person. And it is constantly in the back of my mind that I am unable to respond to everyone bearing their soul in my inbox.

As an empath, it kills. Especially with subject lines like this:

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Have I changed? Yes, I feel like I am letting people down on a constant basis. It weighs on me daily, and makes me feel depressed and unworthy of this incredible platform I’ve been given. There are days where, in order to keep my sanity, I steer clear of social media all together.  I have to.

I have recently been called names and unfollowed because I did a few sponsored ads. I need to put this into perspective for all of you say I’ve changed and all of my content is sponsored now. I know I don’t have to, but I want to.

I’ve made hundreds of videos.

Six were sponsored.

Those sponsored videos, are what allows me to make the rest of the videos for your enjoyment. Because I don’t get paid to buy props, film, and spend hours editing. I do that at no cost, because I like to make people happy.

I work with two companies, and the beautiful thing is – in order to watch the rest of my videos, YOU DON’T HAVE TO BUY A SINGLE THING! Heck, you don’t even HAVE to watch the sponsored videos. You can scroll on by and watch the rest of the stuff I spend my life creating – at no charge. Why does it bother you so much?

HERE IS SOMETHING I WANT YOU TO KNOW. 

And truthfully, I’m probably going to get in trouble for this next thing, but again, it’s important to me.

I work with two companies, because I truly love them as people, and as a brand. The companies have bought books for my supporters, sent flowers and beautiful cards to my door, and have allowed me to be 100% myself, while contributing to my family.

I have turned down tens of thousands of dollars, BECAUSE I don’t want people to think I’m a sell-out. Here are just some of the offers I turned down this month...

 

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I know I don’t need to (and probably shouldn’t) show you this but THIS, this right here is why it bugs me when people send hate mail and leave nasty comments. I always say no, I am trying to get by, not get rich, which is why I have kept it at only two companies.

 

I have changed, in many ways. I have learned as I go, grown, and tried my best, to make the most of my second chance at life.

If you think I’m different or want to unfollow me – then by all means, hit the button. My true supporters understand me, and my heart, and they are the ones I am concerned with. 

Things are moving at a rapid pace, and I’m gratefully trying to keep up. I am a wife and mother first, and a content creator next. I will continue creating content until someone kicks me off the internet, or I am no longer able to provide for my family while doing what I love.

I am so grateful to everyone who has stuck by me, and who see my true intentions and goals. I look forward to what the future has in store, and am honored to have those of you who “get me”, alongside me for this journey ❤

I love you all so much, and appreciate the love and support more than you will ever know!!!!

PS…I’M GOING ON EFFING TOUR, DUDDDDDE!!!!!!!

 

How postpartum depression and anxiety wrecked my world…

First off, let me start this by saying I know Postpartum Depression and Postpartum Anxiety are two different things. However, in the case of my life… they came together.

Both PPD and PPA sucked the joy out my children’s baby years like an evil little leech. They filled my head with so many lies, drained my soul, and constantly made me feel like I was failing.

Some days it seemed impossible to accomplish even the smallest of tasks, others were filled with so much fear and anxiety that I struggled to leave the house. Staying in the house, however, only made the depression worse. Subsequently, making the anxiety worse.

I constantly felt as though I was on this never-ending tilt-a-whirl.

My postpartum anxiety made me feel like asking for help was not an option. That if I did, people would judge me. That if I was honest, they would tell me that I needed to suck it up. Or worse, they would think I was an unfit mother who didn’t deserve to have her kids in the first place.

This fear consumed me, and kept me from seeking help. It wrecked my world, while also making it feel like it would never get better.

In some ways, the postpartum depression was worse. On top of feeling terrified to ask for help, the depression made me feel like I didn’t deserve the help. That I was not worthy enough for people to help me, because people aren’t supposed to feel like this.

It fed me lie after lie; “There is no way other moms feel like this”, “You are alone”, “Your kids deserve better than you”, “You are awful at this, what is wrong with you?” and “Why can’t you just snap out of this? A good mom would snap right out of this.”.

My PPD robbed me of so many beautiful moments. Although I was physically present and trying my best to enjoy every moment, the negative thoughts would steal the joy.

For the longest time, I believed it was my fault. That somehow, I caused this simply by being me, and that it was only me who had ever felt like this. I knew about both PPD and PPA, yet I allowed fear to convince me that it wasn’t that, it was just that I was broken.

So, I hid it, I would give the “I’m fine”, or do the stereotypical mom rave, anytime someone asked. Where you just talk about how “amazing your baby is”, leaving out all the real, hard, and raw parts of early motherhood. Further giving into that fear that I was alone.

Since then, both PPD and PPA have gained some spotlight. Thanks to other moms and celebrities who have chosen to share about their struggles. I hope that trend continues.

To this day, I remember the first time I spoke with another mom who was honest with me. She laid out all her “ugly”, with absolutely no sugar coating. She cried, I cried, it was a giant sob fest. For the first time ever, I realized I was not alone. That other moms really did feel like this too.

That discovery helped me start to climb my way out. I wish I could tell you I woke up the next day and everything was all sunshine and perfection. But it wasn’t, it was still hard, and it stayed hard for a long time. It truly was one little baby step at a time.

I didn’t have some major life-changing moment, where I realized the cloud had lifted. In hindsight, I can see the little moments where I truly felt joy, contentment, and happiness. How slowly but surely, I began to take care of myself, ask for help, and find small doses of patience.

All of those things very slowly compounded, until I was able to have more good days than bad. I can look back at photos now, and I see these beautiful baby girls, with adorable chubby cheeks, soft hair, and the biggest smiles on their faces. However, those pictures also tug at my heart, because sometimes I can remember exactly how I really felt on the inside when it was taken.

I wish so desperately, I could have enjoyed them more in those days. That I would have been honest with someone just a little bit sooner. But that is the thing about looking back, you are doing exactly that, looking back. It is easy to have clarity when you are not in the middle of the storm.

I cannot change my past, but I hope that by sharing this I can help someone change their present. If you are struggling with motherhood, you are not alone. There are SO MANY other moms out there that feel exactly like you do. They are struggling but putting on a good face, so you just can’t tell.

They are posting that perfect picture on social media, but crying themselves to sleep at night, feeling like a failure. They want to run away too, they wonder what the heck they were thinking becoming a mom.

Motherhood is a journey, and it is not one that we can do alone. It’s time that we as moms, start being honest with each other about all the real and ugly parts of motherhood and everything that comes with it. It is our duty to reach out to each other, lift each other up, and quit being so damn judgmental. Judgmental of other moms, and more importantly of ourselves.

It is time for us to admit we are not “perfect” and quit trying to be. Ultimately, providing an opportunity for the moms around us to reach out, not feel so alone, and feel safe enough to admit they need help.

So, I am going to do exactly that.

I am not a perfect mother. My house isn’t perfectly clean. To be honest, I am somewhat of a domestic failure. I have not had a picture hung on the wall, since I lived with my parents. The only printed out pictures I have of my children, are one that other people have printed for me. I can be impatient and grumpy. Being a mother is so much harder, than I ever imagined it to be. I have screwed up more times than I would even care to count. But at the end of the day, my daughters are loved, they know it to be true, and they are generally happy. Today that is enough for me…
XO
Shelby

PS: If you are struggling with PPD/PPA please reach out. Like I said above, you are not alone, you are not broken, and it doesn’t make you an unfit mother. It is okay to need help, I know it is hard and scary. But please, don’t let PPD/PPA wreck your world the way it wrecked mine. Ask that friend to come hold your screaming child and go for a walk. Get some fresh air and clear your brain. If you need it, go to your doctor. I hated the idea of being on medication, that somehow it made me weak. It doesn’t me weak, it helps me work through struggles of the day to day. So that I can truly enjoy all of the good that is actually there.

 

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Shelby’s Blog: https://mamastillhasnofilter.blogspot.com/

To read more stories of people overcoming adversity, check out the entire Recovering Beautifully series HERE.

I wrote a book about my own struggles and overcoming addiction, it is available on AMAZON.

To Submit your own story to be published on Jugglingthejenkins.com, see my guidelines HERE:

 

 

It was a Saturday during the wee hours of a frigid November morning in 2015 that I had finally been found out.

The wails coming from my hysterical sister’s mouth were horrific. We were on the back patio of her home, and I had just confessed to her my truth—that I was a drug addict.

I was out of options. Just minutes before she had caught me crawling on my hands and knees into her bedroom to steal money out of her wallet, while she and her boyfriend slept less than two feet away.

The day before I had scored enough pain pills to last me through the weekend, only problem was, I had taken them all by 10pm that same evening. I’ve never been one to save for a rainy day.

I had been routinely stealing from my sister for the better part of a year. She was a bartender and she always had a lot of cash on her. $50 here, $100 there. I would pay it back I told myself. I just needed to feel okay for a couple more days, the next two weeks, get through the horrid holiday season. I couldn’t get sick; I had a job to go to, bills to pay, and a boyfriend to keep happy.

So, there we were on the back patio. I was crying at the realization of the pain I caused her, but more so I was crying because I knew that the jig was up. It would be even harder to get money to support my $300 dollar-a-day pill habit. She was crying because her best friend and confidant (that’d be me) had betrayed her in the worst way possible, I had become our mother while no one was looking.

In late January of 2014, my mother became ill, and by March 8th she had succumbed to liver failure, caused by untreated Hepatitis C. She was 58 years old and until the day she died, she was an opiate addict. All the time she was in the hospital, slowly dying, I was taking pain medicine KIND OF as prescribed. They helped me stay void of emotion and talk to the doctors without being hysterical. By the time I knew what hit me, it was too late. My body was dependent on the pills as was my emotional and mental stability on which I relied heavily to ‘do life’.

I didn’t know which way was up. The only direction I had was to the bottom of a pill bottle. Previous to my mother’s passing I had had issues with drinking but was able to stop on will power alone. I was miserable, but I was sober. Her death brought a perfect storm to a head. I had a Hydrocodone prescription from my family doctor to treat migraines and I was in an empty one-sided relationship. It was all too much and I got caught in the undertow.

I began living a double life. Besides my Monday through Friday, 9 to 5 career, I was working a second job as a hustler. From sunrise to sun-up I was on the lookout. I had several drug dealers (all who were pretty lousy at their job, mind you) and a few friends who used me as a middle man to buy pills (which meant I got in on the take). Kinda funny, but I was never good at math until I became a drug addict.

I became a monster, an evil, calculating, and cold-hearted piece of shit. By the end of my active addiction I had created so many lies and fabrications that it was getting hard to keep up with them. I was a horrible employee; I missed work all the time or was puking in the garbage can under my desk. I think I held the record for most doctor visits, flat tires and family emergencies in a calendar year. I was a despicable partner to my boyfriend and an even worse parental figure to his eight-year-old daughter. I couldn’t be a good friend, because I only wanted you around if you served a purpose that would benefit me.

I was never afraid of dying. Dying would have been a welcome reprieve. I was afraid of being alive and feeling the pain that every day undoubtedly held for me.

I had a tumultuous childhood. My three sisters and I were raised by a mother and father who were either miserably sober or not sober at all. I don’t remember a whole lot from before age 10, but I know that most of the time, my home life was not one of peace.

There was a copious amount of yelling, even more crying and tons upon tons of secret keeping. In addition, I was born with a congenital birth defect called Polydactly (malformation of the hands) and by the time I was 10 years old, I had undergone nine reconstructive hand operations.

This caused me to miss a lot of school, a TON of important bonding/developing time with my peers and made me an easy target for asshole kids to pick on. My parents divorced during my first year of middle school and at some point during that year I was diagnosed with Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis.

I had three separate spinal operations over the next year, as the curve was too advanced to brace; the first to determine the cause, the second to affix two titanium rods onto my spine to straighten it and the third was to take out part of the rod they just put in. To this day I’m not exactly sure why. One day while recovering at home I specifically remember telling my mother to stop giving me pain medication because I liked it too much. Talk about foreshadowing. Unfortunately, those operations did nothing and my scoliosis was not corrected. Once again, I was different from my peers. I endured taunting and bullying over the next super-important developmental years, 6th through 12th grade. I was convinced I was a hideous freak who didn’t deserve love. And the person I deserved it from least of all, was myself.

When I was 18, I discovered that alcohol made that negative voice in my head shut up. I didn’t drink every day, but every time I did I made sure I got good and drunk. I can even pinpoint the first time I consciously chose alcohol as an escape. It was at my sister’s wedding in which I was a bridesmaid. I was ecstatic to be standing with her, but that joy was overshadowed by my constant negative inner monologue and the fear that all anyone would see as I walked down the aisle was everything I hated about myself.

As if that wasn’t enough, I was also asked to give a toast during the reception. I wanted to be anywhere else. I proceeded to get nice and tossed at the open bar because I knew it would quiet that voice in my head that told me I wasn’t good enough.

When they caught on to my game at the open bar I went around to tables chugging half empty wine glasses. As for the toast? I don’t remember a word of what I said, and I still refuse to watch the video to find out.

As my life carried on I became the girl who ran from her problems, who relocated when things got tough. I messed up on the regular and always had someone waiting to pick me up when I fell. I relied on the validation of the opposite sex to keep my self-worth afloat. I was sexually assaulted more than once. Somehow, I never got a DUI, but I could have hurt myself and others on numerous occasions. I flunked out of community college and drank my way through a full scholarship AND financial aid. I had no purpose or sense of self, I was floundering and if you had asked me, I wasn’t worth the lint in my pocket.

All the events of my life had brought me to that cold November morning. Soon after my big reveal I found myself picking out a rehab in sunny Orange County. On November 24th, 2015 I woke up in the full throes of withdrawal at Hope by the Sea, a treatment center for substance abuse. I was 31 years old and what seemed to me to be a gigantic failure. I felt shame, guilt, fear, anger. I had done so many horrible and disgusting things, ruined so many relationships with people that I loved and who loved me.

But there was another unfamiliar feeling sprouting through the cracks of my bruised and battered psyche. That feeling was hope. I didn’t have to be this monster anymore. I didn’t have to hustle to find my fix and I didn’t ever have to use again if I didn’t want to, I finally had a choice.

I have been free of all mind-altering substances since that day.

I won’t sugarcoat it; these last three years have not been all rainbows and unicorns. It’s been a rollercoaster. I have gone through things that were horrific. I have watched friends die of this disease, I have lived in my car, I have been in incredible amounts of mental and emotional anguish. I have a diagnosis of Clinical Depression which is a struggle even on good days. But along with the valleys there have been some epic peaks.

Today I am allowed to be in my family’s life and be an aunt to two beautiful nieces and two dare devil nephews. I have healthy relationships with people who count on me and can trust me. I have a job that lets me help others when they are first getting clean. I live life on life’s terms today and every day.

There are days I want to escape it all with the help of substances, because I am still that scared teenager who wants her mind to be quiet. She will always be in there and she will always be a little bit scared and unsure. But sobriety has given me a huge gift. Now, when that girl is scared, she believes me when I tell her she can do it. *

 

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To read more from Coco, the person featured in this weeks article, visit her blog HERE:

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*The following has been submitted to me, and the writer has asked to remain anonymous. Names have been changed to protect the identity of those involved.*

 

I keep telling myself it’s okay to be angry. How could I not be angry after all the anger that my body endured from a man who was supposed to love me.

That being said…

 

Dear Dad,

This is for me, not for you. 

From the prime age of nine, the words “I hate our fucking kids, I wish they were dead.” Curved and shaped the memory of my Limbic System. I don’t blame you for being mad, you did tell us to have the toy room cleaned by the time you were home; we just weren’t quick enough.

Age 10, quite literally over spilt milk I was kicked out of our home and slept in the tree house for four nights. I know the buttons of the remote stuck for a couple weeks, regardless of how well I tried to clean it. It must have been hard for you to watch NASCAR.

My 11th birthday, remember the nail polishes I had received as a gift? I’m sorry I spilt some on the kitchen table… You had every right to slap me.

In Grade 7, I didn’t do too well on my music test. I played the trombone and I hated the trombone. I couldn’t play soccer for the rest of the year until I could be “worth something of value” again. I know you didn’t do well in school, you just wanted me to do better than you.

I was graduating, I’d ask if you remembered… but you weren’t there. You told Mum you weren’t going because it wasn’t important and it was a waste of time. In your defense, the grass needed cut…so you did that instead.

It was supposed to be the best summer yet. I made new friends in high school, we made so many plans and I couldn’t wait to go to Canada’s Wonderland for Amy’s birthday. A couple days before that, you got drunk at Ryan’s house. I had to walk across town to drive you home. I didn’t have a license yet, and accidently backed into the hydro pole and dinged the bumper. I know I should have been looking, but you punched me so hard in the stomach I had a big purple bruise.

I never went to her birthday party. I didn’t want anyone to see the bruise when we were at the water park.

It was the morning of my 17th birthday party. I was blowing snow out of the laneway so all my friends could have a parking spot. Jason was helping, he was a good brother like that. He hit the light post on an accident and the post broke. I told you it was me so you wouldn’t hurt him, you always hurt him more than me and my sister. I stood out in the snow in bare feet as you poured water on me. I left my Facebook open on the computer, and after you let me back inside I read my new status; “parties cancelled because I’m a fuck up.” I guess the light post was expensive.

The next year Mum asked for a divorce. I think after everything, we deserved one.

A life without seeing your face was a life worth living. So, I gathered some hope and held on tight. You threw her clothes out the garage door, my siblings screaming at you as you screamed back. I took down every family photo in that house and ripped your face out of them. I still feel the sting in my feet from when you chased us out the house with a shovel, threatening to dig up the guns buried in the backyard. My feet were numb from the cold, but my heart was worse. I shouldn’t have ripped the last of the family pictures we had.

You found us. Months later, you found us. You broke down the door, and then one by one broke us. You hurt Jason so badly, I wanted to take away his pain and make it mine. So I did, I called out “I hate you, I wish you were dead”. You didn’t take too kindly the words I spoke— that you preached when I was nine.

I must have really hurt your feelings. 

Seven years later and I haven’t seen you since. I worked endlessly, and fought constantly to beat all the demons along the way. In the midst of finding myself, I found Kenneth and then we created Hudson.

He is happy, and healthy and I provide him with everything you didn’t provide me with.

His father is nothing like you, but everything my stepfather is. You ruined us, but someone else put us back together. Filling every scar you left with worth, dignity and presence; leaving pain, discomfort and fear to nothing but a dark memory in the shape of your face.

So, here I am, admitting that my addiction is you.

Admitting that every thought formatted in my brain; leads me right back to you.

My addiction is despising you, my addiction is making excuses for you, my addiction is thanking you, my addiction is wanting to hurt you, my addiction is forgiving you, my addiction is fearing you, my addiction is loving you when all I want to do is to forget you.

I don’t know how I can feel such resentment… and then feel none of it at all. But maybe, just maybe it’s because you gave me nothing, when I gave you my everything.

That being said, this is my first step. From this day forward, you are no longer my addiction, but my recovery. I deserve to recover because I didn’t deserve your torture.

From,

Your oldest daughter.

 

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5 years ago I was happily married, with a beautiful little girl, and the home I always wanted.I felt complete.
I had no knowledge of the demons that were hiding inside of me.
Over time I started to have struggles with the loss of a previous pregnancy, and I wasn’t quite sure how to cope. I turned to alcohol and drugs to block out not only my struggle with the loss of my first pregnancy, but also some childhood issues involving my father.  I thought I had gotten past those issues, but realized that wound was nowhere close to healed.
I started becoming disconnected from my best friend—my husband, my daughter, and my family. Over the years my marriage began crumbling beneath me and I turned to something to numb the pain. After a few weeks of dabbling with opioids, I lost all sight of everything that mattered in my life. I felt like drugs were my only outlet to numb the disappointment I was to my husband, family and myself.
One year later I found myself homeless, husband-less and sure enough, my daughter was taken from me as I plummeted deeper into the life of a heroin addict.
I was dancing for money, begging on the streets and living in places I’d never think I’d live. I felt the loneliest I’d ever felt in my life— but dope was always there to be my best friend. I lost myself completely at that point.
A couple years went by and I continued to use every day, watching people I cared for dying from this horrible drug that I called my “friend”, even though it stole everything important from me.
March 12th 2016, the day before my daughters 4th birthday, I laid in the bed of an abandoned house, at my rock bottom realizing I would miss another birthday. I also realized I was probably going to miss out on watching her grow into a beautiful woman. I knew that if I kept going, I’d soon be dead.
That very night I heard a knock on the door. It was my mother.
She found me, at the worst point of my entire life. Alone, sick, and half dead. I don’t know how she found me after two years, but I knew at that moment she was my Angel, my blessing.
It was now or never. With a little push from my mom I admitted myself into detox. It was the hardest, yet easiest thing I’d ever done in my life (and if you have ever been an addict you will understand what that means).
With some therapy and the support of some very special people, I have two years clean today.
I have my daughter back in my life, a wonderful relationship with my ex-husband, my family, an incredible man to share my life with, a roof over my head, a great job and a beautiful little boy, now 6 months old.
I did have a big bump in the road after getting clean, and today I still believe it was a test. I met an incredible man he brought me to meetings and was my biggest supporter. I fell head over heels for him, and not too long after we became engaged, we found out we were pregnant. Shortly after finding this out, he passed away due to some health issues. He was only 29 years old.
I was only a few weeks pregnant and completely distraught. I knew that this child was my blessing in disguise, despite the horrible tragedy that came along with it all. I stayed strong and fought on. Continued to stay healthy, I named his son after him, and hope to raise him to be the strong man his father was.
I lost a lot of people I loved though everything, and I still look back and wonder who that woman was that I became. What I do know now is, that she has no grip on me anymore. I fight my demons everyday and I probably will for the rest of my life, but not a day goes by that I don’t look at my children and remember what incredible blessings they are. I am proud of the war I fought and won, and I’m inspired by all the people I see today fighting and winning the same battle I did.
My mother was my angel that day and I’ll never forget the moment she helped me rescue myself from the hell I lived in for so long. I see my little sister who can finally look up to me again, my closest friend I have a bond with today we’ve never had before, the gift of my second child, and the spirit of a warrior. No one can take that away from me. I’m so proud of the woman I have become…
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*A life after addiction IS possible, and our stories are proof.*

~To read more stories like Nicole’s, click HERE.

~To submit your own story of recovery, check out the submission guidelines HERE.

*I wrote a book about my own journey through addiction, read the first 5 chapters free, HERE.*

Self Harm & Sexual Abuse. (Triggers)

 

 

I grew up in a very chaotic and abusive family, my father and mother were born into chaotic families themselves and had very little skills in the way of parenting, loving, or emotional/self-regulation.

They did the best they could, but it left me and my brother very confused and unable to function in the world. My brother has had issues with substances most of his life and had issues with the law. In those times life was hectic… but I had a role. I was a peacekeeper, an emotional regulator, a person who came in after the storm and cleaned up. I was very good at this, except when it would become too much for me. That happened infrequently and I was quite happy.

As an adolescent my friend group started to change, I saw no value in people anymore. I was depressed. My addiction to self-injury started when I was 14 years old. Everything was too much for me and my brother was in jail. I felt isolated due to the shame of the situation. Shortly after I was raped, my brother went to college, and my father had a head trauma resulting in a hospitalization. After getting out his job sent him to a drug and alcohol rehab because they felt his “head injury” was actually related to benzo withdrawal.

Our whole family dynamic changed and I felt like I couldn’t handle it. The only relief I got was from the sting of a razor blade… it was the only time I felt like I could take a breath. The rest of the time I felt like I was drowning in depression, anxiety, and isolation.

I left home shortly after my dad got back from rehab due to his inability to control his mood or temper. I moved in with a guy I meant online (should’ve tipped me off there). We were together for a year and a half and got engaged. All the while I had a pocket knife on my side, just in case it got to be “too much.” I spent most of those days depressed and unable to get out of bed. At this time I dropped out of school and got my GED. I tried to work but was unable to, from the multiple psychiatric meds I was put on during a hospitalization from an attempted suicide.

I thought the chaos would be solved by love, that’s what the fairy tales tell you, but the chaos followed me. One night during a huge argument we broke up, my immediate reaction was to try to slit my throat with my pocket knife. As I pressed it into my flesh I realized he wasn’t worth it and left a long scratch on my neck.

I moved back home and my addiction had taken off. I woke up and cut my hands on a daily basis. I picked at my skin in an attempt to feel calm and okay. I was a mess, and being back in my family home with the chaos that I no longer could stand, it just wasn’t working. So I lived in my car, I would park it at truck stops overnight. I stayed in a motel. All the while using my addiction to cope with the world. I was convinced that self-harm was the solution.

I was defective and this is what I have to do to survive. I am not cut out for this world. (All the lies I told myself to fuel my addiction.

I was convinced I had nothing to give, I was worth nothing, I was bad and disgusting and a victim to everyone and everything. All the things that were done to me, were because I somehow deserved it. I didn’t deserve to eat, or be happy, or be loved. I had a vagina and that’s all the men wanted, so I let them use me, telling myself that this was all I could get in life, so I might as well take it. I felt like I was in a living hell.

A “boyfriend” of mine had told me he didn’t love me over the phone. At that exact moment, I was already cutting myself from a previous “discretion” of mine. I cut so deep and so hard that my flesh broke open. It literally looked like someone was doing surgery on my leg.

I immediately panicked I didn’t mean to do this much damage. I knew I needed to go to the hospital but I was scared they were going to commit me and I was not a fan of the psych hospital. So I put some duct tape on my leg, elevated it and went to bed.

6 hours later I woke up, feeling wet like I had peed the bed.

I looked down and my bed was saturated with blood. It looked like someone was murdered. I ran to grab a towel and drops of blood flew off me leaving a trail. I called my best friend at the time and he told me to go to the ER and just lie to them so that I didn’t get committed, which I did.

They didn’t buy my story, but they also didn’t commit me. A very nice social worker told me that my story didn’t seem right, she told me that she was a mother and could sense I needed some help. She gave me her card and told me to call her if I needed anything.

I left the hospital and went to throw my beloved pocket knife in the river. After I did I called that social worker and told her I lied, I had heard about an intensive outpatient program for mental health that I would like to go to.

I ended up being at that intensive outpatient for 5 months. I had become motivated and convinced that my life had to change, or I would die.

Those first months were tough, trying to struggle with not having the only coping mechanism I had made it difficult to deal with the world.

After I was discharged from the program my counseling staff recommended I go to a 12-step program in my area. It is listed at the beginning of the telephone book.

That was 7 years ago.

I celebrated my 6th anniversary in March and I couldn’t be happier. I became pregnant with my first daughter shortly after my last relapse and she is 5 years old now.

I went to nursing school and became a licensed practical nurse (I have a career?!) I have a support group of friends who I can call anytime day or night whenever I need them. I have fixed relationships with my family in ways that I have never thought possible.

I also have made it my work to help people like me. I have worked in mental health and drug and alcohol the whole time I have been a nurse. To this day I work with addicts and alcoholics like myself.

Life is still hard, and I still have my challenges but when I was in my active addiction I felt like every day I was actively dying and now that I am in recovery I feel like every day I am actively living.

I try my best to remain in the present and when I fall short, I accept my humanness and flaws. It’s not “perfect” but it’s way more than I ever thought possible.

I now have 2 daughters and most of the time I actually pass as normal! I can’t tell you how grateful I am to have been given the gift of recovery. Whoever reads this and finds themselves in this, I hope you realize you are stronger than you think. You got this!

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*A life after addiction IS possible, and our stories are proof.*

 

~To read more stories like Kirsta’s, click here.

~To submit your own story of recovery, check out the submission guidelines here.

*I wrote a book about my own journey through addiction, read the first 5 chapters free, HERE.*

 

 
Four years ago, I was a stay-home mom to two beautiful children. Despite being in an unfulfilling marriage and feeling like a desperate housewife, my children gave me purpose.

Over time, the demands of motherhood and beginning a new career to get out of the home and find myself again, proved too much, too overwhelming. Riddled with anxiety and battling feelings of guilt, not measuring up and always on the brink of sinking, I sought comfort in an old friend, wine.

It started after work, while I was cooking. Uncorking the bottle always gave me relief and though I would finish the bottle quickly and the rest of the night would be a blur, it did the job of numbing the pain of an empty, lonely marriage and dulled the feelings of anxiety.

Soon enough, I was drinking earlier and earlier in the day, just waiting for the morning kiddo drop off so I could get home and drink, then sober up enough to pick them up from school. Then I’d do it all over again that night and the next day, day after day after day.

Eventually, the drinking became my sole focus. It’s all I wanted to do and one night after a day long drinking binge, I decided to drive to the store.

You can guess what happened next.

I was pulled over, slapped in a pair of handcuffs and arrested for a DUI. I had to pay thousands of dollars in court costs, was placed on a three year probation and served a week of house arrest.

As if that weren’t enough to scare me straight, I kept right on drinking. Eventually, my marriage fell apart and I filed for divorce from my husband of thirteen years and found an apartment. Now I didn’t have any accountability and no one to stop me from drinking. Luckily, I began dating a God- fearing man who, despite my shenanigans, loved me for me, the sober me, the REAL me.

He saw to my heart. I knew I needed to stop drinking but didn’t want to yet, and I hadn’t reached my bottom.

I was drinking at every opportunity and looking back, can’t understand why God spared my life and my kid’s lives so many times. No occasion was immune to my drinking and no event too sacred to b.y.o.b.

I drank while driving, while supervising my children at the pool, at their soccer games, in parking lots, before church, before work…any time. My boyfriend became used to me being drunk most nights and passing out shortly after dinner. He had grown close to my children and loved them like his own so though he wanted to leave me and my drinking behind, he couldn’t leave them.

After one too many fights, I flew into a rage and he almost left for good. I lied through my teeth, straight to his face that I hadn’t drank, but he knew better. Who was I kidding?? The bottom for me was seeing how much destruction I had caused. I had destroyed one marriage already, the trust of most of my family, and now I was ready to lose the one person who had held on for so long.

I couldn’t do that to my kids again.

I couldn’t fathom losing this man, and myself in the process. I was one blackout, one DUI, one risky decision away from killing myself or someone else. I was tired of checking for damage on my car the morning after, and googling “hit and runs” in my area just to make sure I wasn’t a wanted criminal.

I was tired of numbing my feelings and not facing my past. I had seen the look of fear in my little girl’s blue eyes and the words “Mommy, you’re scaring me. You’re acting weird” haunt me to this day.

I knew I had to change. I had the will, and I knew God would get me there if I only surrendered. I began to attend local support meetings and found camaraderie in others who were struggling. I got real. I made apologies, mended relationships and cried out to the Lord in earnest for the first time ever.

The Lord saved me. Let me say that again. He. Saved. Me. There’s no other way to explain it. No other way to explain a marriage proposal from the man of my dreams, having custody of my kids today, my parental rights totally unscathed, a beautiful home, right back to being a stay home mom, full of happiness.

My life has come full circle and this time around, I have an unspeakable joy that only comes from my Lord and savior, Jesus Christ. I am a NEW person today. I beat the odds. I got a second chance on this life here on earth. I get to see clearly every day. I don’t have to look over my shoulder and I’m not hungover or too tired from the night before to enjoy the right here, right now.

My kids make me laugh and my husband spoils me for reasons I’ll never understand. I have everything I need. Recovery is a bear. It is painful. I still have cravings and some nights I just want to escape. But. It will never be worth it for me. I have almost one year sober, next month. The other day, my now ten year old daughter said, “Hey mommy, know what next month is? July 12th?” My heart started beating fast. She knew. She remembered and she saw me all along.

If nothing else, I owe it to my family and to the Lord to prove to others that it’s possible. My second chance has come and I’m taking it. I’m not waiting to see if there’s a third. Life is sweet. Hang in there and grit your teeth if you’re going through recovery. It WILL be hard and you will doubt yourself but you will NEVER regret it.

 

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Read Stories Like Emily’s

Submit Your Own Story

I Wrote a Book About My Own Addiction Here

 

Last Tuesday, my alarm didn’t have a chance to go off as it is on most days. My one year old daughter babbled softly in her crib; the monitor a beacon on my nightstand. I caffeinated and tip-toed around my sleeping husband and blew my hair dry and snuggled my baby and fed the dog. Notoriously, I ran out of the house seven minutes too late with half of my coffee still on the bathroom counter. Where it most likely stayed for far too much time.

I worked and worked in my small, yellow-walled office. It was Spring Break and all was quiet for just the week. Emails were sent, contracts were reviewed, budgets were balanced and I ate a healthy lunch and drank enough water (finally). Errands were ran, dinners were made, baths were had, foreheads were kissed and a slobbery dog snoozed in the corner. It was, by all accounts, a normal Tuesday.

It was also one year to the day that I returned home from an eight day stay at a psychiatric hospital.

As it turns out, you can be normal and crazy all at the same time.

The details of my stay are dim and scary; a scar on my memory that has just finally closed up. Talking about it no longer stings the corners of my eyes or leaves my chest too heavy and too warm. In fact, sometimes getting the words out into the air expels the bad energy, making room for the good. It aids the healing.

But this isn’t about the details. This is about the terrible and glorious aftermath.

The climb from the pit where the dirt feels like quicksand and your knuckles are bloodied by your fight to get out. You can’t see past the backsliding earth blurring your vision and putting grit in your teeth. But there is a climb. And you will dig your fingers into the walls and make yourself a stair. And then another. And then another.

So yes, we’re going to talk about the ugly middle. Because there are no secrets here. You cannot afford keeping your truths locked away behind your ribcage when your heartbeat gives you away. These things, I’ve learned.

I’ve learned that pain is a useful tool. And can be of God. I’ve learned that every once in a blue moon, if you squint just this way and tilt your head that way and really listen, you can see a glimpse of God’s plan. The divine spark that burns somewhere deep in the middle of your core will flicker to life and warm your bones and tell you that you were brought here. And in the middle of the ugliness and pain, God plants a seed; a breath of an idea. And the fruit of that vine that will grow from that seed may seem like an insurmountable future, an impossible happiness, and you may or may not tend to it as it settles in and takes life beyond you.

But that’s the funny thing about life. It will tend to the seed, allowing it to sprout in your belly and grow winding little tendrils that will reach from your fingers to your toes to your head and finally, your heart. (Turns out that process can take about a year. Give or take).

So all the while, I’m tending to my brain. A fallible organ. A chemical warfare. Where a few doctors, a little time, and a lot of prayer were my only hope. And all the while, He tended to His seed and lo and behold, here I am. With a deep sense of joy and purpose. And a dream to help anyone in the pit, digging their own stairway out.

This is what I’m called for. I just know it in my bones. And the fire in my soul. The sharp and longing pain has been answered with a light and conviction setting connections in my life on fire. Little sparks of His plan are flashing all around me and my eyes are finally clear enough to see them. The timing couldn’t be more correct with this flood of spirit and warmth and life and energy. One of my favorite songs speaks, “So like the rain come drench us in love, and let your glory rush in like a flood.”

The flood is here.

And if you’re in the middle of the pit, know this:

I will throw a rope. I will dig in my heels. And I will pull with all my might.

 

By: Aubrie Montgomery

(http://newmontgomery.blogspot.com)

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*To read more stories like Aubrie’s, click HERE.

 

*I wrote a book about my own journey through the consequences of my addiction, and it’s available on Amazon!

 

*To Submit your own story of hope, read the guidelines HERE.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I recently celebrated six years clean and sober. How is it possible that the before photo was really me at one time.?

I can’t believe I’ve made it this far. I remember getting arrested that morning six years ago like it was yesterday. I was so lost and so broken. I was only a shell of a person… because everything inside me had died.

My husband and I were living in a roach-infested motel – high on every drug we could get our hands on. We had lost everything we had… including custody of our daughter.

We always talked about our hopes and dreams, and how one day we would get her back and get clean, but when you are lost in that dark hole it seems there will never be an end.

That morning of my arrest there was loud banging on the door— which we knew could only be one thing.

The warrant officer’s were there to take me in, and I immediately knew I wouldn’t be getting out of jail any time soon, because I had too much I had to answer for.

Two days later, surprisingly, my husband had actually packed up everything in that nasty motel room, stayed the night at his mothers … and the next morning decided to go to rehab.

I ended up getting eight months in jail.  At this point I had been to at least 20 different rehabs, and been locked up at least 30 times. I had been running the streets for well over 10 years, but this time… Something was different. I actually took the time to focus on myself instead of all of the drama and crap going on in and out of the jail.

My husband completed rehab, moved into a halfway house, got a job and started creating a relationship with our daughter.

By the time I was released, he had a cute little place for us to move in to, and our daughter was waiting with him to pick me up the morning I was released Aug. 9th, 2012.

This is where the real work started. Since my husband and I already had the dynamics of using together, the odds of us getting clean together were less than 1% … So we didn’t stand a very good chance.

One day at a time we worked together; and as it turns out, we both really did want the same thing. Some how, some way, that feeling of wanting to use was lifted. I chased visitation with my daughter like I chased my drugs. My husbands parents had custody of our daughter, and slowly, we earned rights. It didn’t happen overnight, we had to prove ourselves and I was ready to do that.

In 2013 We got custody of our daughter back…

There have been so many wonderful things that have happened since then. There have been ups and downs… But I never used again.

Today is such a gift. I have re-established relationships with people that I thought were forever lost, and I’m closer than ever with my family. In fact, I actually had a big family reunion at my home in 2015 …The same year my husband and I welcomed a healthy baby boy.
I have worked hard and finally overcome the demons inside me that led me to that awful place to begin with.

I’m sharing this in hopes that this will touch somebody…and if they are in the same place that I was, or if you know somebody that is in active addiction, change is possible.
There was a time where people didn’t even want to stand next to me in line at the store, and now people actually like me and want to be around me.

If a low-down, dirty, former junkie like me can change… Anybody can do it.

I am blessed beyond my wildest dreams. Oh, and My husband and I will be celebrating 10 years of marriage this year.

Thanks for listening and letting me share.

 

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An AMAZING Life After Addiction IS Possible… We Are Proof!

If you have a story of recovery from addiction, depression, self-harm, eating disorders, gambling, sex addiction—or anything else you have overcome and want to share, check out the submission guidelines HERE:

To read more stories like Ambree’s, click HERE:

I wrote a book about my own dark journey through addiction, and you can read the first five chapters on Amazon for free HERE:

 

From as early as I can remember, I’ve never felt comfortable in my own skin.

The outsides never matched the insides. I had it all growing up. Love from my parents, privileges, opportunities, and material items. Yet somehow, I was never happy and always wanted more.

From a very young age I acted out, got in trouble, and sought negative attention in one way or the other – all for moments of instant gratification. Once I’d get in trouble, I’d stop what I was doing and move on to something else.

Until I found the magical combination of alcohol and cocaine shortly after moving to Chicago from NYC in 2002.

It was magical because for the first time in my life, I finally felt at ease. I could be whoever I wanted with anyone I met. It was fun at first. My evenings were spent at clubs with people doing the same things I was doing… so it seemed “normal”.

After ten years of drinking and using regularly, it progressed to the point where it was no longer fun—and became the only solution I had for anything in life. And I couldn’t stop.

During this time I got married and had my first child. When he was two, my wife (now ex- wife) got pregnant with our second child. When my wife was about 8 months pregnant, I abandoned my family and booked a one way ticket to New York, where I went on a seven day bender.

Upon returning, I rented an apartment away from my family and was holed up drinking and using around the clock.

On 4/30/14 I received a call from my wife that she was in labor.  I took a bottle of vodka and all the cocaine I had with me, and headed to the hospital. She didn’t give birth that night and we were sent home.

I was standing outside of my apartment and overhead two people I had never met before talking – one mentioned something about a sponsor. I had been up for 72 hours and didn’t know if I was imagining it, so I approached him and asked if he was talking about AA.

When he said “yes”, I began crying and told him I needed help. Without hesitation he said “you don’t ever need to drink again. I got you”. One hour later we went to a meeting… and I’ve never turned back.

That was 5/2/14. I just celebrated 4 years.

My life today is unbelievable. I worked the steps in early sobriety and continue to do so. I am the father of two beautiful boys and share custody with my ex-wife. One of the greatest gifts of sobriety is that she and I are FRIENDS. I abandoned her 8 months pregnant and today I get to call her a friend. Unreal! Each day, through my relationship with my higher power, service in AA, and showing up for life – the insides now match the outsides. I am and will forever be eternally grateful.

Thank you,
Gary

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Do YOU have an inspiring story of recovery from addiction you’d like to share with the world? I am currently taking submissions for stories of hope from any and all types of addictions, (self harm, sex addiction, food addiction, enabling, gambling, etc).

Please READ the submission guidelines before submitting. They are HERE.

To read more stories like this, click HERE.

I have written a book about my own journey through addiction, and it is available on Amazon in ebook and paperback HERE.

 

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…

 

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A Life After Addiction IS Possible… We Are Proof!

 

Do YOU have an inspiring story of recovery from addiction you’d like to share with the world? I am currently taking submissions for stories of hope from any and all types of addictions, (self harm, sex addiction, food addiction, enabling, gambling, etc).

Please READ the submission guidelines before submitting. They are HERE.

To read more stories like this, click HERE.

I have written a book about my own journey through addiction, and it is available on Amazon in ebook and paperback HERE.

I had a wonderful childhood. Hard working father and a loving and
attentive mother. I have one brother, two years my junior and we were
very close growing up. Middle class family in a beautiful
neighborhood. The picture perfect “normal” family.

I met and fell in love with a fella when I was eighteen years old. We married at 22
and started our family at 27. We had three beautiful boys. I began
my nursing career in the ER the same year my first son was born. My
husband began his career as a Firefighter/Paramedic at that time as
well.

That year, he began to change.

The affairs started soon after. To the outside world, we were the picture perfect family, and I worked incredibly hard to keep up that façade – slowly losing myself in the process.

He had more than thirty affairs, and I was at a complete loss. I had reached a point where I was unable to find joy any longer. All I knew was that I was a good mom and a good nurse.

He asked me for a divorce in 2010, and finally… I felt an incredible sense of
relief.

I spent the next few years getting to know myself again, while
raising my boys alone because he was off to marriage number two. I
slowly began to socialize for the first time in my adult life.

Most of the friends I spent time with drank when we went out. Alcohol
hadn’t been part of my life very much, but that seemed to be all anyone did when we went out, so I eventually joined in.

It helped me relax and be more outgoing.  I started drinking wine at home,
and that quickly became a nightly thing. In one year’s time I was
drinking every single night after the boys were in
bed.

That’s when I noticed all the tears and buried emotions from
years prior starting to surface. In 2014 my now ex-husband said he
wanted to be more involved with the boys, so we moved closer to him.
He was in a relationship with a girl who was awful to my kids. It was
very difficult and I continued my nightly drinking to cope with the
influx of chaos.

I was swimming in self pity. I remember
distinctly a conversation with my best friend when I told her
something was wrong. That I felt dead inside and couldn’t figure out
why.

One day I found out I had a kidney stone. I was prescribed
Norco for pain, and it was the perfect storm. I was in a dark place and
already using alcohol to numb the pain, when I added the pill to the mix, I was instantly hooked.

Within three months I was buying them from a drug
dealer, and taking up to 50 a day.

I reached a point when even that wasn’t enough, so I decided I was going to steal
Dilaudid from the Pyxis at work.

I glanced at myself in the mirror that day. I had gotten used to not doing that very often because I didn’t even recognize myself. I saw the reality of what I had become
and knew that I was heavily addicted, and that once I diverted
narcotics from work, there was no turning back.

When you take medications from the Pyxis, you have to use your fingerprint.
At that point I had lost the ability to care. Most nights I prayed I
wouldn’t wake up the next day. I felt there was nothing left for me.
I was broken inside, I had now committed a crime, and I truly didn’t care. The pull of the drugs was so intense that I continued on the path of destruction for weeks.

Due to lack of sleep, too many pills and some alcohol, I blacked out on Easter Sunday. The only memories I had were my kids trying to wake me up the next morning. I continued to use for two more days, then made the best decision of my life. I called
the Nursing Board and told them I was a drug addict, and that I didn’t
know how to stop.

They put me in the diversion program and suspended
my license.

April 8, 2015 is my sobriety date. I told my family I had a problem
and they were devastated. It was like the fall of the golden child.
I had to move in with my parents and detoxed on their bathroom floor
with no meds. Three days of pure hell.

On the 4th day I drove myself to an NA meeting. I had no money for treatment so I found a county facility that offered to help me. I sold my truck to pay for treatment, and went five days a week for 14 weeks.

When I was four months sober my storage unit was auctioned off because I couldn’t make the payments. I literally lost every material possession of my life, including all of my kids belongings.

At the time it was devastating, but thankfully I had an amazing sponsor that walked me
through all the feels that came with that loss. I ended up being
grateful that it was all gone. I was a new person.

I was able to recognize my character defects and be accountable for everything in my
life. The victim mentality was lifting. I was watching an episode of
Intervention one night and I saw a treatment center on the show that
was close to me. I decided I would apply for a job there (I was still
unable to work as an RN) so I applied for a weekend position in their
detox as support staff.

They hired me and within a month they asked
me to take over the Operations Department. It was a huge load because
it was a 110 bed inpatient residential facility. I excelled at it,
and my self worth began to rebuild.

When I was six months sober, I received a call from a detective. He said there was a warrant for my arrest. The hospital had charged me with diverting narcotics.

He told me to put my name on the calendar at the courthouse and face the
charges. I was terrified. I had no money for an attorney and no idea what was about to happen. I went to court alone and I found that they had charged me with 28 felonies.

They assigned me a public defender, and despite the fact that the District Attorney wanted me in jail,  I was able to get a deal. Two felonies and 180
days work release. I was accountable for what I had done, I never
denied it.

I knew taking this deal would prevent me from ever
working as a nurse again, but I took it anyway.

In lieu of doing work release they put me on 90 days house arrest. My sons
had to go live with their dad at that time (and he didn’t want them).

I survived that 90 days of wearing an ankle monitor and got my
boys back right away. Literally one day after my house arrest was
complete, I was promoted in my job to Program Director.

Today I have been clean and sober for a little more than three years. I
had to surrender my nursing license, but I was able to do so with
grace.

I held onto being a nurse for so long because it was such a
huge part of my identity. Today I realize… I am so much more. I’m a wonderful and
attentive mom, I am genuine friend, I do everything in my life with
honesty and integrity. I work on my recovery every single day and
always strive to grow. I lead by example in my position as Program
Director. I lost everything three years ago and have rebuilt my life
completely differently, and better than I could have imagine.

Our treatment center was featured on an episode of
Intervention recently, and I was on the show. I got to be there for someone’s
first day in treatment and be part of her journey. She has now been
sober for 13 months and I just gave her a job as detox support staff.

Everything comes full circle in life. Living amends are so important and
I wouldn’t change one, single bit of my life. I am grateful for a connection
with my Higher Power, and that spiritual connection is what I hold onto
most.

Thanks for letting me share…

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I grew up the youngest of four, in Ohio.

I dabbled in every drug known to man: pot, acid, brown mescaline, and I recall something from the late 70’s we took called horse tranquilizers?

I’d hang with kids going to keggers, and waking up in bushes with no shoes on thinking it was hilarious. In the 90’s, I joined a band and we’d tour around the North East Ohio area, and we spent most of our time drinking and doing a little coke here and there.

After moving to Phoenix, my coke habit escalated, and eventually I began to use meth. I left the area where my parents lived and moved my camper to a pretty nasty part of southern Phoenix, where crime and automatic gunfire was a nightly event.

The place I lived had about twelve homes in the neighborhood, and those homes were filled with spun out paranoid tweakers. Each stole from the other, and I’d see some fancy electronics travel from person to person in a weird take and take cycle.

There were nightly expeditions around midnight, where 6-12 guys and gals would venture out into the night dressed in black and returning just before sunrise with their ill-gotten gains from who knows where.

I told the ringleader guy,  who happened to be in my band, that I didn’t wanna know what they did and didn’t care, I was there to play guitar and get high, period. Most were white supremacists and I’d often see them return home agitated and bloody. Again, I didn’t want to know…

I did heroin one night by mistake and was sick for 3 days. I actually thought this was my end— but miraculously I pulled through…only to use again as soon as I felt better.
One day someone came to me while I was practicing and asked, “Is your dads name ___ ?” “Yeah, how’d ya know? I replied. They said “He’s walking up the driveway right now.”  I felt the blood leave my face, and the shame instantly wash over me.

Dad looked at my frail, thin, sore-covered face and my long dirty hair in disgust, “What are you doing son? You look like a skeleton.” I had never been so ashamed.

He took me to McDonald’s for a bag of burgers, and reluctantly left me there with some parting words about how “I’m ruining my life” and “better get my stuff together or I’ll be dead”, which I stubbornly ignored.

Crime was a major part of life where I lived. Just to stay fed, or alive was a daily challenge.

My camper was in the ringleader’s driveway and one night I heard a burst of rapid automatic weapon fire. Some ricocheted off nearby brick homes, making that distinct bullet “ping” only heard in cowboy movies. It was in that moment I decided me and my girlfriend were close to death and had to split— which we did he very next morning—and we never looked back.

I knew that if I didn’t make a change, I was going to die, and if not for my strong will to stop using, and my parents unconditional love, I’d not be here. Since I truly wanted to stop, it was easy to, thankfully.

I’ve been clean and sober now for so long I’ve stopped counting.

Since I’ve gotten clean I’ve done pretty well for myself. My family and I moved to North Carolina and I spent many years working alongside my father. I’m grateful we were able to have that time to strengthen our bond before his sudden passing.

I spend my days taking care of my mom and running my own business… and playing guitar of course…

 

I knew from a very early age that both of my parents were addicted to drugs.

By the time I was fourteen my mom had left us to go be with some guy. When I was seventeen, a senior in high school, my dad was handed four –  99 year sentences.

Despite this fact, I was still able to graduate with honors. I was living with my older sister at the time, and everything was fine up until the point that her abusive boyfriend gave her an ultimatum, she had to choose between him, or me.

I came “home” to a locked door, and my belongings sitting out on the front porch.

I felt like my entire family had abandoned me. I had struggled with depression for quite some time and usually ended up resorting to cutting myself just to ease the emotional pain I was dealing with. A short while later, however, I found a new way to cope.

I was dating a man that was eight years older than me, and fresh out of prison. He was my first real boyfriend. I had always been the innocent girl, and he was the bad boy. We were in love, and I was desperate not to be left by yet another person I loved. So, when I found out he was doing Meth,  I couldn’t say no. He might leave. At 18 years old I started my relationship with Meth.

My boyfriend and I had been together for four years, and at age 21 I found out I was pregnant, and I stopped doing drugs completely. He didn’t.

A month after our baby was born, he ended up going out and shooting a woman, almost killing her.  He was sentenced to 40 years in prison.

Once again, I found myself alone…abandoned. I turned back to Meth just to help me get up in the morning. It was the only way I was able to get anything done.

My boyfriend had been working for the landlord of the house we were living in, in exchange for rent and now that he was in jail… I was told I had to move.

I moved in with my boyfriends mother, but months later when she found out I was seeing someone else—she kicked me out. I had no where to go, so she kept my daughter.
Next she took the car away from me that was hers. I had been paying to use it every week so I could get to work. Without a way to work I lost my job.

In the span of just a few months, I had lost my boyfriend, baby, house, car, and job. My addiction was really taking over, and would end up ruling my life for the next three years.

I stayed here and there bouncing between my sisters, grandmothers, uncle’s (who was a dope dealer) and “friends”. I spent countless nights hungry, and freezing cold in my old jeep with nowhere to go.

On March 16th of 2016 I was tired, and I couldn’t take it anymore. I walked up the stairs in the house I’d been staying at and took over 60 of the pills that I had been prescribed for depression and sleep.

I woke up unable to see, or feel my body. Next thing I know I’m waking up in the hospital. I was in and out of consciousness. My whole body jerked spontaneously for three days afterward and I could hardly walk because my legs had very little feeling in them. Luckily, this wasn’t permanent.

I was sentenced by a judge to go to a mental hospital for up to fourteen days. I was considered a danger to myself and others. At the mental hospital I was diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder—which explained a lot, but after eight days I was released… and I went straight back to the drugs.

May 27th of 2017, I was 24, out of dope, out of ways to get it and feeling incredibly hopeless. So I did something I hadn’t done in a long time. I turned to God for answers.

I asked God, “Why does everyone leave me?” and he said, “I will never leave you. I love you.”

“How could you love me Lord?”

“You’re my child. I love all my children.”

I broke down and decided right then and there that I had to put those days behind me. Now, almost a year later… I’m still clean.

I am an active member in church, and for the first time in a long time, I’m happy. I’ve also realized that I’m not alone. That I never was. I’m pursuing a relationship with my daughter, and have mended relationships with family members. With God anything is possible, and he will love you no matter what.

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Each week I like to share stories of recovery, in hopes of inspiring those who are struggling and losing hope. There is no such thing as a lost cause, and the stories in this series are proof of that. Keep hope alive.

I have written a book about my own dark journey through addiction and out the other side. It’s available on Amazon HERE.

If you’d like to submit your own story, check out the guidelines for submission HERE.

WE FINALLY HAVE RECOVERING BEAUTIFULLY T-SHIRTS IN THE SHOP! Get yours HERE!

I wish I could take credit for “The Toolbox”, but it’s actually something I was introduced to when I first got clean.

A woman named Sharon would talk about it every  morning, at the 7:30 Wake-up meeting.  It was actually her answer for everything:

Bad day? “The Toolbox”.

Boyfriend cheating? “The Toolbox”.

Company Christmas party? “The Toolbox”.

 

For a long time, it used to aggravate me. I would think to myself, “Hey Sharon, how’s about you pipe down with “The Toolbox” crap, and contribute something meaningful to the conversation?” I honestly thought something was wrong with her. Perhaps the drugs had fried her brain to the point where she only knew two words and those were it.

It wasn’t until I was alone in the rain at the bus stop a few months later, that everything that woman ever said about that damn toolbox suddenly made sense.

I wasn’t expecting my old drug dealer to pull into the gas station next to the bus stop, and I certainly didn’t wake up that day with the intention of having the fight of my life with myself either.

The bass from his speakers rattled the trunk of his Escalade, and it immediately sent chills down my spine. Six months earlier, that sound would have caused me to sprint into the front yard practically tripping over myself as he arrived to drop off my goods.

Here he was, ten feet away – and here I was, with six months clean on a park bench, waiting for the bus back to rehab from the health department. I always felt so special, because the owner of the rehab trusted me enough to navigate through town on my own after only having been there two months.  Truthfully, the trust they showed made me feel responsible, like each time I returned to the house, it was a mini victory.

Today however, I realized how foolish it was for them to give me that freedom – because I was about to f*** it all up. 

My mouth watered as he exited the gas station, holding up his sagging pants with one hand, and carrying a scratch off ticket with the other. He was so close I could almost see the diamonds in his teeth.

As I went to push myself off of the bench with the intention of calling out to him, I suddenly heard Sharon’s raspy, stupid voice in my head; “The Toolbox”.

I closed my eyes and took a deep, frustrated breath… That f***ing toolbox.

The bus pulled up 11 seconds later…and I stepped on.

As I trudged to the back row of seats, my flip-flops ‘squishing’ with each step, I began to sob. It felt as if I had just walked away from the love of my life, knowing I would never see him again. I wanted to use, but I wanted to be clean. Those two desires dancing around in my heart made it almost impossible to breathe.

Ever since that day at the bus stop, I’ve reached into my toolbox at least once a day. 

See, we all have this, “Toolbox”, and each of us possess different tools.  For about ten years of my life, my toolbox consisted of one thing only—drugs.

When I was sad, I reached into the toolbox and grabbed a pill.

If I was depressed, I grabbed a pill.

Happy? Angry? Excited? Confused? Pill, pill, pill, pill.

When I made the decision to get clean, my toolbox was suddenly – empty.  I would feel an emotion, and furiously dig into my toolbox, only to come up empty-handed.  I had no coping mechanisms, nothing to clutch on to in those times of turmoil. So what the hell was I supposed to do? 

They say the best thing about getting clean is that you feel again, and the worst thing about getting clean is…that you feel again.

What was I supposed to do with all these new feelings? These feelings that—up until that point had never had a chance to bubble to the surface, because the moment I felt them rising I had shoved them back down with my “tool”.

Sharon had a simple explanation for this; “Put more shit in your toolbox.”

The day before the bus stop, my father had come to visit me at the rehab center.  He was walking with a cane, as he was in the process of undergoing experimental chemo treatments that made him weak. We spent the hour laughing, reminiscing, and chasing lizards.

Before he left he gave me a great, big hug, and he pulled away he squeezed my shoulders and whispered, “I am so proud of you, my beautiful daughter.”

I didn’t know it, but I had subconsciously taken that ounce of pride my father had given me, and placed it into my toolbox.  The very next day, I would have to reach in, and draw from the strength my Dad left me with, and that was the first, of many tools I have added to my collection over the years.

My toolbox today consists of: music, meditation, bubble baths, chocolate (this probably isn’t the best tool, but it’s in there none the less), my children, my goals, and the fact that my mom and dad are now in Heaven cheering me on from the clouds.

When the kids are driving me crazy and I want to unleash the fury of a thousand dragons, I reach in and grab my “five-minute-time-out card”. I give myself five minutes to decompress, and re-enter the room with a more calm demeanor.

When I want to isolate, I reach in and grab my address book filled with people in recovery to cheer me up and remind me how awesome I am.

When I want to give up, I reach in and grab the video my supporters made for me, where they each took turns talking about how I’ve impacted them and how my words matter.

We all have the ability to fill our toolboxes with things that allow us to navigate life on life’s terms, without feeling the need to turn to drugs.

My worst day clean is still a thousand times better than my best day high, and I am so grateful to have found what works for me, and apply it to my life daily.

I’m also incredibly grateful for Sharon, for talking about that stupid toolbox, because it has changed my life in ways that I can’t begin to explain.

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What’s in your toolbox?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The first time I snorted a Percocet, I knew I had found what I had been looking for; something to fill the void in my soul.

 

Something to curb the depression and numb the anxiety. I had tried Vicodin before, but this was different. My body was warm, my smile was almost genuine, and for once I felt okay in my own skin.

I had dropped out of college and was working minimum wage fast food and retail jobs to get by. Technically I was homeless, but my best friend’s mom was kind enough to let me stay there. She was also the only person (outside my small circle of friends) who could see through my bullshit.

She knew I was using and I knew I couldn’t hide it from her. She was the only one who ever tried to help me, and when she died, I knew she was so angry at me as I cried, filling my nose with Percocet. That is how I dealt with everything.

Time went by, but nothing ever changed. It was always the same cycle of work and finding pills and doing them. Nobody knew I was using, and I was damn good at keeping it a secret. Every rundown apartment and every lonely night was okay with me, because I had a fist full of pills that made everything better.

When I met Jason*, his presence took away some of my pain; the rest was numbed with pills. We shared everything, and it wasn’t long before I realized he was my soul mate. We lived together, ate together, went on adventures together, and, above all, we used together.

When we got our first apartment together, we were both thrilled. Peace and quiet, no roommates or parents to worry about; it was just us. As luck would have it, our property manager lived below us, and he just so happened to be a dealer, therefore we had an endless supply of my drug of choice.

Each day was the same routine: wake up, get high, go to work, come home and go to bed. Wake up just to do it all over again. Until one day, our world flipped upside down.

When the test showed positive, I couldn’t breathe.

We both wanted kids—but we were both addicts. For nine long months I managed to stay sober. When my son arrived, we were both overcome with a love we had never felt before. As we settled into a routine, parenting became real and we did our best to get through each day. When our property manager came knocking, it became impossible to say no.  I was terrified, because now we had a baby to care for, but I couldn’t resist temptation and fell back into the cycle of using.

When my son was five months old, I found out I was pregnant again. I was shocked, and a million times more afraid than I was when I found out I was pregnant with my son. I was an addict, with a five month old baby, and another on the way.

The guilt of using while I was pregnant, and the fear of getting caught by the police or the doctors was overwhelming. Finally, Jason* and I talked, and we both knew what had to be done. That was my moment. I couldn’t do this anymore. My dad chose alcohol over me, and I could not allow myself to chose drugs over my babies.

When I was eight months pregnant, I checked into an outpatient clinic, and one month later, I gave birth to a beautiful, healthy baby girl and began medication assisted treatment. I know there is a lot of controversy regarding medication assisted treatment, but I made it where I am today because of it.

I hear all the time that because I am still on MAT I am not “actually sober”. This is part of the reason that most people still don’t even know I am a recovering addict. The stigma around those who choose to participate in MAT is appalling. We are doing our best to get by and stay clean and it seems that no matter how hard we try or what methods we use, we are still called “junkies”.

If taking a medication daily—that some don’t approve of— means I am able to take care of my children, hold a job and maintain a 4.0 GPA, I will gladly face their disapproval.

Regardless of how someone decides to get/stay sober, I think it is absolutely crucial that we build each other up instead of tearing one another down.

Today I am almost 3 years sober.

I returned to college to finish my degree in Psychology with a concentration in addictions. I have only a few more months until I finally have my degree, with a shiny 4.0 GPA I have held since my admission. My goal is to help those struggling with addiction. Jason* and I got married, and our babies aren’t quite so little anymore. Someday, when they’re old enough to understand, I will tell them the story of how they saved my life (and their daddy’s too!). Until then, I take it day by day. I am currently in therapy, and my passion for helping others battle their addiction motivates me through even the hardest days. Not every addiction story has a bad ending, we do recover, beautifully.

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Each week I like to share stories of recovery, in hopes of inspiring those who are struggling and losing hope. There is no such thing as a lost cause, and the stories in this series are proof of that. Keep hope alive.

I have written a book about my own dark journey through addiction and out the other side. It’s available on Amazon HERE.
If you’d like to submit your own story, check out the guidelines for submission HERE.

 

WE FINALLY HAVE RECOVERING BEAUTIFULLY T-SHIRTS IN THE SHOP! Get yours here!

 

June 5, 2011.

Dear Diary:
Crawling on the filthy floor, dodging needles, old cigarette butts, and moldy fast food wrappers, I was on my hands and knees today looking for a tooth. An expensive tooth. Well, more accurately, an expensive dental crown that fell out of my son’s mouth a couple of days ago. If I could find it, the dentist said he could reattach it for a minimal fee. Of course, I’ve already paid the man a small fortune to restore my son’s beautiful smile after years of meth use. I’d like to see his smile, but I can’t find him. His apartment door wasn’t locked. I walked right in with only a slight hesitation at what I’d find. It was hotter than hell in there because the electricity had been shut off.

No air conditioning. No tooth. No son.

I couldn’t find the crown in the gloom and grit inside that hell hole. I wanted to leave, but I couldn’t. I couldn’t just walk away. I never could. I’m addicted to my addict. I don’t want him to have a hole in his smile. He already has a hole in his soul and I can’t fix it. I’ve tried, many times. I can at least fix his smile, again, if I can only find his tooth and him.

I finally left with no tooth when it got too dark to see. I most certainly didn’t want to be in his apartment after dark. It was scary for me to be there in broad daylight.

As a child, my son was afraid of the dark. I’d turn his dinosaur lamp on, tuck him in bed at night, and read him a story out of one of his many Dr. Seuss books. When I’d finish the story, he’d hug me and remind me to leave the lamp on. I miss those hugs.

Today was my rock bottom. I’m going to stop enabling.

 

August 18, 2012 .

Dear Diary:
I looked out of place today in my outfit from the Chico’s half price rack, and my strappy sandals with the three-inch heels. I knew it and they knew it. The people who existed in the rent by the hour-day-week-month motel stared at me as I lurked in the shadows by the rusty stairs. I looked like someone’s middle-aged mother because I am someone’s middle-aged mother. I didn’t look like a person preparing to steal a car.

It’s my son’s car, but my name is on the title. I bought it and I pay the outrageously high insurance payments. I have my own set of keys. My son traded his keys to his meth dealer in exchange for his drug of choice with the understanding he’d get the car back in a week. That was a month ago.

I probably should’ve given more thought to my choice of footwear before deciding on a whim to take back what’s mine. If I’d been forced to run, it would have been impossible in my super cute sandals. I wanted to leave, but I couldn’t. I couldn’t just walk away. I never could. I needed to drive away in the car that cost even more than my son’s teeth, but what if the car wouldn’t start? What if the dealer left his room before I could drive out of the parking lot? What if he had a gun?

I was still standing in the shadows when I saw a man with a shaved head walk out of a room, get in the car I bought, and drive away. It was too late. I probably should’ve called the cops, but how could I explain that I was trying to steal my own car. I couldn’t get the cops involved. That would’ve made the whole mess even messier. I wanted the dealer to assume his stolen car had been stolen.

I couldn’t do it, but I wanted to. I really, really wanted to, just like I really, really wanted to help my son when I got him that car to get him to the job I also got him. The job that didn’t last very long, just like all his other jobs.

Today was my rock bottom. I’m going to stop enabling.

 

October 11, 2012.

Dear Diary:
I worked in a cavernous space today full of people attending a business expo. I spent hours decorating the booth my employer rented for the expo. I was tired from standing, but I couldn’t sit down. I had to greet the attendees who wanted to know what my employer had to offer. I had to smile and chat and be enthusiastic even though I was exhausted, and my phone wouldn’t stop ringing.

When I was finally able to answer, it was Deborah. She’s the head of the drug rehab facility my son lives in, and she wasn’t calling just to chat. She was trying to tell me something bad, but I couldn’t hear her because there was a man standing in front of me asking what door prizes I was giving away. I wanted to leave, but I couldn’t. I couldn’t just walk away. I had to do my job to keep my job. The job that supplies the insurance that helps pay my son’s rehab bill.

She was trying to tell me that my son had walked away from the facility. He had been missing for hours. They couldn’t find him. He had no money, no coat, no contacts. She thought he would return as soon as it got dark and cold. I thought I would go insane, but I calmly put my phone away and handed the man in front of me a free key chain. I wanted to throw it at him. I wanted to scream at him. I wanted to tell him my son was missing, and I couldn’t continue to stand on my aching feet and smile and be nice and talk to strangers when I had no idea where my son was or what he was doing. I wanted to tell the man holding the cheap plastic key chain that I didn’t know what to do. I never know what to do.

Today was my rock bottom. I’m going to stop enabling.

 

November 20, 2013.

Dear Diary:
I was in a facility surrounded by a bunch of men who had gathered to listen to my son tell his story of sobriety today. The metal chair I sat on was uncomfortable, but not as uncomfortable as the stares I was getting. I looked so incredibly out of place. You’d think I’d be used to that by now. You’d be wrong. I wanted to leave, but I couldn’t. I couldn’t walk away because the door was locked. I’d driven hours to get to the locked facility for men who will soon be released. Men who have paid their debt to society.

My son has lived in locked places. My son has lived in drug rehab facilities. My son has lived in halfway houses. My son has lived on couches owned by friends who would inevitably kick him out when they realized they couldn’t save him from him. My son has lived in the car his drug dealer eventually abandoned.

I can’t count the nights I’ve gone to sleep not knowing exactly where my son was living. I can’t find words to describe what it feels like to go to bed with a full belly under a pile of blankets on a freezing cold night knowing that my son, who was afraid of the dark as a little boy, didn’t have a full belly or a pile of blankets or much chance of surviving the hell of addiction.

I thought if I cried enough or spent enough or worried enough or pleaded enough he would stop doing drugs. Eventually, he did stop, but not because of my tears or the money and worry and words I wasted over a dozen years. He said he stopped because he was ready to stop.

When he stopped, I stopped. I SHOULD HAVE NEVER STARTED. My son says the same thing: HE SHOULD HAVE NEVER STARTED.

As he finished telling his story in front of the packed room, he looked at me and grinned that beautiful, expensive smile that still has a hole in it. I grinned back with tears in my eyes. The crowd began to clap. He walked over to me and hugged me. I never wanted to let go, but I’d learned the hard way that I had to.

Today was a beautiful day. He and I have lots of beautiful days to look forward to.

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Each week I like to share stories of recovery, in hopes of inspiring those who are struggling and losing hope. There is no such thing as a lost cause, and the stories in this series are proof of that. Keep hope alive.

I have written a book about my own dark journey through addiction and out the other side. It’s available on Amazon HERE.

If you’d like to submit your own story, check out the guidelines for submission HERE.

Food addiction is a hard thing to explain.
Even though you can’t go to jail for it – it can leave you feeling like you have no control. Helpless. Worthless. And in the end, it can kill you. People giggle when I tell them I am a recovering food/sugar addict. They respond with “yeah, I LOVE food too”. They don’t understand that at times, I can have no control.
My struggle with food started when I was little. My parents divorced when I was one and my father had weekend visitations, just like every other dad. Until one day when I was 5 years old. He had taken me to the park and tried to explain that he couldn’t see me anymore. He kept repeating that it wasn’t my fault and it was nothing that I did. I didn’t get it.
A few years after, when I was 7 years old, I was molested by a family friend.
Dinners growing up were anything that could be made from a box in under 30 minutes. I ate a lot of macaroni and cheese with hotdogs (barf), and fish sticks (double barf). My mother was a busy, working single mom that was going to nursing school full-time at nights. I now understand the typical, exhausted mama struggle of dinnertime.
At some point in my tweens, I started turning to food for comfort. Something to numb out the pain inside, the pain of not feeling good enough. Smart enough,pretty enough, just… enough.
“I’m not even enough for my own father” I would tell myself.
During my teens and early 20’s, food still wasn’t a huge problem, it wasn’t controlling me at that point. I didn’t eat healthy by any means and would eat whatever, whenever, but I think that’s normal for that age. I was never smaller than a size 14 in my LIFE – and I hated my body, the way I looked, my belly and my stretch marks (before I even had kids).
It wasn’t until I was grown, and pregnant with my first child, that food started to take a hold of me. I mean, c’mon – who is going to tell a pregnant lady that they can’t eat what they want? Lord help you if you tried. I stuffed my face full of anything and everything I wanted. 
After the birth of my first child, the food trend continued. I did a diet to lose the baby weight a couple years after my daughter was born, but put it right back on—plus some. I ended up having hypothyroidism, high blood pressure and a severe enough gallbladder attack that I had to have it removed.
This was the point that I started hiding food and lying. My husband found a pack of Oreos one day while hunting in the cabinet. “Why are these hidden and how long have they been there?” he asked. “Umm… I don’t know – they must have slipped back behind something.” I lied. I knew full well that I had bought them the day before and had already eaten two rows, before breakfast.
After another pregnancy and birth (of course eating whatever I wanted) we moved from sunny Arizona to the isolation of upstate New York. That’s when postpartum depression hit. I was stuck in the house with no adult interaction – but that also meant no adult supervision. This kept me in my pregnancy jeans for a solid two years after my son was born. 
I would scheme for food. I would plan the week out around all the food places I wanted to eat at. I am a sucker for eating out because I’m not a fan of cooking. Who would choose to cook over eating out? Not me. No hassle, no sweating, no dishes. Sold.
I would pack my kids in the car twice a day to go run out to grab food. Fast food, hole in the walls and nice restaurants – it didn’t matter as long as I could get my fix. Plus, a few candy bars in between with the wrappers balled up and hidden in napkins at the bottom the trash.
At night after the kids went to bed, it would get ugly. During the day I would drink a 2-Liter of Coca-Cola (reg – not diet) and at night I would down a pint of ice cream, 3-4 king size candy bars, sour patch kids. You name it – if it had sugar in it, I was all over it like white on rice. My kids would go to bed watching me bake a pan of brownies or smell them and wake up to find THE ENTIRE PAN GONE. Not a crumb left.
I felt so bad. I beat myself up over and over. Why can’t I control myself? What is wrong with me? I can’t even leave the kids a piece of brownie?! Over and over I would fight with myself and promise that tomorrow was going to be different. 
It wasn’t. It would be more of the same. Finally, I found a way to deal with depression and pull myself out, but the food/sugar addiction remained. My kids started talking – you know – the talking that you can FINALLY understand. This was a good thing that soon turned into a problem.
As soon as daddy got home, they would spill the beans on all the things we had had to eat that day. So, like any logical addict, I started convincing my kids to lie. I would tell them that it was just “our special treat” and that we didn’t need to tell daddy. If you know anything about kids – this didn’t work. As soon as he would ask how their day was, I was on high alert with anxiety, listening for them to tell my secrets.
I started scheming for more ways to get food. I would lay in bed at night and plan what I was going to eat the next day, always telling myself it would be “the last time” so I could binge. It wasn’t. I felt worthless. I felt gross. I felt like I had no control. I felt ashamed. I couldn’t figure out a way to get control back over food. 
I would find any excuse to leave the house by myself. The old “we need milk” run to the grocery store so I could grab chicken fingers, ranch dressing and a donut without being “caught”. I would shove it in my mouth while sitting in the parking lot or the driveway (a spot that became no longer “safe” once my hubby started looking out the window).
Now let me be clear, I was not afraid of my husband “catching” me because I would be in “trouble”. It was more shame and not wanting to admit or show anyone how out of control it really was. Not wanting to face it.
I remember sitting in my father-in-laws house eating ice cream one summer evening – we had all gotten our own flavor pints. I had melted mine down in the microwave (I like my ice cream melted, so I can drink it) and polished it off in record time. He looked at me in shock that I had eaten the entire thing when he could only finish half. I felt so embarrassed and deep down I was glad that no one knew how much crap I was actually eating. It got to the point where I would literally drink heavy whipping cream from the container.
One day, like any other, I ran to the gas station for a pack of cigarettes and a few candy bars. I started up the car with the plan that as soon I made the left hand turn – I was opening one of those suckers up and shoving in my face.
Then, life changed. I was t-boned on my drivers side.
I broke my back, my pelvis, my sacrum, and my head went through the drivers window resulting in a brain injury.
I was in shock – I had never broken a serious bone before. I was non-weight bearing on my left side for 6 weeks and had to use a wheelchair and walker to get around. I couldn’t care full-time for my kids like normal (I am a stay-at-home mom), so therefore my hubby couldn’t go to work. He had to take care of me and the kids full time. 
With my husband having to take care of me, there was no hiding what I was eating. I set my mind to recovering as quickly as possible. I showed up to physical therapy on the first day and told them that “I didn’t have time for this shit anymore.” 
Needless to say, I recovered extremely quickly and after 12 weeks, checked myself out of all my doctors—including pain management. After working in pharmacy for 11 years, I know exactly how dangerous and addictive pain medications are. The pain management clinic was shocked. They said they had never had anyone check themselves out before.
However, without the meds in my system, my body was in A LOT of pain. My husband had gone into what I lovingly refer to as “freak out mode” at the thought of losing me in the accident, so he decided it was his job to keep me alive. He took over the cooking for the most part and was with me 24/7, so I couldn’t cheat on what I was eating. He showed me research and documentaries that proved most of what I was eating was causing the pain and inflammation in my body.
I would get so angry and defensive. “Why are you taking my food away?” I would yell at him. I would get so sad and angry at times that he was “making me” give up my favorite foods. He kept asking me “what do you want more – to feel better or have the temporary satisfaction?” Thankfully he talked me off the “ledge” many times and I am so grateful for his help, motivation and strength. The truth is, in the end, it was my choice.
I chose to live, over slowly killing myself. I could have, at any time, given the middle finger and gotten in the car to go get whatever I wanted.
One night, I had a meltdown over my husbands suggestion of doing one “treat” meal a week. “WHAT?!” I said. I was just getting used to one “treat” day. The glorious day that I would shove whatever I wanted in my mouth (with a little more self-control) and ate myself into a food coma. However, as I sat on the bathroom floor, crying from being so pissed off, I started to ask myself,  “Why am I getting THIS emotional and angry about food?”.
That’s when I started relating my unhealthy relationship with food to an addiction. Once that started to click, I started to look at food differently. I did research and tried to find a way in real-life to heal my relationship with food and overcome my addiction. It has been two years now and I still struggle at times, especially around the holidays. Food is hard because you need it to live and it is everywhere you turn.
Everywhere can be a potential trigger for me. I literally mouth breath and rush through the bakery section at the grocery store. I had massive anxiety leading up to Halloween because I knew there was going to be candy in the house. I am an equal opportunity candy fiend and have ZERO preference what kind it is.
I don’t believe in having zero treats whatsoever – let’s be realistic. So, as a family, we have a treat night once a week. However, my biggest trigger is sweets. Sometimes, it can get out of control and I find myself battling food again. That’s when I know now to pump the brakes and do a sugar detox. It helps reset me and refocus back on eating food for nutrition and being good to my body instead of the temporary satisfaction of eating garbage.
After working the past two years, I am now down 70+lbs and have been 80% plant-based for over a year now (something that I NEVER thought I would say).
I have completely come off all of my medication including hypothyroid, depression and anxiety meds. I have also never been the size that I am now that I can remember – I was so excited when I actually found my collarbones.
Now, I share my story with other women to let them know they are not alone in their real-life battles. I help women overcome their own food issues, depression, anxiety, self-doubt, fear, loss and all the other real-life battles that we can face. I teach real-life tools to help women create a life filled with more purpose and passion everyday. This is my passion and I absolutely love sharing and lifting up all the other strong Warrior women, to form an incredible, brave Warrior Tribe.
Renea Paulsen Bio: Renea Paulsen is a Real-Life Coach, Author, Speaker, Wife, Mom of 2 and Warrior Woman. She is passionate about connecting & inspiring other Warrior women to step into their strength & live a life they absolutely love in real-life. After struggling with her own battles in life including depression, anxiety, mental and physical trauma she developed her real-life tools to completely transform her life. She set out on a mission to share her battles so other women would know they were not alone and teach them the real-life tools to help change their lives as well. Today, she motivates and inspires countless women to rise up like the strong Warriors they are and live a life filled with happiness, joy, love, passion and fulfillment.
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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 submission HERE.

 I wrote a book about my own dark journey through addiction, order it HERE

Hey friends!

I’ve been hiding one of my truths from you guys, and I didn’t want to voice it until I had a solution.  Thanks to a suggestion from one of my supporters, Tara, I think I’ve found it.

I’ve been carrying a tremendous amount of guilt lately. 

I speak openly and honestly about addiction, depression and anxiety online, and because of this many people turn to me for help with their own struggles.

I am so grateful to be in a position to inspire others, and spark a flame of hope in their heart, but I am struggling mentally (and physically) to respond to the incredible amount of messages I receive. I have tried my best, but the messages are so deep… so personal, so… heartbreaking—that it pulls me right in and I feel like I can’t leave without trying to help.

I am only one person however, and I am learning that as much as my heart wants to, I can’t save everyone. That is why I wanted to write this article.

I am trying my best to get back to everyone who has emailed me pleading for help and advice, but in the meantime, here are some things you can watch and read when you are stuck, struggling, feeling lost, or feeling hopeless. All of the following links are where I go when I need motivation to get out of bed, or a reminder of how wonderful life is.

I’ve broken them down into sections to make it easier to find during those moments of wanting to give up. 

 

Anxiety

If you are struggling with anxiety today, you are not alone. Here are some things that may help.

 

1. This is one of my favorite Ted.com talks. Jordan Raskopolous describes EXACTLY what it’s like to have anxiety, and it’s a beautiful thing when we realize we aren’t alone. Watch video: HERE

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Screenshot via YouTube.com

 

 

2. I am obsessed with Jason Stephenson and his guided meditations. I find myself using this one in particular on a daily basis. I take a minute and a half each day to pause, put my earbuds in, and calm myself down. Meditation isn’t for everyone, but if you practice enough, it can truly change your life. Listen to the short clip on Youtube: HERE

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Screenshot via YouTube.com

 

 

 3. I love, love, love some of the tips Therese J. Borchard gives in her article, “11 Tips to Help Manage Anxiety” on Psychcentral.com. She shares some neat, little tricks to help alter the course of the worry and fear that often paralyzes us. Read it: Here

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Screenshot via Psychcentral.com

 

 

4. If you are struggling to understand a loved one currently struggling with anxiety, here’s a video I did awhile back, and it depicts in great detail what it’s like, and what we need from you during those anxious times. Watch it: HERE

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screenshot via youtube.com

 

Depression, Sadness, and ‘Blah’.

 

 

  1. Gen Kelsang Nyema is an American Buddhist nun, and her vibe is otherworldly, (I’m honestly not even sure if that is a word, really). In this video presented by Ted.com  she talks about “outsourcing our happiness”. The video is brilliant and you should definitely take some time to watch it.  See it: HERE

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    screenshot via youtube.com

     

 

2. In this Tedx TalkJessica Gimeno, a Fashion Blogger living with five different illnesses, gives an insightful, motivating and most of all—helpful talk about getting things done while suffering from depression.  I can talk myself back into bed in an instant, so sometimes a little outside motivation is crucial while trying to make it through the day. Check out the video: HERE.

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Screenshot via YouTube.com

 

 

3.  I don’t know about you, but when my depression creeps in, finding motivation to clean seems nearly friggin’ impossible. Melissa Maker, the rockstar behind cleanmyspace.com has some amazing tips for us in her article, “How To Get Motivated to Clean”. The rest of her website and youtube page contain hundreds of videos to help us get our s#@$ together when it comes to doing housework. 

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Screenshot via YouTube.com

 

4. Here is a video from Yours Truly, about not throwing in the towel… even when you want to. Watch Video: HERE.

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Screenshot via YouTube.com

 

Addiction.

 

  1. One of the questions I get asked the most is “How do I help (or not help) my loved one who is struggling with addiction?” In response I made a video offering some insight about enabling, based only off of my own experiences. The video received 5.5 million views and 102k shares on Facebook, so I’ll leave it here in hopes it can help someone currently seeking insight. Watch: HERE.

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Screenshot via YouTube.com

 

 

2. Man, listen, this is my favorite of all the videos I’ve ever made. If you are struggling with addiction and need a shot of hope – YOU HAVE TO WATCH THIS VIDEO FEATURING MY FRIENDS! Watch: HERE

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Screenshot via YouTube.com

 

 

3. I have learned a lot since I’ve been in recovery from addiction, and I often find myself repeating different mantra’s to myself throughout the day to keep me sane. I’d like to share an article I wrote containing 10 life-changing pieces of advice I learned from addicts. I believe everyone – addict or not – can benefit from this advice. Read it: HERE

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Finally, I’d like to leave you with some additional quick links I find incredibly beneficial in times of turmoil. Thank you so much to everyone for being a part of my journey, and for understanding that I can’t get back to everyone’s messages, but they mean more than you know. I hope you take advantage of the resources that are available to all of us as we navigate life on life’s terms.

Motivational videos: 

Procrastination.

Self-Motivation.

Morning Motivation.

Anthony Robbins- The Habit of Positive Thinking

Insomnia – Sleep Talkdown.

Insomnia – Unwind Your Mind.

 

Hotlines.

Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255

National Hopeline Network: 1-800-SUICIDE (784-2433) Hearing impaired: 1-800-799-4889.

National Youth Crisis Hotline: 1-800-448-4663

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA): 1-800-662-HELP (4357)

 

If you are struggling, please reach out. It’s never too late to start over, and you are never alone – even if it feels like it. 

 

To read stories of recovery from addiction submitted by members of the Juggling the Jenkins community, click: HERE.

***I’ve written a book about my own journey through addiction, jail and rehab, and it’s available now on Amazon. To read the first eight chapters for free, click: HERE then click the picture of the book cover. ***

 

 

*Triggers – Drug Use.*

 

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.

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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 submission HERE.

***** I wrote a book about my own dark journey through addiction, order it HERE. *****

 

Trigger – Domestic & Sexual Abuse, Drug References.

 

So what went wrong??

After high school, I met….him. He was the “bad boy”. He was handsome, charming, said all the right things, and for some reason, he showed interest in me.

The first time he hit me was because I made a joke at his expense when we were hanging out. Nothing awful, something along lines of, “Pink would be a great color on you,” and I giggled. He slapped me right across the face. I was blindsided, really.

The slap was instantly followed by apologies. He seemed genuinely sorry for what he did. I had never experienced abuse of any kind, so I had no idea how to handle this type of situation and I forgave him. Hindsight is always 20/20.

Then it really began… The “rules” of our relationship: I was not allowed to wear makeup, lip gloss, form fitting clothes, have a cell phone, have friends, speak to my parents, and the list continued on.

On one occasion, I came home from work wearing a pair of pants that he thought were too tight, and he literally threw me to the floor and cut them off with scissors, while beating me.

I was beaten daily for little things. If I didn’t stir the Kool-Aid right, the Kool-Aid would be thrown across the kitchen and I would be beaten with the wooden spoon and forced to clean up the mess.

If I put Chapstick on, he would take me to the mirror and beat me with a belt, while I had to stare at myself and state what a “whore” I was. The worst part of his beatings were when I was on the floor begging and pleading for him to stop, he would laugh hysterically at me.

Honestly, the beatings paled in comparison to the sexual abuse, and the sexual abuse was nothing compared to the emotional abuse.

There were days when I would wish for him to just beat me instead of say the things he would say to me. There were days when I would wish I would just die. He went to such extremes as to put locks on the outside of the doors to his home. He put bars on the windows of his trailer so I could not climb out. When he left for work, he would take the landline phone and the actual phone cords with him. He never took me anywhere because I was an “embarrassment to look at”. I was literally a prisoner in his home. I had no chance of escaping.

Towards the end of our relationship, he began selling cocaine. He didn’t use, and up until this point, he always talked trash about his cocaine customers. One time he had a batch that was supposed to be “good” and he wanted to sample it. I had never touched drugs in my life. I had never even smoked a cigarette up until this and I was 21 years old. He insisted on me trying the cocaine first, and I was reluctant. But I knew better than to tell him no. So I tried it.

NEVER in my life had I ever felt so good… All of my desperation instantly disappeared, finally. Much to my surprise, he was actually being NICE to me.

After what had been a year of constant belittling, I craved the positive attention. He acted as if I werethe sexiest woman alive. So much so, that he wanted to take me out to show me off for the first time ever. Except it had to be on his terms; and in hindsight, I can see how chauvinistic this was, but he dressed me in the most provocative outfit he could find.

That’s when everything changed. While at the club, he insisted he saw another man touch my butt, even though it never happened. He became angry with me for defending said man. It must’ve been the downside of his high, because when we got home all hell broke lose.

He tied me to a bed and beat me continuously for four days straight. I’ll spare the details of what my torture entailed, but let’s just say it was brutal.

It began on a Friday night and when I didn’t show up for work on Monday, my work called my parents. My parents knew something was wrong and called the police. I remember the police banging on the door and kicking it in. I was rushed away in an ambulance, but that’s all I can remember about that weekend.

I was in a coma for four more days. When I was released, I was sent to my parent’s house to recover for a week. While I was there sleeping, my abusive boyfriend had bonded out of jail and broken into my parent’s home, and dragged me out of it by my hair. He drove me into the woods and this was the first time I had ever seen him cry. Hysterically cry. He then stuck a loaded 12-gauge shotgun in my mouth, stating he couldn’t go to prison, he was going to kill me, and then himself. I panicked and promised him that I would not testify in exchange for my life. He agreed and let me go.

After everything was said and done, he ended up getting time served, three years probation, and mandatory anger counseling for everything he had done. I, however, was stuck with a classic case of PTSD and zero coping skills. I did remember how the cocaine made me feel, and now I had the freedom to do with my life as I pleased, so I turned to cocaine to escape.

For the next year, I partied…and I partied hard. I remained drunk and loaded up on cocaine every single night. Somehow, I managed to maintain my job and my appearances while doing so.

I had met another man and he was actually good to me. One night while partying, we had run out of powder cocaine, and someone offered us “hard”. I had never tried it, but being in my drunken state, I said, “Sure, why not!” Little did I know that that little rock would change my life forever.

At first, it was just something we did on the weekends to party. Then we started doing it to celebrate. Then we started doing it every day out of boredom. Then before I knew it, I became a full-fledged crack head. I was borrowing money from everyone I knew, I was pawning things that didn’t belong to me, I was stealing from my parents and strangers, and doing indescribable things. I went from weighing 130 pounds down to 82 pounds at my worst.

I don’t know how, but I managed to survive like this for four whole years. Four years of stealing, manipulating, and smoking. My boyfriend would work construction and I would stay home all day. Our little home had no power, no furniture (we sold it all), and cockroaches so big you had to move out of their way to walk down the hallway. We spent the majority of our time in a paranoid state, walking around feeling scared to death that someone was outside our house “watching us”, so we were peeping from the blinds.

There was honestly no fun in it at all. But the mental struggle of the crack addiction was so fierce; we just couldn’t walk away from it.

Every hit we took, we swore would be our last. I ended up using just to forget that I was an addict. I was embarrassed of what I had become. I wasn’t supposed to turn out this way. I wasn’t supposed to ride around to steal gas jugs from homes just to have gas in my car to get more dope. I wasn’t supposed to steal from my parents and pawn their stuff. I wasn’t supposed to be a crack head. I wasn’t supposed to be an addict. I was better than this.

I’ll never forget the day I decided to get clean. My boyfriend and I had been on a four day bender, and hadn’t slept or eaten in days. We had gotten into an argument about getting more drugs, I wanted more and he wanted to stop, simple as that. Except this particular time, he got physical with me for the very first time in our four-year relationship. He didn’t hit me, but he grabbed ahold of my arms and threw me into a washing machine.

I knew right then and there that was a turning point in our relationship. I had been in an abusive relationship before, and I couldn’t go through it again. I knew once I allowed it to happen once, I was giving him free reign to do it again. I had to put my foot down. Even though he was immediately apologetic for his actions, and he had been up for days using drugs, I couldn’t risk it.

I walked across the street to his mother’s house—which is where we were at the time— and asked her to use her phone. I made a very emotional phone call to my parents stating I needed help, I was an addict, and that I had pawned all of their belongings.

I expected them to hang up on me…but they didn’t. My parents are the most saintly people on the planet.

They drove thirty minutes to come pick me up and we made a plan. The plan consisted of me telling them where exactly I had pawned all of their things, as well as one other stipulation. Me—little 82 pound me, had to join the army at 26 years old.

The idea was for me to get out of town because if I had stayed, I would’ve fallen right back into my old ways after running into the same people I used to run around with. Scary, right?

We visited the recruiter within three days, to give my body enough time to detox the drugs I had taken, and I left for Basic Training within a week and half.

I walked away from a daily, four-year crack cocaine habit cold turkey, and joined the U.S. Army to become a combat medic.

I spent the next nine weeks in Basic Training being molded into the perfect soldier: being screamed at, learned to shoot, run until I threw up, made great friends, became closer to my Higher Power, and most importantly, I never had time to think about my drug use.

I left Basic Training and went to Advanced Individual Training to become a Combat Medic for 16 weeks. It was there that I learned how to save lives as an EMT, and soldiers in the combat zone. After all my training, I was sent to my duty station in Georgia and I deployed to Baghdad, Iraq for a year.

I met my husband in the Army. We both got out of the Army at the same time, well, he retired after 20 years service, and I never thought someone like THAT would be interested in someone like ME, and we have four beautiful children between us now.

I got clean on August 17, 2007, and I haven’t looked back since.

After

 

Each week I like to share stories of recovery, in hopes of inspiring those who believe addiction is the end. Whether it be; drug addiction, alcoholism, sex, food or gambling addiction—the more we speak our truths, the more shatter the idea that all addicts, are lost causes.

⇒  If you’d like to submit your own story, check out the guidelines for submission HERE.

⇒  I wrote a book about my own dark journey through addiction, order it HERE.

 

A life after addiction IS possible, we are proof!

When I was one year old, my dad was a high rise window cleaner and my Mom, a school bus driver. We owned our home, paid our mortgage, visited with family and lived a fairly normal life.

Until my dad did not strap himself in, and fell off of a high rise building. Fortunately he landed on another building and it saved his life, giving me the opportunity to know who my dad was… Sort of.

He broke his back, which left him partially paralyzed in a bed. He was told he would never walk again. We lost our home because a school bus driving job wasn’t enough to support three kids, a house, and husband.

Two years later, he was able to walk again after physical therapy, but he was also prescribed a pill that is no longer even legal where I live.  I spent the rest of my childhood watching my dad fall asleep at random places. He would light a cigarette, fall asleep until the cigarette became a butt, then he would put it out and light another—only to start dosing off again.

This would happen again and again; lots of blankets had burn holes in them from him passing out with a smoke in hand.

When I was thirteen my mom pulled me to the side to tell me that I wouldn’t be seeing my dad as often…That she’d found out he was abusing his medication as well as other drugs, and that she given him an ultimatum—family, or drugs. Guess which he chose? The news devastated me, because even though my dad was an addict, we were extremely close.

I was thirteen when I tried smoking pot for the first time, and I continued to every day for the next six years.

I was offered Ecstasy at a party and that quickly became my favorite drug. At the young age of thirteen, I loved how confident Ecstasy made me feel. Suddenly I was crushing up any pills I could get my hands on and snorting them.

My life quickly spiraled out of control. I spent my first years of high school skipping classes, bullying, doing cruel things to my mother, brothers and friends. I was no longer myself, instead I was an angry monster that couldn’t go a day without pills. I put my mother through hell and embarrassment when she’d come to the school after I overdosed and she stayed overnight in the hospital with me.

 I didn’t think it was a problem. I thought I was only having fun, that I was just being a rebellious teen.

The scary thing about pills is, they are very easily accessible, and that makes quitting a hard thing to do. I had to go through counselling sessions at school, where I spoke to a counsellor about drugs and alcohol, and even though it wasn’t any help, I commend the school for at least trying.

It had been about a year since I’d last seen my father, when he suddenly came home to get clean. I watched him withdrawal, and it was the worst sickness I had ever seen. He looked white as snow and I could hear him throwing up morning until night all around the house. He was in incredible pain, a miserable aching pain that looked awful to experience. Eventually, he was finally clean.

You would think watching this with my own eyes would have changed me…but it didn’t. It’s sad to think about now but I was actually taking the very pills my father was getting clean from. My parents struggled with their relationship after everything that happened. They ended up breaking things off and my mother and I moved from our small town to a small city.

I became pregnant at sixteen and decided to have an abortion, because my boyfriend was abusive and I had taken too many drugs and drank a lot of alcohol, so I was worried about the baby. This was a loss to me, I took the abortion really hard. Instead of turning to drugs however, the experience pushed me to take control of my life again and quit all the hard drugs I was doing. That was my first rock bottom.

As most addicts, I quit one addiction only to start a new one… Weekend partying became weekday drinking. At least with drinking I was able to hide the smell and still attend high school classes. At seventeen my best friend passed away and I grieved her loss by getting blackout drunk. I would go on rampages and attack my friends, to not remember it in the morning. I lost a lot of friends because of this. I will live with this guilt forever…we should have all been leaning on each other during that time.

This life of being a drunk continued for a few years. I was in a relationship where I was beat so badly he bit threw my lip and shattered my hips, all while being blackout drunk.

I graduated high school and started working at a coffee shop. I would go to work and then get off and drink. Every. Single. Day. I even recall a time where I took shots in the bathroom at work with a coworker.

A regular who came through the coffee shop often asked me to meet his son…after a few weeks of awkward conversations, I eventually did meet his son and we instantly connected.

He helped me recognize my enablers and he pointed out my drinking habits, while he encouraged me to follow my passion and go to college. I didn’t think I was good enough for college but I decided to go.

Once I was around different people studying something I loved, my life changed. I finally felt like I was smart. That I was good enough. That I could be a helpful member of society.

My second rock bottom was another blackout night. This wasn’t anything new, it started with a video chat where a friend and I took shots by ourselves while talking over a video call, and it ended with my boyfriend leaving me. I acted a fool for the last time, I embarrassed myself, and someone I cared deeply about, and enough was enough.

I will never forget the conversation I had with my mom where she told me, “This guy is the best thing to happen to you, change your life for him”.
He only asked one thing from me, that I quit drinking.

I started to distance myself from my old friends and focused on growing as an individual. Two years later and after a lot of hard work, I graduated college. I found that focusing my attention on something else kept my mind busy.

Soon after I graduated college I found out that my Dad left this earth. I knew he was sick, he had recently lost feeling in his legs and was put in a wheelchair. I believed this was because of MS. It wasn’t until I was on my way home from the funeral that I found out my dad wasn’t clean; he was still using. I always questioned his sobriety but couldn’t ever be sure.

His best friend gave me my dad’s almost dead cell phone. Running on no battery I read the texts he sent to his friends begging for drugs… His last days on earth were spent begging for drugs. That’s the reality, drugs will take your life if you don’t take it back first. I could have done what I always did so many times before when something terrible happens… I could have turned to alcohol, drugs or food...but I didn’t.

A year after the funeral I became pregnant, and nine months later I gave birth to my beautiful oldest child, who every day teaches me new things about myself. A year after that I was married to the man I believe saved my life and a few months later I gave birth to my youngest.

Today I am here as the best version of myself and I am so thankful because that is what my husband, children and myself deserve.

Once I discovered my own self-worth, I didn’t want to destroy my body and mind anymore. I didn’t want to puke up blood. I didn’t want to feel hungover the next day. I wanted to remember my nights. I didn’t want to cough up black stuff from my lungs every morning, in fact, I didn’t want smoke hurting my lungs at all. I respected myself and loved myself enough that I protected myself and still do to this day. I became my own best friend.

Now, I’m actually thankful of my past. It still haunts me, yes, that is the downfall of being an addict. The people you hurt will never forget, the reputation you created will not just disappear. No matter how much you change, people from your past will always look at you as that same person. Those are the consequences that I now face and hopefully hearing that will encourage you to not do the same. I am thankful though, I will be able to tell my daughter’s that their mother has overcome unreachable obstacles – anything is possible if you work hard enough for it.

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Each week I like to share stories of recovery from people in the community. Whether it be; drug addiction, alcoholism, sex, food or gambling addiction—the more we speak our truths, the more shatter the idea that all addicts, are lost causes. 

⇒ If you’d like to submit your own story, check out the guidelines for submission HERE.

⇒ I wrote a book about my own dark journey through addiction, order it HERE.

⇒  I want to make it my life’s work to put a face to addiction and inspire those who feel hopeless. If you want to check out my Patreon and support the cause, (No pressure, for real, just throwin it out there. Now I feel weird. I made it weird. Sh*t) it’s HERE.

A Life After Addiction IS Possible… We Are PROOF.

Hi My Name is Alechia, and I am a Thankful Grateful and Blessed Recoving (Meth) Addict.

My Clean Date is July 27 2008.

Life wasn’t always the Hell I created it to be, I wasn’t always a prisoner stuck in my own mind. At one point I was a normal, regular girl who started going to parties and hanging out. Everything was good until I was sixteen years old, when I was introduced to Cocaine at a party one night. For some reason, that high just didn’t seem like enough. The very next day I was smoking meth… it happened so quickly, and it was all downhill from there.
July 27th Of 2008 at 12:38 am was the day I hit rock bottom, maybe even beyond rock bottom because seriously it almost felt as if there was rock bottom; a 75 foot pile of shit, and then me.

For eight Years you guys, eight long years I felt hopeless, helpless, lost, scared and alone. I hated myself and I felt like a worthless failure. I wasn’t a good mother, I wasn’t a good daughter, I was a horrible friend and I honestly didn’t care about anything except how, when, and where my next high was coming from.

I remember sitting in the bathroom sobbing one morning as I packed a bowl, just begging and pleading to God to “please help me” because I had lost all control… and I didn’t know how to stop.

I’d been to rehab on a few occasions, even completed rehab and still ended up relapsing every single time. I had been to jail several times, but it wasn’t until 2008 when I was majorly under the influence of alcohol and Meth—while six weeks pregnant— when I was arrested on a probation violation, that my world changed.

Prior to my arrest,  I had scheduled a pregnancy termination for the following week, but apparently, God had other plans for me.

I knew I was in such a bad place in life, with absolutely nothing to offer a child, I didn’t know how I was going to raise another baby. I already had a daughter, and after her father and I divorced—because we were incredible toxic for one another— instead of picking myself up, I just dug a deeper hole… So my daughter had been in my mother’s care for two years already by this point.

This arrest, was a blessing in disguise. I was sentenced to a County year, in a two man cell, on twenty-two hour lockdown. The more time I spent there, the more the fog seemed to disappear and I was able to think clearly.

I woke up one day and looked over at the table in my cell to see a magazine, and on the cover was a picture of Jennifer Lopez holding her brand new, beautiful, baby twins. It was at that exact moment,  I decided, I couldn’t do this anymore.
When I was finally allowed phone time I called the guy I was seeing and told him I didn’t want to live like this anymore, I wanted to get right and have this baby. I wanted to get my daughter back, and I wanted us to be a family. He agreed and stuck by my side through everything.

I am so Thankful for Orange County Jail. I never thought I’d ever say those words, but that jail offered me an in-custody drug treatment program. That particular program was nearly impossible to get into, but by the Grace of God… I was accepted.

My due date was March 3rd, and my release day was March 23rd. For Months I feared the idea of giving birth to my son while shackled to a hospital bed. I had made plans to have the baby sent home after delivery with his Daddy while I returned to jail, but once again, God’s plans were greater than mine.

My mom, and now husband, got with the House Arrest agency, and the agency agreed to let me out of jail. He said the only reason I was being freed from jail, is so that I didn’t have to give birth to my son while shackled to a hospital bed.
January 2nd 2009, I was out on house arrest.

February 20th, I gave birth to a healthy, beautiful, baby boy.

April 12th I completed house arrest.

October 31st 2011, I got my daughter back.

August 21st 2012, I completed probation with no dirty tests, no police contact, and no violations.

On July 27 2018… I will have ten years clean.

My life choices weren’t always the best, in fact, most of them were pretty stupid.  I made a lot of mistakes, but I wouldn’t change a single thing, for the have molded me into the person I am today.
Even on my worst days, I am thankful, and grateful that I’m nowhere close to where or who I used to be

I’m still learning and growing every single day, and I’m so far from perfect, but one thing is for sure…I am blessed.

If you are struggling please know, that if I can do it… then so can you.  I thought I was going to forever be a lost cause, and I’m so glad I was wrong.

 

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Each week I like to share stories of recovery from people in the community.  Whether it be drug addiction, alcoholism, sex, food or gambling addiction—the more we speak our truths, the more we chip away at the stigma that addicts are lost causes. 

⇒ If you’d like to submit your own story, check out the guidelines for submission HERE.

⇒ I wrote a book about my own dark journey through addiction, order it HERE.

⇒ I quit my job not only because I’m a rebel (lol), but also because I want to make it my life’s work to put a face to addiction and inspire those who feel hopeless. If you want to check out my Patreon and support the cause, (No pressure, for real, just throwin it out there. Now I feel weird. I made it weird. Sh*t) it’s HERE.

A Life After Addiction IS Possible… We Are PROOF.

 

Jesus is a buzz killer…this is my story of recovery.

My name is Tracy,  I am 47 years old and I am a recovering alcoholic. I remember my first taste of beer. When I was a little girl my Dad would let me “pour” his beer for him. I would get a special amber colored glass out of the freezer, grab a PBR from the “dedicated” beer shelf, and pour it carefully with the glass tilted sideways. That made the head of the beer smaller and for a prize; I got a sip of foam.

In Junior High School, a friend of mine suggested that we walk to school together and catch a buzz, so we made a plan and met up later that week. Her friend had a liter of vodka, and within 45 minutes I drank half of it and off to school we went. This is what I remember.

The vodka didn’t hit me right away, that is why I drank more and more. When I entered school it was hot and I could barely talk. I sat down in first bell, put my head down and proceeded to pass out and vomit. I do remember the guy behind me saying to the teacher, “I think she spilled her coffee.”

The teacher and another person dragged me to the restroom, where I continued to empty my stomach. Then they wheeled me down to the nurse’s station where I planted myself in front of the toilet and passed out once again.

Guess who else was down there? Yerp, my two friends.

The last thing I remember about school that day was turning around and seeing my mother standing over me looking about 20 feet tall.

Then I am in the car. Then I am home. I fell out of the car onto the grass—it was cold—freezing cold outside. My Mom turned around and said these words: “You are going to be just like your father.” Blackout.
That was my first time drinking, and I never drank vodka again. My alcohol of choice was beer. I loved beer. I drank from age 14 to 37. If drinking were the Olympics, I would have been sponsored by Bud Light and Marlboro Light 100’s in the box.

If I was mad, sad, bored, in love, broken-hearted—I drank. I wound up getting two DUI’s before I was legal drinking age. That didn’t stop me from drinking and driving.

I grew up watching my Dad drink and drive. It was not unusual to find a dozen or more beer cans rattling under the car seats when I was growing up. My Mom worked during the day and my Dad would take my brother and I to the beach. We would wait for him to get off work, and he would pack a six pack, and the three of us would head to Sandbridge.

He would drink the six pack, put a fishing pole in the sand and proceed to pass out and sleep. My brother and I would run all over the beach, building forts and playing until about 3:00 pm. This was our summer.

Sometimes he would take us to Stumpy Lake and he would let me sit in his lap and steer the car while he drank a beer and pressed the gas pedals. I thought he was cool. I thought I was cool…

Years later when I was thirteen or fourteen, I would steal the family car when no one was home and take my friends for rides. When my parents asked me why I did that…well shoot, Dad taught me everything I needed to know about driving. I would mark the driveway so I could park it in the right spot and I saved my money to use for gas so I could put the fuel back to the right spot. (It was the damn odometer that got me busted).

When I was twenty, I became pregnant with my first child. He is now 26 and the joy of my life. Looking back, it was hard to be a mom, girlfriend, great employee and an alcoholic.

Having a baby really ruins it for having a hangover. I mean, they are so demanding. “Feed me, change me, and play with me”, all while my friends are turning 21, going to college and getting apartments. I was shacking up with my son’s Dad and trying to make things work. Of course I blamed it all on him, but we both were actively using and it was not meant to be.

Onward and upward I went in my career. Getting promoted, getting trashed, coming to work still high as a kite, rinse, repeat etc. I started a pattern. I would work somewhere for about three years and quit. I would loaf for about two months, send out the old resume and boom…nail a great job.

Each job required less and less supervision and allowed for more and more drinking. I thought this is what life is supposed to be. It’s what I grew up with. It’s normal.

Then the love of my life stepped back into my life with a simple phone call. It truly is a story for another time, but we both had children with other people and were single parenting. We saw each other a few times and I started the “move-in process” at his house. One day, there was my deodorant, the next week a toothbrush and before I knew it we became a blended family.

We married soon after and have now been married for 22 years. We both partied hard and had a great time. We worked hard. We had ups and downs but still came out smiling.

While I was actively drinking I had a simple rule: I was here to shut the place down. I drank to get drunk. My spouse did not. fourteen years into our marriage I was still going out all hours of the night, day drinking and just in general acting like a teenager—and he had had enough.

He met me on the porch one morning at 4:30 am when I was dragging my ass in and said enough was enough. He was done and done. Either I had to quit drinking or he would leave, or I would have to leave. The gig was up.

I went to counseling and my counselor sent me to AA (Alcoholics Anonymous). I went to AA and picked up enough white chips to start a poker set. It took me 90 days to get to 30 days sobriety. Start, stop, drink, stop, and fall off the wagon. Start again. All while he still went out drinking.

In 2007 we had a baby. I stopped drinking and even nursed her until she was 16 months old. The minute we weaned her however, I went all out and the drinking began again.

Finally on Jan 1, 2010, I sat out back smoking a cigarette while nursing a slight hangover from a bit of wine I had on New Year’s Eve. I threw my hands up, talking to no one in particular and said, “I quit. I can’t do this anymore. I can’t drink. I am done.”

That is the moment that I believe God looked down from his couch up in Heaven and said “This chick is f***ing this all up and I gotta do a miracle.” BOOM—just like that, I never drank another drink. 

I went to meetings. I even started going to church. Slowly my husband joined me and we churched as a family. Life was good, but of course when you get sober your problems don’t stop—they are just easier to see.

So I started the hard work on my insides. I led small recovery groups. I grew. I went to in-depth counseling, and grew. I made sober friends, and grew.

I am still growing up. They say you stop mentally growing the minute you take your first drink, so, that put me at the ripe young age of fourteen when I got sober. Can you imagine being married to a drunk fourteen year old for fourteen years? My husband is no saint—but damn. I was obnoxious.

Through my sobriety, I am now able to share with others that there is hope. There is another way to deal with what life throws at us. I also learned that I had to forgive my Dad and set some very strict boundaries with him.

My dad drank until he died. He committed suicide in 2014. He shot himself in the head. Just typing those words brings me to my knees. At that time he and I were talking again. But he was drinking so much and when he stopped, he would literally have seizures.

He was facing jail time for drinking and driving and he was physically, mentally and spiritually bankrupt. Getting that call wrecked me. But the next morning, I woke up sober.

My spouse and I would go on to experience more loss in the form of two miscarriages. We also adopted a young girl at the age of twelve from foster care only to have that adoption disrupt when she was sixteen due to her violent actions towards me and others in this house. I woke up sober each time we experienced a loss and realized that I was now the recipient of a gift. The gift of sobriety.

I share my story with as many as possible. I share because a very special person, my best friend, shared her story with me. Not in a direct way, not in a, “YOU NEED TO GET SOBER” way…but through monthly ministry in a salon chair. She was my hair girl, and each month, she would share about the grace of God and how her sobriety was working out in her life.

She never knew the seeds she was planting. Because when the rubber met the road and my husband said, “Either you go or I go”…I went to see her.

I can remember our conversation so vividly:

I said, “Girl, I am a drunk. I need help.”

“No you are not…you are not an alcoholic.” she replied.

“Hell yes I am.”

“I have never seen you drunk, Tracy. You are beating yourself up.”

“You are my sober friend—my God friend,” I said, “why in Sam Hell would I come around you drunk!?”

She hugged me and laughed and said, “Okay. Let’s do some work.” She helped me find that counselor and laughed and cried her way with me through many a meeting. At that time she had 15 years under her belt.

God has a way of putting people in your life…and mine was a petite little hairdresser who was a Mennonite. Classic God, classic. 
So, life ain’t easy…but life is good. Every day is a gift when I wake up sober. I wouldn’t have it any other way. This January will be eight years of sobriety… I think, it could be nine—but hey, who’s counting.  I am very happy with this life. I love to serve others and make them laugh. I am thankful to have been given the chance to share my story. If a lying, cheating, thieving, two-faced drunk like me can turn her life around, I think anyone can. Knowing you have a problem is half the battle…accepting it, is the other half.

P.S. I am surprised that Budweiser did not go out of business when I quit drinking…just saying!

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I wrote a book about my own struggles with addiction, find it HERE!

Have a story worth sharing? Check out the submission guidelines HERE.

 

***Triggers – Self Harm***

My story isn’t your typical addiction story.

 

My story begins when I was thirteen years old, and I accidently got a scratch on my arm. At that moment, I remember feeling a sense of pain… But in a strange way, it also felt good.

I couldn’t tell you the first time I actually cut myself intentionally, it was just something I did, and it became a part of who I was. Cutting was something I relied on to always be there for me.

Cutting was my addiction.

I cut myself when I got upset, when I was hurt, sad, or angry. As a hormonal teenage girl— it was quite often. I was never suicidal. I never truly wanted to die or end my life.

There was just something about cutting that made me feel better. It was like I could control the pain that I felt—how much and how often I felt it—and somehow being in control, made all of my emotional pain go away.

It started off as only cutting my arms. I would wear long sleeved shirts and make the cuts small enough to cover with a Band-Aid. I would even avoid swimming in the summer months. As time went on, I realized I would have to come up with other areas of my body to cut.

I’d cut the inside of my legs, as it was easier to hide, or I’d cut higher up on my arm because I could hide the cuts with a t-shirt. As a cutter, you find ways to hide it.

I kept my cutting a secret from everyone for well over a decade. I hid the cuts and scars for years. If anyone happened to see the cuts or marks and asked me about them, I always had a reason for them. I always had an excuse; the cat scratched me, or the dog got me while we were playing, I got hurt at work, or they were from the lane ropes from swim practice. (If you have ever been on a swim team and put in or removed the lane ropes from the water, you know what I am talking about).

Of course there were the occasional few who knew—although they never really said anything. I hated having to hide, and it was a lot of work to cover up such a secret.

I started to realize this wasn’t okay and I wasn’t okay. Not that I ever really thought it was okay, but I never considered it to be something I was addicted to.

I realized it was a real addiction when I would try to not cut when I got really upset or angry—but it was too hard not to. I tried to quit, but the addiction was stronger than I was.

The years went by, and the cutting continued. I knew it wasn’t normal, but I didn’t know how to ask for help. I didn’t want to admit how weak, I was and how unworthy I felt. I spent many nights crying myself to sleep and praying to God for the strength to overcome this addiction.

One day, it went way farther than I ever anticipated or wanted it to go.

I was twenty-five years old when I cut myself for the last time.  I was at my best friend Paul’s house—he was one of the few people that knew about my struggle. That night I was beyond upset, and sobbing. I had this overwhelming urge to cut—but had nothing with me to use.

Full of so many emotions and frustrations, I was frantically looking for something to use. I found what looked like an army knife and immediately set it on my skin and lightly ran it across my arm.

In that moment, I knew I had made a huge mistake. The amount of blood was overwhelming.
Paul was right there when it happened, but it happened so fast there was no way he could have stopped me. He wrapped my arm and instantly called 9-1-1.

I was taken by an ambulance to the emergency room. Most of that night was a blur, but I remember during the ride to the hospital, the EMT kept asking me questions, and all I could say was, “I am sorry! I didn’t mean to! I don’t want to die!”

They stitched up my arm at the hospital, and I spent the next twenty-four hours under strict suicide watch.

They sent me to be evaluated, and it was in that moment that I knew I would never cut myself again.

It took me years of denial, excuses, and suffering before I learned my worth. I cannot say I never get the feelings of wanting to cut, and I am sure I will always have these feelings from time to time, but I know I am stronger than my addiction.

The tiny scars and even more-so, the big scar on my arm is a constant reminder of what I overcame.

Since I’ve quit cutting, I have found happiness. It hasn’t always been easy, but I know God answered my prayers in His way and in His time. I am no longer ashamed of myself and no longer feel I have to hide who I am.

Although some people may judge me by my scars, as ugly as they are— I wear them proudly. They are a constant reminder of who I was, what I’ve been through and who I have become. He has blessed me with my husband and our two handsome, healthy boys, and they are the ones who help keep me strong.

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*If you or somebody you know is struggling with self-harm, please reach out, talk to someone, and get help. Life is so much better when you are free from the chains of addiction. Click THIS link, if you would like more information about self-harm, and where to go for help*

 

I wrote a book about my own struggles with addiction – FIND IT HERE.

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A Life After Addiction IS Possible… We Are PROOF ❤

 

***Triggers – Graphic drug language and unwanted sexual situations***

 

 

 

I would say I had it pretty good growing up since I was never abused or molested, but growing up with an alcoholic/addict stepfather made for a pretty tumultuous home life at times.

Because of the fact my stepdad used heroin and it tore apart our family, I swore I would never touch that drug, no matter what.

I never really felt like I fit in until I took that first drink.

Before that, I always felt different and out of place. For the first time in my thirteen years of existence—I felt confident, and I wasn’t worrying about what other people were thinking.

My use began escalating and I started to care more about partying and less about school. During my high school years I skipped a lot, preferring smoking pot to going to class. I would try anything I could get my hands on.

By my senior year I loved going to raves, taking psychedelic drugs and dancing all night long. A while after my first boyfriend and I broke up I decided to try heroin, because I wanted to see what all the hype was about.

I snorted a tiny amount because I was too smart to overdose, and I found myself feeling disappointed. It made me a little high, but mostly I felt nauseous. After my first experience, I was sure I would never touch the stuff again.

Three months later – the summer before my senior year – I woke up one day and decided I didn’t care about anything anymore… so I began injecting the drugs. There was a group of people that I would get high with and all of them were hooked. I would witness them doubling over in pain from stomach cramps and vomiting.

That would NEVER be me. I was smart remember?

I continued using small amounts here and there, but I wasn’t using everyday. This didn’t stop me from stealing to support my habit though… and I graduated high school while out on bond.

I got caught using stolen credit cards so I was given the option of drug court diversion, and if I completed the intense, fifteen month program, I would have a clean record. After several sanctions for dirty and missed drops, and eventually a DUI, I was kicked out of the program and sentenced to seven months in jail with 173 days served, and a felony on my record. I was 18 years old.

I heard all sorts of interesting and exciting stories about drugs while I was locked up. Before I even got out of jail, I was on a mission to try meth.

The day I got out of jail I injected cocaine for the first time, it took me to another world. It was terrifying… and I loved it.

I ended up meeting a guy and tried meth with him.  Within a week we were dating and moved in together.  He wasn’t cool with me using heroin or needles, but he would smoke meth with me all day long. I could live with that… as long as I didn’t have to be sober.

Three years after the first time I tried heroin I couldn’t sleep one night. I was tossing and turning, my skin was crawling and I was sweating and freezing at the same time. “Great,” I thought, “I’m getting the flu”. After my painfully sleepless night, I turned to google and my greatest fear was realized—I was in full-blown withdrawal.

When I was 21 I moved out to a bigger city to pursue my new career as a stripper.

At the time I was on Suboxone maintenance trying to stay clean, but that went out the window when I found I could make $300 on a slow night. The more money I made, the more I used and the more I used, the more I needed to use just to feel normal.

I went to work, I got my drugs, I came home, I used and I slept. Day after day, this was my new reality. I started to hate my life…and hate myself.

I knew it was time to get help. I moved to Grand Rapids and went to a detox facility and I left there for a “halfway house”, thinking I would start fresh where I don’t know anyone.

It was a matter of days before I was using again. I knew where I could make money quickly and wouldn’t have to wait for a paycheck. Back to the strip club I went. I would have several offers from many men to go home with them. As tempting as they were I told myself I made enough money dancing so why take it to the next level?

A week after I bought some really good coke from a man I met in the club, I went home with him as he promised more good drugs. He assaulted me, raped me, and then stole all of my money.

I went right to the police to press charges, and after several agonizing weeks was told that the prosecutor would not pick up the case because I was not forthcoming about the fact that I was an addict when I gave my statement just hours after the incident. Therefore this would be “a red flag in case he does it again.”

I was in disbelief. I had never really believed in or cared for the system, but this brought on a whole new hatred. What I took from the situation was that clearly police officers didn’t care about addicts, and in their eyes it’s okay to rape and batter women as long as they are drug addicts… bonus points if they work in the sex industry.
After this I lost all hope. I was sure that I would die an addict and that there was nothing better for me in life. I no longer wanted to return to the club, but I needed money to support my habit. I met a woman who introduced me to “Backpage” (an escorting service) and less than a week after my assault, I was having sex in exchange for money.

As long as I stayed high out of my mind—I was able to do this. Over the next couple years I lived hotel to hotel. I bounced back and forth to different cities and different disgusting men’s homes (as long as they would pay for my habit).

I was so numb at this point and so out of touch with reality. The only “worth” I had was the dollar sign in front of the amount of money men were willing to pay me for sexual acts.

I hardly talked to my family, not wanting anyone to see me like I was and also if I came around them I couldn’t be as high as I would have liked to be. I tried to end my life more than once and wound up in a psych ward three times in three different states.
Some months later I moved in with a man I had seen several times and was quite attracted to beyond just sexually. I was faithful to him, and hoped this would be the beginning of me finally settling down. I continued to use heroin while living with him but I was off the streets, and other than marijuana I didn’t use any other drugs.

I had always been sure that I was unable to get pregnant due to all the drugs that I had used, but I was wrong. Less than a month later I found out I was pregnant. Half of me was overjoyed, the other half was devastated and terrified.

I smoked crack on my way to confirm the pregnancy with a doctor, and two days after finding out it was in fact positive… I checked myself into rehab.

I completed treatment and fought with the father the day I came home so went to stay with my mother. I relapsed within a few days of being out. I was so sure that just being pregnant would keep me clean. I didn’t realize I needed to change EVERYTHING. I didn’t use every day, but several times a week and every time I felt so guilty. The day I was 16 weeks I found out I was having a boy and I knew I was ready to do this right.  I went to a program on the other side of the state for pregnant women and women with their children.

I was one of the few not sent there by CPS. While in that program I learned to rewire my brain, I took notes, I read books on addiction, I forced myself to think positively and push thoughts of use out my mind, and I felt my baby kick.

After I came home I attended at least one meeting a day. I gave birth to an incredible healthy baby boy and today I get along with his dad, although we are not together. My 7 month old just started crawling and got his first tooth! He will never have to see his mommy on drugs. I have legitimate employment for the first time in four years, and not only do I have a car, but it’s legal, and I have a driver’s license for the first time since I got my DUI.

I thank God for my life every single day. I completed Peer Recovery Coach Training and I am involved in Voice.Change.Hope which is a local meeting in my area whose goal is to reduce the stigma surrounded by addiction. I will soon start my next journey furthering my education so I can get a degree in social work. I want a job where I can work with addicts,  and I know I will achieve my goals, one day at a time!

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Check out my book about my own journey through addiction here: High Achiever: The Shocking True Story of One Addict’s Double Life.

**Trigger – Miscarriage**

I was nineteen when I had my first miscarriage…

I started having a severe pain on my left ovary, and I went to doctor after doctor for years trying to find the cause of it—with no success.

 I was referred to pain management, and it felt as if I had been given up on. My choices were pain meds…or lose my ovaries. They couldn’t even tell me what was wrong with them, just that they needed to go.

I refused to sterilize myself at nineteen-years-old, so I went to pain management.

The moment I took that first pill from my pain management doctor —I was in love. I felt like I was a super hero.

I had never gotten more work done or more house chores done in my entire life. It was as if I had found the cure to exhaustion.

A few months after taking my pain-killers as prescribed, I started noticing withdrawal symptoms. I had no idea this could happen when you took your pills like you were supposed to. I told my doctor at my next visit that perhaps I should stop taking them.  He had a different solution—more pills.

After a while I didn’t get the same feeling I did before, so naturally, I took more and the doctor happily gave me more. I was taking more pain meds than a cancer patient.

 I was in a serious relationship when my addiction started. I lost three pregnancies during that two-year period. I felt so alone, so…lost. After that relationship ended I slept around and spent every dime I earned on pills.

I was so careless at that time, and I kept getting pregnant. Half the time I was so doped-up I didn’t even know I was pregnant until I miscarried.

In 2012, at the age of 22, I got pregnant again. It took me four months to even realize I was pregnant, but once I did, I immediately took action. I went to a detox clinic and got put on “safe medication” to get clean… But It was too late. I lost my son at 20 weeks gestation. I was completely devastated, and I immediately went back to using.

 I met a man in January of 2013 at age 23 and fell in love immediately. He loved me even with my addiction. We moved in together and slowly he started offering me help. It wasn’t until I started doing heroin with our neighbor that I decided to actually take the help, because to me, doing heroin was a line I promised myself I would never cross.

Breaking promises to other people was so easy that I was almost good at it, but breaking promise to myself was my rock bottom. I checked myself into rehab for six days. It was an accelerated detox program. I spent most of my time there getting hit hard with all of my losses. After five years of addiction I had tallied up nine miscarriages and had five years worth of bottled up emotions spewing out of me like a shaken soda bottle.

I promised myself right then that I would get clean—and stay clean, for every single one of my babies.

I gave my life over to God my first day in treatment. I made a promise to him and myself that I would make it to one year clean, and continue making it the next year as long as I could get through detox.

I made it to one year clean, and almost to the day of my one year anniversary…I found out I was expecting a baby.

I am happy to say my almost three-year-old son is happy and healthy. I am four years sober and have never been happier. My son is the light of my life and he is my true miracle.

I was unable to save the lives of my other babies, but I truly believe that they are responsible for saving mine

“You know I hate when you just stand there and stare at me,” my husband said from the couch, barely looking up from his video game.

“Yeah, but I married you, which means that I get to stare at you whenever I want,”  I replied as a mildly defeated, sort of smug smile formed on his face.

I had a habit of staring at him at random times, without actually saying a word to him. He hated it. I think he thought a stare from a woman meant a fight was about to ensue, but this just wasn’t one of those things. I stared at him like a child stares at the gates of Disneyland the first time they see them. Pure amazement. Because having someone marry me, especially someone who was a good person, happened to be the high school love of my life, and cared about my children and I equally—was not something that was always realistic for me.

In fact, being a woman with anything to offer another human being was a recently new development. Because five years ago, I was useless, helpless, and dying. Because five years ago, I was an active addict.
I’d like to say that it was my grandmother’s death, my mother’s battle with cancer, my emotionally troubled childhood, or my failing out of my first semester of college that propelled my journey into darkness, but the truth is that the signs were there since childhood. I was always a little chubby,  because I loved food and found comfort in it.

Next was love. I loved love, and felt pain when I was alone.

Next was t.v.  I would find myself obsessing about the news, or crime documentaries, or the end of the world, to the point where my family thought I was crazy.

As I made my way through high school, I found other obsessions; partying, shopping, and driving too fast down empty back roads in an attempt to fill the growing void in me. I followed these vices, especially the partying, through my late teens, eventually finding pills.

It was a summer day, I woke up late in the afternoon, something that was happening more and more often lately.  I remembered that someone had given me a pill the night before. “It’s a Perc 15,” they had told me.

Just like any other day, I took a shower, had coffee, and on this day, I took this Percocet, like it was Tylenol… like it was no big deal, like it didn’t hold the power to change the course of my entire life.

Instantly – it felt like a flash of lighting, or a scene change in a movie.

I soon found myself waking up in the morning and thinking about pills before anything else. I would look at my phone to figure out where I could get them, debate on whether or not I’d have time before work or if I had enough money to get some.

It happened so quickly.

My family members had struggled with alcoholism before, but this was something I didn’t recognize. I remember telling myself, “This has to be the last time. This has to be it,” about a million times. I wasn’t this person. I was from a small town, a town where you could get grains for your chickens, breakfast, and stop at the pharmacy, and still be within the same mile. Only people raised in cities were like this. This didn’t happen here. What I didn’t realize at the time was that I got caught in a time where pills had just started their true surge into our small town.

My downward spiral from that ordinary day when I took my first pill happened quickly. For as many times as I thought I had control, or that everything was fine, there were twice as many times that I couldn’t get out of bed, thought I would die from this sickness, and thought that I would be alone when they did eventually take me.

In a two year span—I stole, destroyed relationships with people I loved, ruined trust, ruined essential facets of my life, sold possessions, and lost everything else.

The amount of pills I needed to function multiplied, day after day, until I hit a wall, and nothing helped the sick feeling that came with the morning sun. I made bad choice after bad choice. I found myself in a hole that took two years to make—but that five years later, I’m still seeing the affects of.

Then came that cold morning in November, when everything changed.

My first, and only love came back into my life through a simple text message. He came to my apartment to pick my daughter and I up and take us out. After strapping her car seat into his car, he buckled her in, shut her door, and looked up at me with a concerned look on his face, “You look exhausted.”

I was.

I was so tired… I was so worn out. I spent so much time getting ready for him to see me – and he saw right through it.  He saw the pain, and the exhaustion, the life that I had tried build out of nothing. He also saw past that, to the person he knew years before. It was that day—in the driveway of my old apartment—that I decided enough was enough.

Within a few months, he and my father moved me out of that apartment and over the next year, two of the greatest men I’ve ever known stood by me while I slowly put the basic pieces of my life together.

Being a veteran of the Army, my fiance was tough, and he taught me how to toughen up. He called me out on every excuse that I made, and helped me rewire the part of my brain that I thought I would never change—my impulse to live by lying.

I would love to say that was all it took, a miracle meeting of two hearts to change my path, and that this was how it ended, but it wouldn’t be that easy, and there was much more work left to do.

I started on a maintenance program, and through the next year, learned how to be accountable again. I found local Narcotics Anonymous meetings, and slowly worked the steps on my own. I never really found a sponsor, but instead I found a job that I loved working with my future husband. My boss happened to be an amazing and understanding man, who saw my potential, expected a lot from me, and yelled at me when I needed it like I was his daughter.
I made amends to people around me, but instead of using words to do this, I let my actions speak for me. I woke up in the morning and got my daughter to school on time; I made plans with people, and I kept those plans.

I went to meetings, I kept my house clean, and I learned how to be an adult. It took a while, but eventually people saw the change in me and I had an overwhelming sense of responsibility to never disappoint them again.

Around the same time I was going through my journey, my brother was on a parallel path. Together, we fought separate but equal battles to make it to the other side alive and well…by the grace of a power greater than ourselves, and the support of our loving family, both of us made it.

It’s been three years since I first felt the feeling of a healthy, mind, body, and spirit again.

In these three years, I’ve had a second beautiful daughter, and married the only love my life ever knew. We got married on top of a mountain, with our two daughters by our side, surrounded by everyone we love and on that day, it was pouring rain.  We took that as a sign of good luck.

Each and every morning when I wake up, I think about how lucky I am. My life could have been so different. Sometimes, my husband still struggles with my past, with a battle he thinks I shouldn’t have had to fight, but I’ve learned to live without regretting mistakes, despite the struggles that we still face because of them. If it wasn’t for that battle, I wouldn’t be here today. I wouldn’t have the strength and understanding I need to get through the day and I wouldn’t have the compassion or direction I need to pursue my dream of being an addiction counselor.

Without that battle, I wouldn’t have the gratitude to know that every day holds a gift. And that gratitude—the idea of being grateful, always in all ways—makes every moment worth it, and gives me joy that comes each and every day with the morning sun…

 

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My name is Annie and I am a addict.

I come from a family of addicts. My
mother, father and siblings battled this miserable disease
long before I did. So let’s just say the odds have been stacked
against me since I escaped the womb.
My parents were also extremely abusive to one another.
I can remember as a child
having so many emotions, and never knowing how to work
through them. I would get so angry that I would punch holes in the walls,
because I never learned healthy
ways to cope with things.
My home was full of confusion. One
minute my parents are laughing, and in the next my dad would have his hands around her throat.  I had always looked up to my older sister as a role model, until I was 11 and she introduced me to pills.  It was then that my “humanity-switch”, instantly turned off.
When I took that first
pill, all of my worries and fears just… disappeared. It felt as though I, myself,  disappeared as well. I used for so long, that I eventually became mentally
and physically dependent on dope. Along the way I lost many
loved ones as a result of addiction—including my first love.  We had been together for five years, and he overdosed and died at the age of eighteen.
During my active addiction, I got pregnant and gave birth to a gorgeous
little boy. It wasn’t long before he was taken away from me, and all of my rights
were terminated…because I couldn’t. Stop. Using.
I’ve been in and out of jail since I was thirteen-years-old, and I’m a two-time
convicted felon. My addiction was so strong, that I truly believed that
without dope in my system – I could not survive.
I was a bag of bones, filled with shame, guilt, fear, hopelessness, and insecurities.  I was homeless, stealing from others, selling myself, and begging for a dollar.
On July 13th, 2014, I was at Lowe’s helping some people steal things, that they would later exchange for money.  Security caught on to what we were doing, and stopped us.  It was then that they realized I had a warrant out for my arrest, for violating Drug Court.
The police promptly escorted me to jail, to serve my time for the violation.

I have been clean ever since.

I was sentenced to a
rehabilitation center, and for the first time in my life… I found hope. I had always known that I wanted to be clean, I just didn’t have the power to stop on my own.
Once I was forced to stop by going to jail—I took full
advantage of the situation. I made a conscious decision to stay
in the rehab, and give myself a fair chance at a new life.
I graduated the program, and went on to a Sober Living facility.  I stayed strong, and continued doing the right thing, eventually graduating from Sober Living, and Drug Court as well.
Life is beautiful today. I have three and a half years clean, a
certificate in cosmetology, I have become a mother to a beautiful  little girl who is nine-months-old, and I am recently engaged to a wonderful man.
So much has changed—everything has changed, and it happened by taking life one day, at a time.
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Check out my book, “High Achiever: The Shocking True Story of One Addict’s Double Life”.

**Warning – Triggers**

Growing up I had a tough life.

My father was a police officer, and my mom was a prescription drug addict. My father’s new wife not only kept me from my mother, but she also abused me.

By the time I was almost twelve, I had run away from home five times.

The fifth time I ran away,  I ended up at my mother’s house. I didn’t know at the time that she was a drug addict, all I knew was that it felt a hell of a lot better than being abused.

I will never blame the way I turned out on my childhood, because that isn’t what started my drug use. I used to be someone before drugs got a hold of me.

 At 24 years old, I was a single mother of a four-year-old and had held a job working with the mentally handicapped. I was struggling, but I was making it. At that time, I knew nothing about drugs. And my mother being a prescription drug addict, was just a normal part of life for me.

I have suffered from severe back pain since I was 16 years-old, and one day in particular, the pain was worse than normal. I complained to my mother about my back trouble, and she responded immediately with “Here honey, take this, you’ll feel better”, as she handed me a pill.

That was it. That was that one pill, that began the destruction of my life.

Over the following six years; I moved several times, struggled to find more drugs and gave up custody of my six-year-old (to an extended family member.)

One Lortab pill turned into ten pills at a time, and eventually even that wasn’t enough for me— because as we all know, its never enough.

When my best friend introduced me to Roxicodone, everything changed. It was the greatest feeling I’d ever experienced and I quickly began snorting them. Anywhere from five to ten pills ( how ever many i could afford) went up my nose everyday, no matter what.  My life revolved around getting high and figuring out where that next pill was going to come from.

The lying, the manipulating, the pills… life was going downhill fast.  I had nothing left to live for, so why not stick a needle in my arm and become a full blown IV drug user?

And that’s exactly what I became.

On October 3rd 2014, I made the courageous decision to get help. One day I was so dope-sick, and so tired of life. I looked at myself in the mirror and told myself, “You’re going to die, you are going to die if you do not stop.”

That’s when I decided to check myself into a state-run detox center in Florida. I stayed in detox for three weeks, and when I got out I went to stay with a family member, away from the city, the people, and places I knew to get drugs.

A couple months after getting clean, I met the wonderful man I now call my husband, and life started looking up.

I was clean, and I was married on March 20, 2015. (yes very shortly after deciding to get clean), and I began gaining trust and respect back from my family.

Then it happened.

We were forced to go live with my mother and before I knew it, life caught up with me… and I relapsed.

This time, it wasn’t even pills… I relapsed on crack cocaine.

Within two months, I drained my husband and I’s bank account to .43 cents.

 I will never forget the day I had to tell my husband— the man who had been there for me through everything— that I had relapsed. And all of the money he earned working 60 hour weeks to support us… was gone.

 That day nearly destroyed us, but my husband didn’t give up on me.  He wanted to, and we were to the point of divorce, but his mother sat him down and explained, “She has a disease, you have to understand that, because you have the same disease. I did this with you for ten years, don’t give up on her.”

I was forced to go back into detox, and although I knew it needed to happen, I didn’t expect it to be in the back of a police car after a long night of smoking crack.

I was checked into the CSU for two days because I had threatened to commit suicide, and after I left there, I was transferred back to the detox for three more weeks.

While  in detox, my husband made arrangements to quit his job, and move us over 300 miles away from my hometown, to his.

It’s now been almost 2 years, and I have achieved so much.

We have been married for three years, I have held the same job and lived in the same home for two years. I got my drivers license back, and best of all… six months ago, I received custody of my 11-year-old daughter.

Life still has its ups and downs=, but I’m extremely happy to be on the road to recovery with my husband and daughter. We just celebrated our first Christmas in six years together, and I truly couldn’t be happier.

On March 4, 2018, I will celebrate two years clean.

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My name is Tiffany, and I’ll be 26 next month by God’s grace.

Many years ago I found out through a prescription I had been given, that I liked pain pills. I didn’t think I would end up as I did throughout the years. I partied and was doing things at 13, that most people don’t do until they’re adults.  

In the midst of partying and rebelling against any rules, I started dating the man that would become, and still is my husband. We married when I was 16.

It wasn’t until the day my mother died, that my addiction really took off.  I was seventeen, and my husband and I had taken care of her while she was sick, up until the point of her going back to the hospital for the final time.

Her death killed a piece of me. I saw things that most people will never know.   The day of her funeral, I had taken a lot pain pills… and I hardly remember the service.

A few years later, my husband and I had a son, and my addiction was spiraling out of control.  I began robbing and stealing from people, cheating and overdosing—until eventually DHR was called, and my son was removed from us for four months.

I decided it was time to change and cleaned myself up. I fought like hell and received him back in December of 2012. I did well for awhile…Until I discovered a drug I never thought I’d use… Ice.

I used to call anyone who used that drug an idiot junkie. I thought I was better, that I would never stoop that low.. until I did.  I became the person I once looked down on..

I used meth/ice so much that it caused one of my lungs to collapse. My teeth started falling out and I lost 50 lbs. My behavior became erratic, I would do my hair and make-up for twelve hours straight, and hallucinating, insisting that I was seeing shadow people.

I struggled with the drug off and on for two years, until finally in June of 2015—it all came to a head.

 I knew I was dying.  I knew my husband would be in prison, and our son (3) at the time, would be an orphan; left to grow up like we did. I knew he would be involved with scary people and bad places.  I knew if I didn’t find a way out of where we were, it was all over—My marriage, our family, losing my son for good, and eventually our lives.

Thankfully I trusted God, and he opened up a path of escape from the hell I had been living. We moved to another state, got our own home, and I found a treatment plan with therapy—that actually worked.

I’ve been clean since June 23rd, 2015.

My son will be seven-years-old next month, and he is thriving.  My husband and I have been been together for eleven years, and our nine-year marriage is stronger than ever.

My son now has stability, and is being cared for by two God-fearing parents, who follow Christ as best as we can.

Everything is great now. Not perfect—but it’s a process. We are progressing everyday, and we owe everything to God.

My teeth still look awful, and I plan to have dentures by March of next year.  I am beyond thankful that I’m not in jail or dead, and had I not given up that old life and trusted God, I wouldn’t be typing this.

There’s Hope. I’m a recovering addict with an 8th grade education. I had many praying for us and I’m thankful for everyone who didn’t give up on us. I no longer look down on anyone and gained empathy and compassion for all addicts.  My mother raised me better, and I understand that everything I did in the past, was my own doing.  I now understand that you cannot say what you would, or wouldn’t do, unless you’re in that position.

I’m saved by God’s grace, I owe Him my life and give him all the glory.

Thanks for letting me share.

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Hiyah, I am Sylvia Rose LeBeau.

I grew up as a PK (Preacher’s kid) in the south. My future was already planned for me, I would be the wife of a missionary, and travel the world spreading the gospel. Whoops!
I began experimenting with alcohol at the age of 12, it was Smirnoff (yeck). At thirteen, menthol cigarettes and a fat blunt sure beat going to church. At fourteen I lost my virginity (yikes!)
. Fast-forward to sweet seventeen. I was brutally raped. I was drugged, then I was raped. I was lost… I was completely undone.
I escaped my reality as much as possible, by doing more drugs and harder drugs—acid to be exact. The first time I took acid, someone pointed out that they had never seen me smile so much, so I assumed that was where my happiness was.

Drugs, were all that I had. 

A high was all I searched for. I just assumed fixing my broken pieces would be impossible, so it was better for me to just forget. At the time, I never really saw that I was sliding down into a hole, but when my ass hit the bottom—there was no denying. Suddenly, my problems hit me all at once.
My family had exhausted all efforts of helping me. Stopped searching for me, and I presume they were just waiting for the news stations to report my arrest… or my death. I had no one—unless you count my controlling and abusive boyfriend. A guy who rigged our third floor apartment door to be bolt-locked from the outside.
It was a feeling of numbness, mixed with unbearable pain.  You can’t understand that feeling, unless you’ve been there. Rock bottom was fast approaching—and like most things—I didn’t see it coming.
Silly story. My drug dealer and best friend at the time were making fun of me for the “dreads” I had started growing naturally. I was doing acid almost everyday at this point. 5’9″ and 100lbs. I looked a mess, why not have some dreads?
He sent me a video of the song “Runaway Train” as a joke, saying I looked just like the lead singer. I took this as a description of my life. That was it. I ate the rest of my acid paper and went to the bathtub—clothes and all. I was determined to kill myself with a hairdryer in the tub, (yeah, drugs make you dumb). I had my hand on the “on” switch when suddenly – my phone pinged.
A text from my ex-boyfriend, (now husband), asking how I was doing. I hadn’t spoken to this man for a year, but somehow, that message changed everything.  That was all it took. Someone wanted to know how I was doing. Someone cared.
I moved to Kentucky with him a couple of months later, but had to go back home because of a warrant for failure to pay DUI fines. I spent five hours in jail. Those five hours was all it took. The feeling of hopelessness and emptiness I experienced in that short time, made me want to change, and stop using. No more hippy days for me.
Eight years later, I am clean and sober, and married to my savior. We have three—count ’em—three boys.
It has taken me all of these years to right my wrongs and gain the trust of my family back. That’s the hardest part, gaining the trust back. Since I live in my hometown, my past is everywhere and it continuously bites me in the ass. Old “friends” pop up, old places with bad memories. It will never be gone.
I am currently studying to become a Substance Abuse Counselor. I am an avid blogger. I am an overcomer.
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*Trigger Warning* (Names of drugs.)

Hi! I’m Andi, and I’m an addict.

My clean date is March 23rd, 2016, so I just celebrated 20 months of freedom from heroin (and crack and meth when I was trying to stop the heroin). The following is my journey thus far…

The first time I acknowledged that I was losing control of my opiate use was in the locker room at the hospital that I worked for. I was a surgical technician, and responsible for assisting during surgery—which included various delicate procedures such as suturing donated corneas to patients who had received transplants.

I was slipping into the bathroom stall in between cases… to snort Oxycontin.

In the beginning, the pills made me feel more effective and productive. My typically quiet, watchful self was replaced with a bubbly, energetic chatterbox that could think and move faster than anyone else in the O.R. suite.

One day, I knew that I had lost control. I had nodded off during an exceptionally long case, and punctured my own glove with a tiny blade.

I told no one, and when break time came I watched my hand bleed on the dollar bill as I rolled it up to take that line.

I knew that I had f***ed up in a major way, but I was eager as hell for the drugs to hit me, because it was the only tried and true solution I had to cope with the guilt and fear that I was beginning to grow accustomed to. And… because the consequences were not enough to stop me.

I rocked on for a few years, working the same position but in various hospitals. I had become adept at sensing when people were copping to my tendencies and behavior. Most mornings I was scrubbing cases while in withdrawals (the dope man doesn’t get up at 5am like I did and for the life of me, I could never save a shot to have in the morning...)

I would start perking up the closer it got to lunch, knowing it was almost time for me to haul ass out of there and get my fix. I was always late coming back, but by God I was ready to work!

I would get repeated warnings, and I always managed to slip out just before they fired me.

To my knowledge, I never injured a patient. That was God’s hand.

At the time, I was engaged to a successful man who also used drugs. The day we found out I was pregnant, we were sitting in his Jeep in a grocery store parking lot on the scary side of town with a half gram of heroin between us…

I had gone into the store and taken a pregnancy test, then brought it back out for us to read together.

Two lines appeared and after we so solemnly swore that this was the last time… and we celebrated with that half gram.

“No human power..” could stop me.

I went to the doctor once during my pregnancy, and lied about having taken an old prescription of Lortabs for a urinary tract infection, to cover for my positive drug urinalysis.

I was late to my own baby shower because my car had run out of gas at the dope man’s house. He was kind enough to give me a lift though..

When the contractions came a month early, I walked around my apartment for two entire days, writhing in a pain so severe that not even the heroin could cover it up. I didn’t want to go to the hospital. I knew what was going to happen. EVERYONE WOULD KNOW, and my baby would not be leaving that hospital with me or his father.

My son was born in full blown withdrawals. It took me 18 hours of watching him shaking and crying before God moved my feet to the nurses station, and God opened my mouth to speak the truth to the hospital staff…

My son was prescribed methadone for 11 days before weaning off of it like a champ. He was healthy— considering what i had put him through. Again, God – not me. He was placed in my grandparents care and left the hospital with them. I loved him so much… but I went to buy dope.

Family court sent me to treatment and the county jail three times. The longest I made it in rehab was 7 days, before leaving on foot. There was no hope for me. I had done the unthinkable and there was no forgiveness and no coming back. So to cope with the pain and shame—I did more dope.

It took another four years of chasing that high, to break me down to the point that I decided to seek help. I began to miss not having a say-so in my life… and I got angry.

I couldn’t keep up with the game anymore and someone else was raising MY boy. I called a treatment center and I asked my grandmother for a ride there.

This time I stayed.

The withdrawals were pure Hell. Somehow, though, in the rare lucid moments that I encountered, I heard hope and this crazy talk of promises in the voices of our guest speakers. By the time I was able to sit straight in a chair again –  I had set a goal. I wanted to be in THAT chair one day, the one the speaker was currently occupying.

I got a phone number of a woman willing to sponsor and I met her the same night that I completed treatment. That was also the day that I saw my son for the first time with sober eyes.

He was 4 years old and what a magnificent little creature he was. My sponsor gave me a copy of the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous and I threw every ounce of myself into my step work. I struggled greatly with the “God” concept, but willingness works wonders.

I called my sponsor every single day, and I never cancelled a meeting with her. I found a home group, and I replaced my dope runs with meetings.

I went back to work and purchased a car. I got my own apartment and after I completed my steps—I began sponsoring other women and participating in H&I (hospitals and institutions). I went back to Family Court after I picked up my 1 year chip, and petitioned for visitation with my son.

This past May, I was granted full custody.

Today… He is all mine.

Growing up I had always wanted to work in law enforcement. Tomorrow I am going to my final interview with the Sheriffs Office to try to become a deputy. If all goes well, I will be working in the exact same jail that the family court judge sentenced me to detox in.

My hope is that I can speak to inmates in that language that only another addict would understand. Maybe I can spread hope in an otherwise dark place.

They say that my honesty about my addiction is what has opened this door for me. I tell them that being honest is the only way that I can stay free.

Today, I have forgiven myself for the harm that I caused; and I am constantly seeking to grow closer to my Higher Power.

Today I am grateful for the darkness because it has brought me into a light that I never dreamed possible.

Today, I practice the principles and help others. I am fulfilled with inspiration to do what is right.

Today I am at peace. I move out of Gods way and follow his lead, and in doing so, I get those beautiful promises.

Thanks for letting me share. 😙

Andi's Story (2)

 

Each week I am going to be posting an inspirational story from someone who has battled, and overcome adversity. You all were so moved by my story, so imagine what a VILLAGE of us sharing our truths can do!

Types of adversities will include, but are not limited to:

Drugs, alcohol, food, sex, gambling, hoarding, self-harm, co-dependency, abuse, violence, etc.

If you would like to be a part of this amazing new endeavor and have your story considered, see submission guidelines below:

1) Tell me your story of overcoming adversity. I want to know: a) What was life like in during that time, what were the feelings and emotions associated with your situation. b) What event made you decide to change the situation for the better/ Why did you decide to change? c) How did you do it? Tell me about that experience. And d) what is your life like now? What amazing things have happened since?

2) Please keep it to 2,000 words or less. I will be editing for grammar and punctuation, but please try your best to make the submission as neat as possible because I am not great at either of those myself.

3) Keep in mind the story will be online for anyone and everyone to read. If you do not feel comfortable putting your face and story out there, then please do not submit a story.

4) Attach a before picture (during the time of struggle), and a present day photo. (No children.)

5) Please use fake names if you are referring to others.

6) Somewhere in the email, please state: ” I _______, give Tiffany permission to use my story and photos on her blog series “Recovering Beautifully”, as well as her book.”

7) I have no idea when and if your story will be chosen to be published, so please refrain from emailing me asking once you’ve submitted. I will email you if it is chosen, and then give you a heads up when it will be live on the site.

*Submit your stories via email to recoveringbeautifully@yahoo.com*

I’M SO FREAKING EXCITED!

**Picture of baby in hopes it helps you not to hate me…**

Hey you,

I am writing this from the floor of my bathroom, because I don’t want to stir my husband from his slumber, (lucky bastard). Sleep, what even is sleep?

Anyway, I think we can all agree, that grammar and punctuation have never been my specialty. If you take a look at my blog posts, it won’t be long before you spot a stray comma or a misspelled word.  I am a story-teller, that does not make me a “writer”, clearly.

Soooo, when it was brought to my attention that there were a few mistakes in my book, I cringed.  Not because I paid someone to catch them – because obviously mistakes happen- but I cringed because the mother-freakin’ thing is already published.

Yesterday, I went in and fixed the changes, nothing major. A few misspelled words.  After this, I have to resubmit to both KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) AND Createspace (Paperback). Once I do this, it makes my paperback “unavailable” while they re-review these files for publishing, (sigh). So while they are generous enough to make it appear as those my book is flying off the shelves at such a rapid pace, that they can’t keep up with the demand and are “sold out”, the truth is — I’m just a big, fat, knucklehead who sucks at typing words. Lol.

I only discovered that this is why my book was “out of stock”, tonight. Ask me how I figured it out…

I learned it after resubmitting my mother friggin’ files AGAIN, after it was brought to my attention that some of my characters have multiple names. Example: Katie vs Sarah and Tom vs Blake vs Brandon.

I have corrected these errors, and resubmitted the files on both websites AGAIN.

So what does this mean? Well, a couple of things. First, it means my paperback will be “Temporarily Out Of Stock” for the next few hours while they review it.  Second, this means the paperback and eBook will not be linked on Amazon for a few days, so you have to search them separately.

Last, an most importantly, this means that all of you that have purchased the paperback up until this point (a few hundred of you) will have Katie called Sarah once, and Brandon called Blake twice.

Now we can look at this one of two ways. One, you can be super-pissed that you spent money on a book in which the author can’t even get the characters names straight. OR, you can think to yourself, “Dude, how cool is this! Only me and a few other people in the whole world have the limited addition “Tiffany is An Idiot” version of this book! Sweet!”

I am praying you choose number two, however, if you are angry – understandably – I will gladly buy the book from you and donate it somewhere. No questions asked, no hard feelings.

With that being said, the updated book should be available tomorrow night in paperback, if not sooner.  You can still purchase it while it is out of stock, it will just ship a couple of hours later.

I’m sorry. I love you, and thank you for sticking by me while I try to figure out what the hell I’m doing.

Hey friends,

I’m gonna keep this brief because I have to leave the house in exactly 4 minutes.  But, I couldn’t leave without giving you this update.

The past week has been mentally exhausting.  Making decisions has never been my strong suit (spelling? Too tired.) So making a monumental decision such as publishing a book and how to go about doing it – has drained me completely.

I have spent many hours this week staring at tiny print on a computer screen, googling and YouTube-ing countless how-to articles and videos, and have gotten a collective 11 hours of sleep in 7 days.

But it is in pursuit of a dream I have had since I was a child.  My father bought me a typewriter, poem books, art kids and science experiments in hopes of awakening my creative side – and it worked.  I am finally doing it, Dad.

All of the blogs from my series are no longer there, they have been replaced with a hastily written apology/ thank you note and I do sincerely want to apologize to those of you who didn’t get to finish.

NOW FOR SOME GOOD NEWS.  I have decided to self-publish.  My book is currently in review, and will be available for pre-order on Amazon within 2 days (I will post a link when it’s ready.)

The book will launch on December 1st for $9.99! If you are looking at the price going “well dayyyyyummmm,” have no fear, there will be a “lending library” feature available for those of you who can’t afford to purchase it.  You can still read it for free for 2 weeks if someone who HAS purchased it is willing to lend!

I will be snagging a few copies and autographing them, (not that I think I’m cool enough to give autographs, but some of you have asked, lol) and will be doing some giveaways before Christmas! So if you do purchase one when the pre-orders go live, you can still enter the giveaway and if you win you can gift one to a friend.

Thank you all for your love an support, I wouldn’t be where I am today if it wasn’t for your love and enthusiasm.

Okay I’m late! Gotta go!!!

Love,

Tiffany

 

They say ignorance is bliss.  I don’t find this to be true.

Ignorance in my case, was the catalyst to my self destruction.

I remember the very first time I experienced my drug of choice.  I was sitting in a computer chair at my best friends house, and burning a Dave Matthews C.D. to play in my Honda Civic.

I dabbled in uppers and downers, rolled on Ecstasy and played strip poker with random guys on a regular basis.  I was having fun and enjoying my early 20’s, just like every other girl my age. The only consequences I was aware of included waking up in a strange bed with no recollection of the night before, and massive hangovers.  I was ignorant.

The day I took my drug of choice for the first time was an ordinary day, nothing special about it.  I wasn’t feeling sad, angry, happy or depressed, I was just… Bored.

“Do you want a blue?” Brandon asked, taking a drag of his cigarette.  “A what?” I asked curiously.

“A blue.  Roxy.  It’s a pain killer.” He said.

“Oh, um. Sure, what the hell.” I replied.

“Fifteen bucks.” He said, popping open the lid of the pill bottle, his cigarette hanging loosely from his lips.

“Fifteen dollars, what? It costs fifteen dollars?” I asked.

“Yep.”

“Holy shit, are you serious? That thing better knock me the f*** out for that kinda money, Jesus.” I said.

“Nah, it won’t knock you out.  If you don’t have the money you can get it to me later.” He said holding out his hand.  I looked at the tiny pill resting in his palm.  Fifteen dollars was an outrageous amount of money to spend on such a little pill.

It intrigued me.  For that kind of money, it must have some kind of magical powers.

“Have you taken it? Is it good?” I asked.

“Oh yeah, you’ll love it.  Here.” He nudged my closed hand and I reluctantly opened it to catch the pill.

That moment, that tiny insignificant moment, would alter the course of my entire life, indefinitely. 

Had Brandon instead handed me that pill and said, “Here, take this.  It’s $15.  This little pill will turn you into a liar, a manipulator, a thief and a convicted felon.  It will cause you to whither away until you are only a shell of the person you are today.  You will spend countless hours twisting in agony and screaming as the unbearable pain of withdrawal ravages your body. By the time this pill is finished with you, you will have no family, no friends, no home, no money… no life.  You will die inside everyday until eventually you will beg God to actually let you die.  And eventually, this pill probably will be the thing that takes your life long before your time. It will destroy you and everything you love. “ I may have reconsidered.

But that’s not what he said.

He said, “You’ll love it, here.”

I had no idea about addiction and withdrawal.  I had no idea that there was something wrong with my brain, that it was different than others.  I didn’t know I was an addict. 

I was ignorant.

I had taken D.A.R.E. classes in kindergarten, and I had always heard that drugs were bad.  But I always thought that was just something old people said because they were “buzzkills” who didn’t understand the definition of a “good time.”

Part of me wishes I knew back then, what I know now.  That I had said, “No, thank you.” and grabbed my Dave Matthews CD and hit the road.

I would have missed out on so much pain, so much heartbreak and despair.

But it took me taking that wrong turn, to end up where I am today, typing this for you.

It took me being dragged down to the depths of hell, and spit out onto the cold floor of a jail cell, to be where I am now- preparing a speech for my presentation at a high school where I am going to educate the kids about the dangers of addiction.

I am here, today, to tell you that our trials and tribulations are not the end, and in most cases, they are the spring-board propelling us into our beautiful purpose.

My higher power used me, so that I can be an example to others and the choices and mistakes I made will not be in vain.  I will work until my dying breath to show that every life is worth something, and addicts are not lost causes.  I owe it to the universe to put as much good out as I can, because I have been given so much..

People question my decision to talk so openly and honestly about my past.  They ask if I worry about how it will affect my children, and my ability to secure a career in the future.

These are completely valid questions, and my answer is this: I have been to places and seen things that most people would have trouble imagining, I have experienced evils that normal people aren’t aware even exist.  I have danced on the welcome mat of deaths door, and yet somehow, managed to make it out alive. I followed a map written by others who have found the way out, and I’ve emerged from the darkness and back into the light.

There are millions of people still trapped down in the darkness, and I’ll be damned if I’m keeping that map to myself.

Addiction is real, and it’s running rampant in our country.

Ignorant – are the people saying all addicts should die.

Ignorant – are the people acting like addicts are rabid dogs unworthy of love.

Ignorant – are the people blindly spewing hate towards addicts without taking the time to understand addiction.

Ignorance – is our fellow man turning his back to someone drowning in their addiction.

Ignorance is not bliss, it’s a tragedy.

Knowledge, love and compassion, now that’s bliss.

The smell of freshly baked cookies greeted me as I entered our tiny, two bedroom apartment.  My mother often slept during the day, so the delicious aroma was a bit perplexing.  My mother was a bartender and worked nights, usually staying out until the wee hours of the morning.  She slept during the day and most times was still asleep upstairs by the time my sister and I got home from school.

“Hello my beautiful girls!” My mother exclaimed as she emerged from the kitchen.  My sister and I excitedly ran to embrace her and I noticed the table had been set with 2 glasses of milk and a plate of cookies.  “Mom! You’re awake.” I said, lunging for a seat at the table.

I remember looking up at my mother as I gleefully dipped my cookie into the cold glass of milk, even at 7 years old, I could tell something was off.  “Why are you awake, Mom?” I asked, as she turned to head back into the kitchen.  No answer.

I looked across the table at my little sister and we both started to giggle.  The excitement of having our mom there to greet us, combined with the wonderfully surprising treats was too much to contain.  We were so used to fending for ourselves upon arriving home, that this moment felt like Christmas morning.

My sister picked two cookies up and placed them over her eyes while singing a silly little tune about being blind.  I will never forget her face as the police officers burst through the front door.

A look of terror immediately crossed her face, causing her to drop one of the cookies onto the table. “Where is he?” An officer barked, his gun drawn.

My sister began screaming and I saw my mother rushing to comfort her. Why is mom crying? I thought to myself, feeling confused.  I began to cry too, not necessarily because I was sad, I was crying because my mom and sister were, and they both looked terrified.

My mother pointed upstairs and I could hear the boots of the officers as they quickly made their way up to the second floor. I tried to open my mouth to ask my mom where they were going, but I couldn’t speak.  Just then I heard my father’s voice from upstairs, but I couldn’t make out what he said.

“Dad’s home?” I asked my mother, feeling more confused that before.  He was supposed to be at work.  Instead of answering, she put her finger up to her lips to quiet me, her eyes pleading.

I could hear multiple footsteps stomping down the stairs, and I stared at the entryway, anxious for them to emerge so I could piece together what was happening.  The first officer came into view and without saying a word, walked out the front door.  He was closely followed by my dad, and before I could call out to him, I realized his arms were handcuffed behind his back.

My sister must have noticed too, because she let out an ear-piercing scream while trying to rip away from mom. “Daddy!” She cried as my mother held her tightly.  My eyes grew wide when I realized they were taking him away. Where were they going? My vision was clouded with tears, and I was having trouble breathing between sobs.

“Daddy!” My sister screamed again.  My heart fell as I witnessed them shoving him angrily out onto the front stoop.  “I love you girls!” My father yelled over his shoulder, as the officer slammed the door behind them.

 

I remember this so vividly in my mind, as if it just happened yesterday.  I’m still unsure to this day what occurred, but whatever it was must have been the breaking point, because my mother and father divorced shortly after this. As a child, I had an incredibly difficult time processing the idea that my daddy wasn’t going to live with us anymore.

My father was my best friend.  He had made childhood an extraordinary place for my sister and I to be.  Our dad was the kind of guy to take all of the recyclables from the house and fashion them into a life-sized human body.  He called him “Plastic Man” and Plastic Man was part of the family for many years.

My father decided he wasn’t happy with his truck, so he super-glued astro-turf to the outside of it and adorned it with little plastic farm animals.  My dad was goofy, hilarious and insanely creative.  The thought of him no longer being in the same home, putting the mattresses on the wall for us to slide down or giving us piggy-back rides around the house was earth-shattering.

My father battled with his own demons, but as young children with no concept of adult problems, my sister and I were clueless.

In hindsight, I can see it all.  I see the glaring signs of his alcoholism and the effect it had on us, but at the time, it was all we ever knew.

My mother would drop my sister and I off at visitations with my father, and we would immediately head to his favorite bar.  We would play the jukebox and roll the little balls to each other across the pool table while waving over to our father as he chugged beer on a stool with his friends.  He loved us, he wanted to see us, he just loved the drink, and had a difficult time separating the two.

With my mother being a bartender, and my father spending all of his time at bars, my sister and I grew up feeling like the smoky rooms and loud music playing over the excited and aggressive conversations of the bar patrons – was our home.

 

When my dad began dating another woman, things started to change drastically.  Jan was a drinker, and her and my father would often get into physical altercations resulting in the police banging down the door and whisking my father away.  I can recall one of those times when my father was taken, leaving us with Jan.

I cried to Jan that night, asking when my father would be back, and I’ll never forget the way her face twisted in disgust, almost as if she wanted to spit in response to my question.  “Never, your father is a piece of s**t and can burn in hell for all I care.” She replied angrily before stomping up the stairs.

I was around 8 years old at the time and I remember sitting on the couch alone in her apartment, crying in the dark.  She would occasionally yell for me to “shut the hell up” from the top of the stairs, but never came down to check on me.  I felt like an abandoned puppy that nobody wanted.  I wanted my Mommy, but Jan spitefully refused to allow me to call her saying; “my father could sort it out in the morning.”

Jan and my dad made up the next day after sobering up and pretended like nothing ever happened.  They sat me down and explained it was all a joke and they loved each other very much.  I was so confused, and never spoke a word of it to anyone.

It’s funny, because when you are a child, you don’t have any expectations or ideas of the way things should be.  You have nothing to compare your childhood to, because it’s the only childhood you’ve ever had.

When people ask me why I started using drugs, it’s a hard question to answer because there are a thousands of fleeting thoughts that occurred in my mind over the course of my life. Thoughts that contributed to the way I carried myself, the way I perceived things and the way I dealt with situations.  Hundreds of these situations added up over the course of my life that shaped my character. These thoughts and situations combined with the environment I found myself in, and the people I surrounded myself with, created the perfect recipe for experimental drugs use.

I felt lost, I had little stability and structure and I had an unbearably difficult time fitting in because my mind was a prison harboring self-doubt and insecurity.  The moment I took that first pill, the moment it made me feel absolutely… nothing, was the moment the darkness sleeping within me jolted awake and latched onto my soul. By the time I realized it had coiled around my mind and weaved it’s way into my bones, it was too late, I was powerless.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hey Friend!
There’s good news and there’s bad news. Which do you want first? I’ll give you the bad news, because by now you already kinda know… This blog series is no longer available on this website. I’m sorry! I have always dreamed of writing and publishing a book, ever since my Dad bought me a typewriter on my 6th birthday.
The good news is, It’s finally happening! My book is in review on the Amazon Kindle website, and within the next few days will be available for pre-order! I know you are probably still mad at me, but I hope that you understand that this a huge goal, that I am actually about to freakin’ accomplish, and I want you to be excited with meeee!
I will post a link to the book here as soon as it becomes available, as well as share it on my facebook @ http://www.facebook.com/jugglingthejenkinsblog
Thank you for being interested in my stuff, it really means more than you know. And thank you for being a part of my journey. You may not realize it, but it’s people like you that inspire me to get my lazy ass out of bed each day and create content.
Me love you long time…
Tiffany Jenkins

Hey friends!

I know I said I was going to stop with all the giveaway’s, so when I was asked to review this children’s book, initially, I was hesitant. Once I heard however,  what they are doing for children in need with the book, my heart soared and I jumped on the opportunity to be a part of it.  And guess what?

Not only is the book a fun way to help build your kids brain by sneakily helping them learn to read, a cool way for them to develop hand strength and fine motor skills, but it’s also a great source of distraction while you take a 5-minute “mommy-break.”

But my FAVORITE thing about this freakin’ book, is that EVERY TIME someone purchases the book for $9.99, the creators of the book will gift a copy to a child in need.  These recipients are in foster homes, hospitals, etc.

So every time you hear your child giggling while coloring, you know that somewhere, a child in need is laughing and coloring too – how amazing is that?! That seriously makes my heart so happy.

The Book.

HAHA front

The Ha Ha Color-Me! Joke Book was created by Neesha Mirchandi, and it’s a children’s book unlike any other.  Most of the pages contain a silly joke and a fun picture for the kids to color, but there are also pages containing only jokes – and a blank spot for your child to draw his/her own picture.  There are even a few pages in the back for your littles to write their own jokes!

 

20171007_152208_Film1
#me

Unfortunately, my 6-year old was at her grandparent’s house when I busted out the copy they sent me to review.  So my “book-tester” group consisted of a 3-year old, and a 1 & 1/2 year old.

When I opened the book and laid it on the table in front of them with crayons, they pounced on the crayons like ravenous sharks and immediately crawled up onto the table.

Initially, they played tug-of-war with the poor book (surprisingly it held up), until I kindly explained that they were to share, and if they couldn’t, than I would beat them with it. (Just kidding.)

20171007_123005

There were a solid 45 seconds of sharing before I had to jump back into the ring and break them up again. (Next time, I will order two books since they are so young, but knowing that two other little kids somewhere will get books as well, makes me feel a lot better about spending the money.)

20171007_122453_Film1

 

Anyway, while they were too young to grasp the humor in the joke portion of the book, they thoroughly enjoyed coloring the pages, (and the table, and the carpet.) When Aubrey comes back home tomorrow I will have her test the joke portion of the book and will update the post to reflect her verdict.

All-in-all, it’s a cute book and the kids had fun, but the very best part of this experience was knowing that the amount of fun they had was DOUBLED, because a child in need somewhere in the world got to experience the same joy they did.

Guess what?! I have an extra copy up for grabs for one of YOU to win!

To enter, just click the link and answer my prompt question, that’s it!

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/cbf8d1bb5/?

 

Winner will be chosen on 10/17/2017.

If you can’t wait to get your hands on a copy, head over to their website and pre-order yourself one of these bad boys.

I feel it’s important to note that I was not paid, or persuaded to say any of this.  I really love the idea of cheering up children in need, and if we can make our own kids giggle, while helping other kids do the same – than that is something I can definitely help spread the word about.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hey Friend!
There’s good news and there’s bad news. Which do you want first? I’ll give you the bad news, because by now you already kinda know… This blog series is no longer available on this website. I’m sorry! I have always dreamed of writing and publishing a book, ever since my Dad bought me a typewriter on my 6th birthday.
The good news is, It’s finally happening! My book is in review on the Amazon Kindle website, and within the next few days will be available for pre-order! I know you are probably still mad at me, but I hope that you understand that this a huge goal, that I am actually about to freakin’ accomplish, and I want you to be excited with meeee!
I will post a link to the book here as soon as it becomes available, as well as share it on my facebook @ http://www.facebook.com/jugglingthejenkinsblog
Thank you for being interested in my stuff, it really means more than you know. And thank you for being a part of my journey. You may not realize it, but it’s people like you that inspire me to get my lazy ass out of bed each day and create content.
Me love you long time…
Tiffany Jenkins

Hey Friend!
There’s good news and there’s bad news. Which do you want first? I’ll give you the bad news, because by now you already kinda know… This blog series is no longer available on this website. I’m sorry! I have always dreamed of writing and publishing a book, ever since my Dad bought me a typewriter on my 6th birthday.
The good news is, It’s finally happening! My book is in review on the Amazon Kindle website, and within the next few days will be available for pre-order! I know you are probably still mad at me, but I hope that you understand that this a huge goal, that I am actually about to freakin’ accomplish, and I want you to be excited with meeee!
I will post a link to the book here as soon as it becomes available, as well as share it on my facebook @ http://www.facebook.com/jugglingthejenkinsblog
Thank you for being interested in my stuff, it really means more than you know. And thank you for being a part of my journey. You may not realize it, but it’s people like you that inspire me to get my lazy ass out of bed each day and create content.
Me love you long time…
Tiffany Jenkins

 

Hey Friend!
There’s good news and there’s bad news. Which do you want first? I’ll give you the bad news, because by now you already kinda know… This blog series is no longer available on this website. I’m sorry! I have always dreamed of writing and publishing a book, ever since my Dad bought me a typewriter on my 6th birthday.
The good news is, It’s finally happening! My book is in review on the Amazon Kindle website, and within the next few days will be available for pre-order! I know you are probably still mad at me, but I hope that you understand that this a huge goal, that I am actually about to freakin’ accomplish, and I want you to be excited with meeee!
I will post a link to the book here as soon as it becomes available, as well as share it on my facebook @ http://www.facebook.com/jugglingthejenkinsblog
Thank you for being interested in my stuff, it really means more than you know. And thank you for being a part of my journey. You may not realize it, but it’s people like you that inspire me to get my lazy ass out of bed each day and create content.
Me love you long time…
Tiffany Jenkins

Hey Friend!
There’s good news and there’s bad news. Which do you want first? I’ll give you the bad news, because by now you already kinda know… This blog series is no longer available on this website. I’m sorry! I have always dreamed of writing and publishing a book, ever since my Dad bought me a typewriter on my 6th birthday.
The good news is, It’s finally happening! My book is in review on the Amazon Kindle website, and within the next few days will be available for pre-order! I know you are probably still mad at me, but I hope that you understand that this a huge goal, that I am actually about to freakin’ accomplish, and I want you to be excited with meeee!
I will post a link to the book here as soon as it becomes available, as well as share it on my facebook @ http://www.facebook.com/jugglingthejenkinsblog
Thank you for being interested in my stuff, it really means more than you know. And thank you for being a part of my journey. You may not realize it, but it’s people like you that inspire me to get my lazy ass out of bed each day and create content.
Me love you long time…
Tiffany Jenkins

 

The intrusive siren of my alarm ripped me from my peaceful island, and suddenly I found myself within the 4 walls of my bedroom.  My fan hummed in the distance, a soundtrack to the army of thoughts suddenly invading my mind.

I blinked a few times, and let out a sigh as I lazily kicked my covers from my legs. I desperately wanted to pull them back up and stay snuggled inside the warmth of the soft fabric.  Instead I shuffled to the bedroom next to mine, and quietly opened the door.

As I took in the sight of my beautiful toddlers sleeping peacefully, the infantry of thoughts in my head began firing all at once.

I have to hurry, we have 55 minutes until we leave.  Aubrey’s vocabulary words are due today and I have to remember to bring wipes to Kaiden’s school. Hopefully I can find a pair of matching socks, I think they are still in the dryer. Speaking of dryer, did I ever hang Aubrey’s uniforms up or are they still on the table? The table, breakfast, what am I giving them for breakfast? I need to go grocery shopping.  There’s no money on the card, I’ll have to go to the bank. I’ll need gas if I’m going that far.  Shit, I can’t get gas until I go to the bank.  I’ll have to go before school.  We have to hurry. I really need to get organized. 

“Hey guys, time to get up for school.” I whisper softly.

Both babies stir simultaneously and Kaiden springs up like a Jack-In-The-Box. “Morning Mommy, me hungey.” He says rubbing his eyes. I hear Aubrey coming down the hall. “Good morning. Do you know where my uniforms are?” She asks from the doorway, her hair wild, from sleep.  I smile at her as I lift Chloe from her crib and notice Aubrey’s pajamas are too small for her.  She is growing so fast, too fast.

The morning commences the same way it always does; I frantically walk in circles picking up clothes, dressing children, packing backpacks and making food.  10 minutes left. Panic sets in.  The children want to dance and play- they are children, after all.  We have no time.

I should wake up earlier, I hate mornings.  I can’t wake up earlier, the army of thoughts take residency in my mind until the wee hours of the morning.  They never leave. I never sleep. Maybe I’ll nap when I get home. I can’t, I have to clean, and make dinner. Dinner, what am I making for dinner? I need to go grocery shopping. I have to get money on the card.  Shit. The bank…

Guys! We have to go now!”

Mornings. They are repetitive, chaotic, stressful, day in, day out. Groundhogs day. I want more, I want peace, I want to sleep in. I want someone else to get them ready, to drop them off, to carry the overwhelming weight of motherhood, I want someone else to carry it for me. Please, just for one day.

And then I remember.

I remember what mornings used to be like.

I remember popping my eyes open and immediately wanting to die.

I remember twisting in pain beneath the covers as the opiate withdrawal kicked in.

I remember spending my entire day like a 2-liter of Coke that had been shaken, ready to explode at any moment, if only the lid would open.  But it never did. The pressure was stuck inside me with nowhere to escape.

I remember telling 7 lies before noon.

I remember sneaking around in the darkness while scheming and plotting and planning and stealing and lying and hurting and dying.

I remember waking up 121 times in a jail cell.

I remember waking up 176 times in a rehabilitation center.

I remember waking up 181 times in a twin bed next to a room mate in a halfway house.

Today I woke up in my own bed, in my own home.

I glance into my rearview mirror with new eyes. I watch as Kaiden gleefully kicks his legs up and down, and Aubrey sings the song on the radio at the top of her lungs as if she were in a music video. Chloe’s tiny little arms stick up above her car seat as she claps to the beat.

We do this everyday, everyday the same. Today it’s different.

My resentment has been replaced with gratitude.  I am grateful for the clothes I dressed my beautiful children in. I am grateful for the breakfast I fed them. I am grateful for this stressful, chaotic, repetitive morning. I am bursting with joy as I am reminded of the magnificent responsibility my higher power has bestowed upon me – the role of a Mother.

Today – this day – that has been the same as all the other days this week, is the greatest day of all. I am clean, I am healthy…

I am alive.

Hey Friend!
There’s good news and there’s bad news. Which do you want first? I’ll give you the bad news, because by now you already kinda know… This blog series is no longer available on this website. I’m sorry! I have always dreamed of writing and publishing a book, ever since my Dad bought me a typewriter on my 6th birthday.
The good news is, It’s finally happening! My book is in review on the Amazon Kindle website, and within the next few days will be available for pre-order! I know you are probably still mad at me, but I hope that you understand that this a huge goal, that I am actually about to freakin’ accomplish, and I want you to be excited with meeee!
I will post a link to the book here as soon as it becomes available, as well as share it on my facebook @ http://www.facebook.com/jugglingthejenkinsblog
Thank you for being interested in my stuff, it really means more than you know. And thank you for being a part of my journey. You may not realize it, but it’s people like you that inspire me to get my lazy ass out of bed each day and create content.
Me love you long time…
Tiffany Jenkins

 

 

Hey Friend!
There’s good news and there’s bad news. Which do you want first? I’ll give you the bad news, because by now you already kinda know… This blog series is no longer available on this website. I’m sorry! I have always dreamed of writing and publishing a book, ever since my Dad bought me a typewriter on my 6th birthday.
The good news is, It’s finally happening! My book is in review on the Amazon Kindle website, and within the next few days will be available for pre-order! I know you are probably still mad at me, but I hope that you understand that this a huge goal, that I am actually about to freakin’ accomplish, and I want you to be excited with meeee!
I will post a link to the book here as soon as it becomes available, as well as share it on my facebook @ http://www.facebook.com/jugglingthejenkinsblog
Thank you for being interested in my stuff, it really means more than you know. And thank you for being a part of my journey. You may not realize it, but it’s people like you that inspire me to get my lazy ass out of bed each day and create content.
Me love you long time…
Tiffany Jenkins

 

Hey Friend!
There’s good news and there’s bad news. Which do you want first? I’ll give you the bad news, because by now you already kinda know… This blog series is no longer available on this website. I’m sorry! I have always dreamed of writing and publishing a book, ever since my Dad bought me a typewriter on my 6th birthday.
The good news is, It’s finally happening! My book is in review on the Amazon Kindle website, and within the next few days will be available for pre-order! I know you are probably still mad at me, but I hope that you understand that this a huge goal, that I am actually about to freakin’ accomplish, and I want you to be excited with meeee!
I will post a link to the book here as soon as it becomes available, as well as share it on my facebook @ http://www.facebook.com/jugglingthejenkinsblog
Thank you for being interested in my stuff, it really means more than you know. And thank you for being a part of my journey. You may not realize it, but it’s people like you that inspire me to get my lazy ass out of bed each day and create content.
Me love you long time…
Tiffany Jenkins

Hey friends.

The past 5 months since I’ve started my Facebook page have been — incredible, to say the least.  Everything has happened so quickly and honestly I was not expecting any of this.

I have been averaging around 2,000 new followers a week and it’s totally blowing my mind.  I am thrilled, grateful and so, so fortunate to have you all with me on this journey.

I am also exhausted, confused and overwhelmed.

The page started as a place for me to share my writing, and it has turned into something else and I’m not sure it’s where I want it to be, honestly.

I initially loved the idea of giveaways.  I thought I could use my platform to help momma’s who are busting their butts to support their family by promoting their businesses.  I also received a lot of positive feedback from the participants in the giveaways, about how neat it was that they could enter — without being required to do anything other than answer a question.

I don’t ask for anything personally when doing these giveaways, I do them for the sole purpose of hooking my peeps up with cool stuff while helping an entrepenuer.

HOWEVER, it has started to become to much.  I receive over 20 messages a day from business owners asking me to do a giveaway for their business. Those messages are mixed in with messages from mothers and addicts reaching out for help and guidance–and THOSE messages, are the reason I started writing.

I feel like I’ve been carried out to sea in a rip-tide, my feet knocked out beneath me and I’ve been floating along and trying to make everyone happy and get everyone to like me and please every person on the planet……..and I’m drowning.

I already feel 10 lbs lighter writing this.

I recently met with a pretty influential Mom Blogger and she shared some invaluable wisdom with me, things she wished someone had told her when she first began.

The biggest thing I took away from her meeting was when she said “Figure out what your goal with the blog is–why you started– and focus on that.”

It got me thinking, my goal was never to orchestrate giveaways. It was to write from the heart, help people, make crazy videos and become a famous billionaire. (Just kidding about that last part.)

No I’m not.

Anyway.  I want to get back to me, doing what feels good to me.  What makes me happy and what I want my message to be.

I have giveaways booked on Mondays and Fridays through the 25th of this month.  After that, I will…..*sigh* no longer be doing them.

I hope that you all understand that it is nothing personal and I have truly enjoyed being able to help hopefully bring business to those who have participated so far.  But going forward I want to know that whatever long, heartfelt message I’m reading in my inbox won’t end with a “catch” from someone wanting to do a giveaway.

I am going to spend my time writing, making videos and hanging with the fam. Whew. Damn, it feels good to say that.

I feel free.  Relieved. And inspired.

Thank you all for bearing with me as I figure out what the hell I’m doing with my life.  This is all so new to me and I’m learning as I go.  Your support has always meant the world to me and I feel so grateful to have you guys with me.

THE GOOD NEWS ISSSSSSSSS………..

Starting next week, every Friday, I will be posting a new video! That’s right.  Vids are getting scheduled.  9:00 pm EST on Fridays be on the look out for a video having to do with motherhood, addiction, random life experiences, skits and whatever the hell else pops into this crazy brain of mine.

Me love you long time….

Tiff

 

Hey Friend!
There’s good news and there’s bad news. Which do you want first? I’ll give you the bad news, because by now you already kinda know… This blog series is no longer available on this website. I’m sorry! I have always dreamed of writing and publishing a book, ever since my Dad bought me a typewriter on my 6th birthday.
The good news is, It’s finally happening! My book is in review on the Amazon Kindle website, and within the next few days will be available for pre-order! I know you are probably still mad at me, but I hope that you understand that this a huge goal, that I am actually about to freakin’ accomplish, and I want you to be excited with meeee!
I will post a link to the book here as soon as it becomes available, as well as share it on my facebook @ http://www.facebook.com/jugglingthejenkinsblog
Thank you for being interested in my stuff, it really means more than you know. And thank you for being a part of my journey. You may not realize it, but it’s people like you that inspire me to get my lazy ass out of bed each day and create content.
Me love you long time…
Tiffany Jenkins

 

 

Hey Friend!
There’s good news and there’s bad news. Which do you want first? I’ll give you the bad news, because by now you already kinda know… This blog series is no longer available on this website. I’m sorry! I have always dreamed of writing and publishing a book, ever since my Dad bought me a typewriter on my 6th birthday.
The good news is, It’s finally happening! My book is in review on the Amazon Kindle website, and within the next few days will be available for pre-order! I know you are probably still mad at me, but I hope that you understand that this a huge goal, that I am actually about to freakin’ accomplish, and I want you to be excited with meeee!
I will post a link to the book here as soon as it becomes available, as well as share it on my facebook @ http://www.facebook.com/jugglingthejenkinsblog
Thank you for being interested in my stuff, it really means more than you know. And thank you for being a part of my journey. You may not realize it, but it’s people like you that inspire me to get my lazy ass out of bed each day and create content.
Me love you long time…
Tiffany Jenkins

Hey Friend!
There’s good news and there’s bad news. Which do you want first? I’ll give you the bad news, because by now you already kinda know… This blog series is no longer available on this website. I’m sorry! I have always dreamed of writing and publishing a book, ever since my Dad bought me a typewriter on my 6th birthday.
The good news is, It’s finally happening! My book is in review on the Amazon Kindle website, and within the next few days will be available for pre-order! I know you are probably still mad at me, but I hope that you understand that this a huge goal, that I am actually about to freakin’ accomplish, and I want you to be excited with meeee!
I will post a link to the book here as soon as it becomes available, as well as share it on my facebook @ http://www.facebook.com/jugglingthejenkinsblog
Thank you for being interested in my stuff, it really means more than you know. And thank you for being a part of my journey. You may not realize it, but it’s people like you that inspire me to get my lazy ass out of bed each day and create content.
Me love you long time…
Tiffany Jenkins

 

 

Hey Friend!
There’s good news and there’s bad news. Which do you want first? I’ll give you the bad news, because by now you already kinda know… This blog series is no longer available on this website. I’m sorry! I have always dreamed of writing and publishing a book, ever since my Dad bought me a typewriter on my 6th birthday.
The good news is, It’s finally happening! My book is in review on the Amazon Kindle website, and within the next few days will be available for pre-order! I know you are probably still mad at me, but I hope that you understand that this a huge goal, that I am actually about to freakin’ accomplish, and I want you to be excited with meeee!
I will post a link to the book here as soon as it becomes available, as well as share it on my facebook @ http://www.facebook.com/jugglingthejenkinsblog
Thank you for being interested in my stuff, it really means more than you know. And thank you for being a part of my journey. You may not realize it, but it’s people like you that inspire me to get my lazy ass out of bed each day and create content.
Me love you long time…
Tiffany Jenkins

Hey Friend!
There’s good news and there’s bad news. Which do you want first? I’ll give you the bad news, because by now you already kinda know… This blog series is no longer available on this website. I’m sorry! I have always dreamed of writing and publishing a book, ever since my Dad bought me a typewriter on my 6th birthday.
The good news is, It’s finally happening! My book is in review on the Amazon Kindle website, and within the next few days will be available for pre-order! I know you are probably still mad at me, but I hope that you understand that this a huge goal, that I am actually about to freakin’ accomplish, and I want you to be excited with meeee!
I will post a link to the book here as soon as it becomes available, as well as share it on my facebook @ http://www.facebook.com/jugglingthejenkinsblog
Thank you for being interested in my stuff, it really means more than you know. And thank you for being a part of my journey. You may not realize it, but it’s people like you that inspire me to get my lazy ass out of bed each day and create content.
Me love you long time…
Tiffany Jenkins

 

Hey Friend!
There’s good news and there’s bad news. Which do you want first? I’ll give you the bad news, because by now you already kinda know… This blog series is no longer available on this website. I’m sorry! I have always dreamed of writing and publishing a book, ever since my Dad bought me a typewriter on my 6th birthday.
The good news is, It’s finally happening! My book is in review on the Amazon Kindle website, and within the next few days will be available for pre-order! I know you are probably still mad at me, but I hope that you understand that this a huge goal, that I am actually about to freakin’ accomplish, and I want you to be excited with meeee!
I will post a link to the book here as soon as it becomes available, as well as share it on my facebook @ http://www.facebook.com/jugglingthejenkinsblog
Thank you for being interested in my stuff, it really means more than you know. And thank you for being a part of my journey. You may not realize it, but it’s people like you that inspire me to get my lazy ass out of bed each day and create content.
Me love you long time…
Tiffany Jenkins

Hey Friend!
There’s good news and there’s bad news. Which do you want first? I’ll give you the bad news, because by now you already kinda know… This blog series is no longer available on this website. I’m sorry! I have always dreamed of writing and publishing a book, ever since my Dad bought me a typewriter on my 6th birthday.
The good news is, It’s finally happening! My book is in review on the Amazon Kindle website, and within the next few days will be available for pre-order! I know you are probably still mad at me, but I hope that you understand that this a huge goal, that I am actually about to freakin’ accomplish, and I want you to be excited with meeee!
I will post a link to the book here as soon as it becomes available, as well as share it on my facebook @ http://www.facebook.com/jugglingthejenkinsblog
Thank you for being interested in my stuff, it really means more than you know. And thank you for being a part of my journey. You may not realize it, but it’s people like you that inspire me to get my lazy ass out of bed each day and create content.
Me love you long time…
Tiffany Jenkins

 

Hey Friend!
There’s good news and there’s bad news. Which do you want first? I’ll give you the bad news, because by now you already kinda know… This blog series is no longer available on this website. I’m sorry! I have always dreamed of writing and publishing a book, ever since my Dad bought me a typewriter on my 6th birthday.
The good news is, It’s finally happening! My book is in review on the Amazon Kindle website, and within the next few days will be available for pre-order! I know you are probably still mad at me, but I hope that you understand that this a huge goal, that I am actually about to freakin’ accomplish, and I want you to be excited with meeee!
I will post a link to the book here as soon as it becomes available, as well as share it on my facebook @ http://www.facebook.com/jugglingthejenkinsblog
Thank you for being interested in my stuff, it really means more than you know. And thank you for being a part of my journey. You may not realize it, but it’s people like you that inspire me to get my lazy ass out of bed each day and create content.
Me love you long time…
Tiffany Jenkins

Hello friends! And a big fat hello to all my new friends that just joined in on the craziness today!

Whew. Speaking of today.  I don’t want to braaaaaggggg…..buttttt….. We made it onto the news guys! A real live news channel with reporters and teleprompters and fancy business clothes! whaaaat?!?!

In case you missed it, WAFF 48 news in Huntsville, AL did a story about my blog. I am so grateful to Steffany, a producer of the news program who follows my blog and proposed the idea to cover it on her station.  I am also grateful to the reporter, Jake Berent for focusing on the NOW, instead of exploiting the “then” part of my life. He did a really wonderful job ensuring it was a positive message. (Unlike, ahem…rhymes with “The Maily Dail.”

If you missed Jake’s story, check it out HERE.

I can’t begin to express how incredible I feel after the outpouring of love I received all day from friends, as well as people I’ve never met.  The fact that the news station was willing to run a story like this in hopes of inspiring those who are currently battling addiction, as well as offering resources after the segment–speaks volumes about the hearts of those running the program. WAFF 48 you rock!

I have also had a few people from Charlotte, NC messaging me saying they saw me on the local news there, so I’m assuming they showed it here too? (Anyone from Charlotte here? Fill me in!)

To answer a few questions I’ve been getting in my inbox:

*If you have started reading my latest series, before you get any further I recommend starting with the first series, 120 Days In- My Time In Jail.  ALL the chapters can be found on the actual blog @ http://www.Jugglingthejenkins.com. Or you can scroll down the Facebook page and find them! (But that’s a lot of work.)

*I don’t have a set schedule for videos/ live videos.  The only thing scheduled is the series chapters, and they come out on Wednesdays.  The rest of the stuff is posted shortly after it pops into this crazy brain of mine.

*I can’t answer any personal questions about my story, or the people involved because — spoilers.  And also I don’t want to incriminate anyone other than myself.

*If you are struggling or you know someone who is, please reach out to me if you need someone to listen — I will try my best to respond as quickly as possible!

*Some people have asked if I would be willing to host a sale/ share their blog/ mention there business, etc.  As much as I admire your courage in asking and desire to grow and support your business, I want this to remain a safe, pressure free environment.  If you want to offer my friends here a chance to win one of your products, I am happy to mention your business.  But if it requires them to do anything other than enter, than I would have to pass.  I like to give them the option to check out your stuff, (example: For 5 bonus entries, look at this page/ join this group/ share this blah blah blah) as oppose to forcing them. Ya know what I’m sayyyyyyyyin?

*If you want to receive an email when I publish a new post, hit the “Follow” button on the actual blog website and enter your email! Make sure you “follow” the Facebook page as well as “liking” it, that way I show up on your newsfeed! Boom.

Anyway I’ve had a long day of swimming, receiving loving text messages and eating an obscene amount of food, so I’m gonna get outta here. I just want you to know I love and appreciate each and every one of you and look forward to getting to know each of you better!

Goodnight friends!!!!!!

 

 

Hey Friend!
There’s good news and there’s bad news. Which do you want first? I’ll give you the bad news, because by now you already kinda know… This blog series is no longer available on this website. I’m sorry! I have always dreamed of writing and publishing a book, ever since my Dad bought me a typewriter on my 6th birthday.
The good news is, It’s finally happening! My book is in review on the Amazon Kindle website, and within the next few days will be available for pre-order! I know you are probably still mad at me, but I hope that you understand that this a huge goal, that I am actually about to freakin’ accomplish, and I want you to be excited with meeee!
I will post a link to the book here as soon as it becomes available, as well as share it on my facebook @ http://www.facebook.com/jugglingthejenkinsblog
Thank you for being interested in my stuff, it really means more than you know. And thank you for being a part of my journey. You may not realize it, but it’s people like you that inspire me to get my lazy ass out of bed each day and create content.
Me love you long time…
Tiffany Jenkins

 

 

Hey Friend!
There’s good news and there’s bad news. Which do you want first? I’ll give you the bad news, because by now you already kinda know… This blog series is no longer available on this website. I’m sorry! I have always dreamed of writing and publishing a book, ever since my Dad bought me a typewriter on my 6th birthday.
The good news is, It’s finally happening! My book is in review on the Amazon Kindle website, and within the next few days will be available for pre-order! I know you are probably still mad at me, but I hope that you understand that this a huge goal, that I am actually about to freakin’ accomplish, and I want you to be excited with meeee!
I will post a link to the book here as soon as it becomes available, as well as share it on my facebook @ http://www.facebook.com/jugglingthejenkinsblog
Thank you for being interested in my stuff, it really means more than you know. And thank you for being a part of my journey. You may not realize it, but it’s people like you that inspire me to get my lazy ass out of bed each day and create content.
Me love you long time…
Tiffany Jenkins

 

Hey Friend!
There’s good news and there’s bad news. Which do you want first? I’ll give you the bad news, because by now you already kinda know… This blog series is no longer available on this website. I’m sorry! I have always dreamed of writing and publishing a book, ever since my Dad bought me a typewriter on my 6th birthday.
The good news is, It’s finally happening! My book is in review on the Amazon Kindle website, and within the next few days will be available for pre-order! I know you are probably still mad at me, but I hope that you understand that this a huge goal, that I am actually about to freakin’ accomplish, and I want you to be excited with meeee!
I will post a link to the book here as soon as it becomes available, as well as share it on my facebook @ http://www.facebook.com/jugglingthejenkinsblog
Thank you for being interested in my stuff, it really means more than you know. And thank you for being a part of my journey. You may not realize it, but it’s people like you that inspire me to get my lazy ass out of bed each day and create content.
Me love you long time…
Tiffany Jenkins

I’ve included a Christmas picture of me from 1990 for no reason at all.

Some of you watched my most recent “Live” video (…Er, sorry about that) and aside from witnessing me flop my “pool toy” around, you got to hear some news I shared in regards to possibly writing a book.

Since sharing this news, my car has been egged and protestors have been posted up in my yard with signs reading: “F*** your book!” for 2 days straight… (Kidding.)

However, I have received lots of messages from you guys with opinions, advice and words of encouragement.  It has all been positive, no one has been mean or hateful (to my face) about this, so I’m incredibly grateful for all of the love you guys show me on the daily– You’re my peoples, man.

Anyway, I wanted to clear up any confusion, because I was so nervous about all the angry emoji’s I was receiving on my live that I don’t think I properly explained–so I’ll do that now.

  1. It was suggested that I take a break from sharing things pertaining to my specific life story, until I write the book and send it in it’s entirety to a certain agent.  At which point he would like to propose it to his big boss people on the top floor.  So what does this mean? Technically–nothing. Literally.  I have no deal, no one has agreed to sign me, and I have not hired any agents or editors.
  2. I have prayed about this, asked a psychic, flipped a coin and opened 10 fortune cookies in hopes of discovering the “right” path to take. Here is my predicament: A) I stop sharing my weekly blogs with you guys – in essence leaving you hanging– in hopes I’m able to strike a book deal.  Getting a book deal is highly unlikely, but possible. Anything is possible, right?  It would mean not only generating income for my fan-damily, but it will also (hopefully) inspire those who are still struggling; showing them that a purposeful life after addiction is possible. This has been my ultimate goal — hence me being insanely transparent and divulging WAY to much about my personal life to you guys. I want you to know show you that you aren’t alone, because you’re not. Or, B)I continue to share my story here on my blog for you guys — my ride or die, A-1 since day one peeps–and passing up any chance of ever sharing my story in book form.  Spending the rest of my days wondering what kind of opportunities I missed while knitting sweaters for my cats alone in my tiny home.
  3. So, it’s tricky.  I don’t have the right answer, each choice leads to a completely different future and that’s a lot of pressure.
  4. I will tell you this, my friends, and we are gonna speak hypothetically here.  I have begun the editing phase of my book.  Initially, I was going to copy and paste all the blogs I have already posted, then add the rest–the meat of the story–onto the end.  However, when I went back to do that, I realized that when I initially began blogging–I had no clue what the frig I was doing.  Misspellings, incorrect grammar and punctuation galore, it was a nightmare.  So I’m currently in the process of rewording everything.
  5. I am going to post a final chapter tomorrow and then… Take a break to sort things out.  It’s not done forever, I’m just pausing the series for now. (So shitty, I know.)
  6. Here’s what I’m thinking though, Okay?  Let’s say that me publishing a book is part of a “big plan” that the universe, God, Allah,(whatever you believe)-has in store.  Then obviously, all of you (My homies) would have first dibs.
  7. Also, the agent came up with an idea that I personally thought was awesome.  You may not, but we will give it a shot.  If someone were to consider taking my book on, they would first look at my social media accounts (crap) to see what kind of following I have. Soooooo, he suggested that I propose a trade to you guys.
  8. I have never been one to self-promote, it makes me feel weird, and really uncomfortable.  But if it will help me make a future for my family, I will paint my logo all over my van and stand in the middle of the street with a sign saying “like my damn page on Facebook!”. So here’s the deal.  Now I don’t want ya’ll to go around force-adding people to my page, no one likes that. However, if you can give your friends the run down on what I’m all about over here, and they decide they want to get in on the action, I am prepared to make a deal.
  9. If you can convince 5 of your friends to fall madly in love with me — no, wait, if you can convince 5 of your friends that they should like my Facebook page and/ or follow my blog @ http://www.jugglingthejenkins.com–and they do it, you are allowed to ask me ONE question about my story –anything you have been dying to know, and I will answer it…in 10 words or less.  If you can talk 10 friends in to liking my Facebook page – You get to ask me a question and recieve the unpublished Chapter #6 sent to your inbox. Boom. If you can convince more than 10 people–than I am moving you into my spare bedroom and we will live happily ever after.  Just kidding. I don’t have anything cool to offer after 10.  I think there’s a dusty old X-box laying around here somewhere and some leftover Easter candy.  But that’s it.
  10. Lastly, and most importantly, a few of you mentioned in my inbox that you were concerned I would become a “sell-out” and I totally understand why.  These days it’s hard to find people who are genuine, and have their followers, friends, fans, best interest at heart.  It’s really important to me that you understand that this will never be the case. I started blogging for one reason and one reason only–because I was really bored one day.  Just kidding.  I wanted to use my struggles to inspire people like me. People who feel or have felt hopeless, desperate to find the light at the end of the tunnel.  I wanted to show them they aren’t alone, and that we are all a little weird in our own way. That will never change.

I will never lose sight of why I started, no matter what happens.  I will continue to make crazy videos, write articles about motherhood, addiction, marriage and adulting.  And I will still be chatting with you guys everyday.  The only difference will be that there isn’t a super-exciting-edge-of-your-seat series to look forward to each week, no big deal, right? Lol.

Please let me know how you guys feel about this, as well as any suggestions or concerns you have.  Your excitement keeps me excited, so your opinions matter.

I love you guys and look forward to hearing from you!

P.S. Even though my sons preschool teach watched me pull out a sex toy last night on camera, things were totally cool when I dropped him off and picked him up today…So, in case you were wondering.  We’re still cool.  Poor Kaiden.

 

 

 

 

Hey Friend!
There’s good news and there’s bad news. Which do you want first? I’ll give you the bad news, because by now you already kinda know… This blog series is no longer available on this website. I’m sorry! I have always dreamed of writing and publishing a book, ever since my Dad bought me a typewriter on my 6th birthday.
The good news is, It’s finally happening! My book is in review on the Amazon Kindle website, and within the next few days will be available for pre-order! I know you are probably still mad at me, but I hope that you understand that this a huge goal, that I am actually about to freakin’ accomplish, and I want you to be excited with meeee!
I will post a link to the book here as soon as it becomes available, as well as share it on my facebook @ http://www.facebook.com/jugglingthejenkinsblog
Thank you for being interested in my stuff, it really means more than you know. And thank you for being a part of my journey. You may not realize it, but it’s people like you that inspire me to get my lazy ass out of bed each day and create content.
Me love you long time…
Tiffany Jenkins

 

Hey Friend!
There’s good news and there’s bad news. Which do you want first? I’ll give you the bad news, because by now you already kinda know… This blog series is no longer available on this website. I’m sorry! I have always dreamed of writing and publishing a book, ever since my Dad bought me a typewriter on my 6th birthday.
The good news is, It’s finally happening! My book is in review on the Amazon Kindle website, and within the next few days will be available for pre-order! I know you are probably still mad at me, but I hope that you understand that this a huge goal, that I am actually about to freakin’ accomplish, and I want you to be excited with meeee!
I will post a link to the book here as soon as it becomes available, as well as share it on my facebook @ http://www.facebook.com/jugglingthejenkinsblog
Thank you for being interested in my stuff, it really means more than you know. And thank you for being a part of my journey. You may not realize it, but it’s people like you that inspire me to get my lazy ass out of bed each day and create content.
Me love you long time…
Tiffany Jenkins

 

Hey Friend!
There’s good news and there’s bad news. Which do you want first? I’ll give you the bad news, because by now you already kinda know… This blog series is no longer available on this website. I’m sorry! I have always dreamed of writing and publishing a book, ever since my Dad bought me a typewriter on my 6th birthday.
The good news is, It’s finally happening! My book is in review on the Amazon Kindle website, and within the next few days will be available for pre-order! I know you are probably still mad at me, but I hope that you understand that this a huge goal, that I am actually about to freakin’ accomplish, and I want you to be excited with meeee!
I will post a link to the book here as soon as it becomes available, as well as share it on my facebook @ http://www.facebook.com/jugglingthejenkinsblog
Thank you for being interested in my stuff, it really means more than you know. And thank you for being a part of my journey. You may not realize it, but it’s people like you that inspire me to get my lazy ass out of bed each day and create content.
Me love you long time…
Tiffany Jenkins

Hey everyone!

So I haven’t written in a bit and my fingers have been itching to get some thoughts down on paper.  Whew, what a crazy week it’s been, huh? Since I posted my “Eyebrow Stamp” video on my Facebook Page, things have been poppin’ off!  I have gained like 700 something new followers and my vids are being shared all over the place.

It has been super fun to see how many moms can relate to my shenanigans, and I’m grateful for the platform I’ve been given to let other hardworking moms know that they are not alone in the obstacles that pop up while facing the daunting task of raising children.

Speaking of, is anyone familiar with having an “Ah-ha” moment? It’s a moment of sudden insight or discovery.  We have all had one at some point or another and when we do, it can change everything.

This morning, I experienced something similar, except it was more of an “Ah-S**t” moment.

I was suddenly overcome with the realization that I f***ed up, and upon experiencing this revelation, I knew something had to change, and quick.  Here’s what happened.

I woke my son up for school, and instead of greeting me with a “Good morning, mommy”, he began shrieking as if I was tearing his limbs off one by one.

“Hey, woah, calm down buddy, it’s time to get up” I gently whispered, rubbing his back.

NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!! You don’t do dat! Lee me awone!” he wailed, rolling over and ignoring me.

I nervously glance out the bedroom door and see Chloe running around with a chocolate chip waffle she stole off her brothers plate, smearing chocolate all over the walls and sofa while Aubrey is yelling across the house about how she can’t find her back pack.

Deep breath, Momma,  you got this.

“Kaiden, get up. Now” I said sternly this time. The clock was ticking and my anxiety was rising.

No! Top it. Weave me awone!”

“You want a waffle, Bud?”

“No!”

“If you wake up now you can have a lollipop on the way to school”

“Noooooo!!! Goooo away!”

“Honey, you have to get up.  You wanna watch Mickey?” I said as a last resort, (he could never say no to Mickey).

He jumped up with a huge smile, “Mickey!?” He squealed.

“Ya Buddy, c’mon, if you get dressed you can watch Mickey”.

He began crying again, and not wanting to further damage my ear drums that were already ringing from his shrieks, I quickly grabbed the remote.

“Okay, okay, easy.  You can watch Mickey while Mommy gets you dressed” I said, scrambling to pull up OnDemand.

When Mickey began playing, I looked at the smile on his face and was overcome with relief.  Thank God, I couldn’t bear to take another second of —   then it hit me.  Ah-S**t…..

I messed up.  I messed up bad.  Not just today.  Everyday. All the time.

My.Son.Is.Spoiled.

I have spoiled him.  In every sense of the word. And it took me this long to realize, I had been messing up.  I’m sure most of you reading this realized it right away, but I hadn’t.  My love for this little dude blinded me.  He’d been taking advantage of me the whole time.

I glanced out the door at my girls.  Aubrey had gotten herself dressed to the shoes and was sitting quietly on the couch.  Chloe was sitting in the middle of the floor giggling and munching on a waffle. Meanwhile, My son, Kim Kardashian, was staring mindlessly at the T.V. while his servant quietly dressed him, careful not to disturb him.

WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH ME?!

This kid is two freakin’ years old! He is not the boss, I am, so why the hell do I let him dictate how this morning is going to go down? On his terms?

It was as if I had been slapped across the face by the invisible ‘Common Sense’ fairy. Suddenly everything became clear and I realized not only am I enabling this kid to act like a jerk, but his sisters are watching, and I’m giving them a front row seat to the movie “How To Get What You Want By Acting Like An Asshole“.

With a newfound determination I bounded over to the T.V. and shut it off.

“HEYYYYYYYY?!” Kaiden screamed as he collapsed onto the bed kicking his little legs in frustration.

“No, I don’t care, there’s a new Sheriff in town, Buddy, so you better buckle up yer britches ‘cuz things are a’changin ’round here”, I said.

(Okay, I didn’t say that, but when my life is made into a movie that’s  how I want my line to go).

I literally dragged him into the van kicking and screaming.  He screamed the entire ride to his sister’s school, and then daycare.  When I unbuckled him he was covered in sweat and tears and continued to protest until I threw him at his teachers and ran full speed out the door like I was being chased by a swarm of hornets, arms flailing and everything.

I sat quietly in the van for a moment, replaying the mornings events in my head while taking deep, slow breaths in an attempt to slow my blood pressure down. This isn’t the first time this has happened, it happens often.

Wanting to “give myself a break” I thrust a snack into his hand or throw him in front of a T.V. so that I can have a few moments of peace. But this kid is smarter than I realized and over time he has learned that the ear-piercing shrieks and tears will get him exactly what he wants, every time.

I love seeing his eyes light up when he gets something he wants, it makes my soul happy to see my baby happy. But holy s***, he is turning into a bit of an a-hole and there’s no way in hell I’m putting up with 16 more years of this crap.

So, after I write this, I have a plan of action.  I am finally doing what I said I’d never do – I’m making a damn schedule for this family.

My laziness and love of spontaneity has kept me from creating a set list of things we are to do at certain times. I have always been a fan of “seeing where the day takes us”, but I realize now, that this leaves room for chaos and rebellion, and I need to nip this thing in the bud, (butt? is it bud or butt?) before it’s too late.

There will be set times we eat.

Minimal screen time depending on behavior throughout the day.

We will have set homework, reading, bath and play times.

And I will be more diligent in bed times.

I am expecting it to be difficult, exhausting and stressful. It’s gonna suck.  A lot.

But, I have faith that it will pay off in the end.  There’s a difference between making their lives “fun”, and “letting them run the show”, and I have been blurring those lines a bit.

So as I set of to begin the task of organizing the days into a schedule, I ask for prayers and luck to be sent my way.  Because as usual, I have no clue what the f*** I’m doing.

Also, if anyone has any advice, tips, or tricks that work for your routines, please help a sista out and leave them in the comments below.

Lastly, if anyone has the number to Nanny 911, I’ll take that too….

XOXO

Hey Friend!
There’s good news and there’s bad news. Which do you want first? I’ll give you the bad news, because by now you already kinda know… This blog series is no longer available on this website. I’m sorry! I have always dreamed of writing and publishing a book, ever since my Dad bought me a typewriter on my 6th birthday.
The good news is, It’s finally happening! My book is in review on the Amazon Kindle website, and within the next few days will be available for pre-order! I know you are probably still mad at me, but I hope that you understand that this a huge goal, that I am actually about to freakin’ accomplish, and I want you to be excited with meeee!
I will post a link to the book here as soon as it becomes available, as well as share it on my facebook @ http://www.facebook.com/jugglingthejenkinsblog
Thank you for being interested in my stuff, it really means more than you know. And thank you for being a part of my journey. You may not realize it, but it’s people like you that inspire me to get my lazy ass out of bed each day and create content.
Me love you long time…
Tiffany Jenkins

 

Hey Friend!
There’s good news and there’s bad news. Which do you want first? I’ll give you the bad news, because by now you already kinda know… This blog series is no longer available on this website. I’m sorry! I have always dreamed of writing and publishing a book, ever since my Dad bought me a typewriter on my 6th birthday.
The good news is, It’s finally happening! My book is in review on the Amazon Kindle website, and within the next few days will be available for pre-order! I know you are probably still mad at me, but I hope that you understand that this a huge goal, that I am actually about to freakin’ accomplish, and I want you to be excited with meeee!
I will post a link to the book here as soon as it becomes available, as well as share it on my facebook @ http://www.facebook.com/jugglingthejenkinsblog
Thank you for being interested in my stuff, it really means more than you know. And thank you for being a part of my journey. You may not realize it, but it’s people like you that inspire me to get my lazy ass out of bed each day and create content.
Me love you long time…
Tiffany Jenkins

Hey buds!

I’m sitting here with a fancy avocado mask on my face, trying my best to stay looking like I’m 21 for as long as possible.  But I need to get something off my chest. I have always believed in being completely transparent with you all, ‘cuz you’re my peoples.  So I need to make a confession.

If you are a recovering addict, chances are you have heard the expression “my drug of choice is more“.  Listen.  It’s a real thing.  My addiction has been manifesting itself in sneaky ways, and it took me a minute to realize it.

While I’m not shooting dope in an alley and stealing from my loved ones; I am still acting like an active addict, making spontaneous and compulsive decisions, without considering the consequences.

For a little (long) while there,  I was scrolling through countless “Online clothing company” albums, wide-eyed and licking my lips, making purchases I couldn’t afford.

Gah, I really need gas in the car but holy s**t, would you look at the floral pattern on those leggings.  I better buy them before anyone else does“.

Then for the next couple of days I’m stalking my mailbox like a crackhead, waiting for my delivery.

I felt guilty every time I paid an invoice, but the guilt was overshadowed by the excitement of my new arrival. I was acting out compulsively – just like I did while using. “But Tiffany it’s not the same, these are leggings not drugs-” trust me, it’s the same. I know my mind and the way it works, it was becoming a problem.

But it didn’t stop there.

I was buying jewelry, face creams, hand creams, lotions, fancy shampoos and make-up. I justified it by telling myself  “girl, you deserve it! You work so hard for your family and you never do anything for yourself“. While it’s true, I do deserve a lil sumthin’ sumthin’ from time to time, this was more than that. I was being carelessly frivolous with my funds, and not playing the tape all the way through.

I am a huge fan of helping local moms support their families, but in turn, I need to ensure I am contributing as much as possible to my own.

I was buying things to make me feel good.

To make me feel good temporarily.  I was spending money I don’t have, on material things to make me feel different, and the moment I got something in the mail, I was already looking forward to buying something else to match it – even though it wasn’t necessary.  If that isn’t my bastard addiction trying to inch his way back into my life  – I don’t know what is.

It’s not just purchasing things, I over-eat, and I under-eat, I have short bursts of motivation and low moments of laziness.  Up until my revelation about how wonderful my shape is just the way it is, I was battling with my self-confidence. If you saw my post about my Facebook memory of when I was thin, than you know that the way I felt about my body completely changed in that instant, and it truly has made a difference in the way I view myself in the mirror.

I am nowhere near perfect, and this is why I always tell you guys to “take the things I say with a grain of salt”. I’m not a recovered addict, I am a recovering addict. I am a work in progress and until my last day on earth, I will never stop trying to better myself.

I am grateful to the program for equipping me with the tools that allow me to recognize when I am acting out on my addiction.  The only way to fix a problem is to acknowledge it and I certainly have.

I have left almost all of my “Clothing” groups, I have spoken with my husband about how I feel, that way there is some accountability and I am prepared to start searching inward to discover what it is that caused me to try and make myself feel better with new things.

When a phone runs out of battery and dies, the only way to get it to work again is to plug it in.  I need to plug back in to my connection with God.  I have allowed life to get in the way of the relationship I’d created with him, and I can feel it. I have begun rebuilding it and I know that he will give me everything I need to feel complete.

Thank you all for allowing me this outlet to vent and process my emotions.  Being able to get honest, and get my thoughts out of my head and onto “paper” has been incredibly therapeutic. I love you all more than you know and appreciate your unwavering support of my journey.

XOXO

 

 

Hey Friend!
There’s good news and there’s bad news. Which do you want first? I’ll give you the bad news, because by now you already kinda know… This blog series is no longer available on this website. I’m sorry! I have always dreamed of writing and publishing a book, ever since my Dad bought me a typewriter on my 6th birthday.
The good news is, It’s finally happening! My book is in review on the Amazon Kindle website, and within the next few days will be available for pre-order! I know you are probably still mad at me, but I hope that you understand that this a huge goal, that I am actually about to freakin’ accomplish, and I want you to be excited with meeee!
I will post a link to the book here as soon as it becomes available, as well as share it on my facebook @ http://www.facebook.com/jugglingthejenkinsblog
Thank you for being interested in my stuff, it really means more than you know. And thank you for being a part of my journey. You may not realize it, but it’s people like you that inspire me to get my lazy ass out of bed each day and create content.
Me love you long time…
Tiffany Jenkins

I just got home from a meeting and had to sit down and document the way I feel, because I want to remember this feeling forever.

This evening at the NA meeting, I had the privilege of sharing my story in front of a room full of people in early recovery.

I have been a speaker at meetings countless times, and it is always the same.  The nerves begin to get to me a few moments before I’m introduced.  My heart starts pounding and my hands begin to shake.

I pull out the “worry stone” my father gave me as a gift to help calm my nerves, and I begin rubbing it between my fingers.

Once I am introduced and everyone begins clapping, a take a deep breath and say a quick prayer, asking God to speak through me and allow me to carry whatever message he wants to share to the people listening.

Tonight I spoke at a rehab facility. I imagined these people had a regular day, filled with meetings and cafeteria food and cigarette smoking, so I really wanted to shake things up and get their attention. Add some excitement to their day.

I begin sharing my story, briefly speaking on my childhood, then I jump to high school.  When I tell them about what happens 2 months after my first drink, the all gasp in surprise. That was it, the moment their ears perked up and they began actually listening.

I didn’t want to speak at them, I wanted to speak to them, through them. I wanted my words to slip into their mind and take residency there, I didn’t want my message to go in one ear and out the other.

They begin leaning up in their seats, listening intently as I make a conscious effort to make eye contact with each person in that room as I speak. I want them to feel important, they are important.

As I take them on a journey through my life, the terrible things that happened, that I did, then get to the part about my rock bottom – you could hear a pin drop.

They were invested, desperate to know how the story ended.

I explain to them how every single choice I made upon my arrest was life altering.  The smallest step in one direction changed everything, the Butterfly Effect.

When I got to the “now”, the way my life is today, the gratitude I feel, my children, my home, the person I have become, I grow emotional.  I noticed others feel the same as I see a few people wipe hopeful tears away.

When I finish they all applaud and begin raising their hands to ask questions and thank me personally for coming and sharing my story.

I have moved some of them, I have inspired them, I have sparked a flame of hope in their hearts. This is my purpose.  This is why all of the terrible things that happened, happened.

So that I can stand in front of a room full of people and say “I have been where you are, and I know the way out”.

I feel high on life in this moment. The gratitude is overwhelming. I am so lucky to have been given a second chance at life today, and to be able to give back what was so freely given to me.

I have shared my story many times in the past at various facilities and meetings, but tonight was different, God was definitely present tonight, I could feel it, I truly believe he moved through each of us.

The newcomers in that meeting may feel like I was able to inspire them and offer hope, but they don’t realize that they helped me more than I could ever help them.  They are working on changing their lives and have no idea the beautiful plan God is orchestrating for them as we speak.

To see the uncertainty in their eyes, the nervousness of the unknown, the anticipation and trepidation of what comes next reminded me of where I came from. I felt that way once.

On my way home I said a prayer for everyone in that room.  That they are able to fight for their recovery and overcome the demons that are trying to take their lives.

I feel blessed, honored and humbled tonight, thankful for my new life, and the miracles that God continues to show me on a daily basis.

I want to remember this feeling forever, this high, it’s better than any high I ever experienced while using.  I’m high on life, man.

Hey friends!

You know that moment, when your walking through the mall, minding your own business, and all the sudden in your peripheral vision you see a person beginning to approach you from a kiosk.  You try to avoid eye contact and pick up the pace of your step, in an attempt to visually convey the fact that you are not interested in whatever the hell they’re about to ambush you with?

“Free sample?” they blurt as you pass, holding out an object to lure you into a sales pitch.  Ugh, that’s the worst, right? Talk about pressure.  I mean, you aren’t interested in what they are selling, but you don’t want to feel like a jerk by rejecting them either.  It’s a tough spot to be in, when all you wanted was a pretzel and some new shoes.

Sometimes, it can feel like this exact same scenario plays out on a place most of us spend a lot of time — Facebook.

There you are, scrolling along, minding your own business when all the sudden, you get a message in your inbox.

It’s from someone trying to sell you something. Be it directly or inadvertently, their mission is the same, to get you to purchase their product. 

Unsure of what I’m talking about? Here’s a few examples:

Now, I have seen many people ranting on Facebook about this issue, understandably. I can understand the frustration of having your inbox look like this (this isn’t even the half of it).   If you aren’t interested, you aren’t interested – I get it, I really do.  But the thing is, each of these people was unaware that the others had done the same thing. How could they know?

I feel the need to make a few quick points about this situation.  Not to change peoples minds, but instead to make them think twice before lashing out against those who are trying to grow their business. Here are some things I think about when responding to the influx of messages I receive.

They are supporting a family. Lularoe, ItWorks, Thrive, LipSense, Nerium, Isagenix, Limelight, Plunder and Paprazzi Accessories – just to name a few – are companies that allow people to generate extra income for their families – from home.

One of the toughest things that a mother (especially of a newborn) has to do is return to work after giving birth to a child. It’s heartbreaking for a mom to have to leave her heart at home and walk out the door without it, I know from experience.

These companies allow mothers to spend more time at home with their children, while still managing to generate much needed income for their family. They are able to use social media – the most easily accessible form of networking – to get their product out there and into the hands of the consumers quickly and easily.

Side-Hustle. Some of the people who sell these products aren’t always mothers.  This day in age it seems oftentimes the middle class (like myself) are working SO HARD to move forward and make ends meet, but we often find ourselves running in place and getting nowhere, living paycheck to paycheck.

Some people have decided to take it upon themselves to do something about it.  They have started their own business and are working furiously day and night to get their product out into the world, in exchange for a small profit which they can use toward a down payment on a home, or groceries or car payments.  They aren’t doing it just for fun – it’s their livelihood.

Believe it or not, they don’t want to stalk you. I don’t personally sell anything, but I am close to many people who do.  After numerous conversations with some of them I can tell you, that they don’t want to bug you about their stuff.  They really don’t.

They don’t wake up in the morning and say “Oh man, I can’t wait to see how many people I can piss off and annoy today, it’s gonna be great!”

It goes more something like this: “Rent is due in 2 days and despite the fact that my husband has been busting his ass at work this week, it’s still gonna be tight.  If I can sell a couple ( insert product here) today it will help tremendously”.

OR,

“Oh my gosh I can’t believe how good I am feeling and how much energy I have because of this (insert product here). I really need to tell my friends about it so they can feel this good too!”

It takes a lot of balls, tenacity and motivation to put yourself and your business out there,  facing the risk of being ridiculed and rejected.  But they continue to do it because they are passionate about it, and that deserves praise. You don’t have to buy it, you can tell them you aren’t interested, hell you can even unfollow them – but bear in mind that their goal isn’t to lose a friend, it’s to do whatever they can to raise awareness about what they’re selling.

They believe in the product. Listen, if someone dedicates their life to a company or product, and spends countless hours purchasing, organizing, promoting, invoicing and networking – it’s not because they think the product sucks and doesn’t work.  They wouldn’t give so much of themselves, if they didn’t truly believe in their heart that what they are selling is quality and will be enjoyed by the consumers.

I personally get genuine enjoyment from supporting my friends in their business ventures.  I would rather make purchases from people I love, knowing exactly where my money is going. as oppose to a big box retailer who’s CEO is currently parking his private jet in the backyard of his mansion and has no clue I even exist.

I applaud anyone who busts their ass to do something positive for their loved ones, who doesn’t rely on others to support them and does whatever they can to build a successful future.

I understand the frustration these sales pitches may cause some of you, and to be honest I think there are a few people out there who go overboard, and give the rest of them a bad name.  Don’t let a few bad apples spoil the bunch.

I sincerely hope that you will take all of these things into consideration the next time someone approaches you about something.  If you aren’t interested, let them know.  You don’t have to be a jerkface about it. A simple “No thank you” will suffice.

And for you business owners out there, if someone does say “No thank you”, leave it at that. No need to question their decision or try to convince them – that’s when you cross over into the stalker category, people.

If you sell a product I would love for you to leave a link to your business in the comments.  I think you are wonderful for doing what you do and I will always support you. Not always financially though, my husband is getting tired of my shit….

 

Hey Friend!
There’s good news and there’s bad news. Which do you want first? I’ll give you the bad news, because by now you already kinda know… This blog series is no longer available on this website. I’m sorry! I have always dreamed of writing and publishing a book, ever since my Dad bought me a typewriter on my 6th birthday.
The good news is, It’s finally happening! My book is in review on the Amazon Kindle website, and within the next few days will be available for pre-order! I know you are probably still mad at me, but I hope that you understand that this a huge goal, that I am actually about to freakin’ accomplish, and I want you to be excited with meeee!
I will post a link to the book here as soon as it becomes available, as well as share it on my facebook @ http://www.facebook.com/jugglingthejenkinsblog
Thank you for being interested in my stuff, it really means more than you know. And thank you for being a part of my journey. You may not realize it, but it’s people like you that inspire me to get my lazy ass out of bed each day and create content.
Me love you long time…
Tiffany Jenkins

Hi friends! I hope everyone had an awesome weekend.  Mine was great, thank you for asking. I did a lot of yard work, like, I raked leaves…With a rake, and put them in bags.  Basically this means that if you look up the word “adult” in the dictionary, you’d find a photo of me, smiling holding my rake.

Anyway, I also had the privilege of tuning into Bayside Community Church’s service live on the internet this morning (it still counts).

When I began watching, the Director of Next Generation Ministry, Matt Moore was speaking on marriage.

Realizing I need all the help I can get in that department, my ears perked up. Within moments I found myself laughing out loud.  Regardless of your religious beliefs, Pastor Matt’s delivery of the message was hilarious, inspirational and eye opening.  At times it felt as if I was watching a stand-up comic, and I was genuinely entertained throughout the entire sermon; which is rare for me, because generally I have the attention span of a 2 year old.

I was so moved by some of the points he made, that I decided to hop on here and share a few of my favorite parts.  Things that have not only helped me to see my own marriage in a new light, but things I feel anyone – regardless of their beliefs –  can benefit from.

He compared loving your spouse to caring for a vehicle, and for some reason those analogies made multiple light bulbs go off inside my head.  It was relatable, and allowed me to look at my relationship from a different perspective.

If you would rather watch the video itself, in it’s entirety,(which I’d totally recommend because this guy is awesome) than click https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2FBaysideCommunity%2Fvideos%2F10154434345387681%2F&show_text=0&width=560“>here . (His message on marriage begins around the 32 minute mark). Otherwise, here are a few things I took from it that I believe will benefit my own marriage positively going forward.

“Marriage isn’t supposed to be a 50-50 thing”. “It isn’t supposed to be two broken people coming together to be whole.  If two broken people come together, you are gonna have a broken marriage.”

“You have to find your completeness and your fulfilment from Christ and Christ alone, then you can go find somebody that you want to do life with. That’s how its supposed to work”.

He referred to the vehicle he currently owns, and mentioned how it has many automatic features, including a back-up camera and alarms that alert him when he gets too close to hitting something.

He had become so reliant on these features, that when he found himself in a rental car with no back-up camera, he had a moment of panic.  It was as if he was driving a car for the first time and had forgotten what to do, he had gotten so used to the cameras and alarms, that he had forgotten how to do the basics- like checking his mirrors.

He said, “I think sometimes this is true in our marriages.  I think sometimes the longer that we are married, the longer we can begin to forget or neglect to keep doing the basics.  It’s like, we get comfortable in our marriage, we get complacent.  We forget to keep doing the things that caused us to fall in love with each other in the first place”.

Pastor Matt Moore then makes reference to the time he sold his brother his car.  He told him that “She runs great, but she needs an oil change. If you do that she will be fine”.

His brother never got the oil change, and the engine blew up.  All he had to do was spend $20, and the car would still be going today.  He then shows the parallels between this specific situation, and neglecting a marriage:

“What are the little things we can do today to fix the marriage, before it blows up?”  “What if we didn’t wait until there was bitterness and hurt and unforgiveness in our relationship? What if we were proactive and we actually took care of our marriage before we HAD to, before things started going wrong?”

Okay, so, here’s where it gets really good.

Pastor Matt refers to men being goal oriented.  How they will pursue a woman in the beginning,  and once they get married its like – “goal accomplished”. Men then begin to focus on other things: Career, achievements, financial future, etc. He says:

“Often, what happens is we stop meeting the emotional needs of our wives”. “Sometimes its easier to survive our marriage, than to continue to make an effort to pursue our wives.  But guys, then we wonder why our sex life isn’t what it used to be. We wonder why our wife doesn’t respect us like she used to, maybe its because we’ve stopped meeting her emotional needs”. 

*Mic drop*

And just as I began slow clapping and violently nodding my head like, “Yes, this guy is goooood”,  he said:

“But I want to tell you, you’re not out of the woods yet ladies…”

Crap.

“In the early years, there was never a moment when your man didn’t see you without makeup.  You were perfectly done up, you had the makeup going- I mean- you used to shave your legs, ABOVE the knee”. 

I laughed and my hand brushed against my leg fur, and all laughing ceased immediately.

 “Its like those days are over – I mean whos got time for that? I’ve got to juggle kids and life and business; and then you wonder why your husband doesn’t just sit and stare at you anymore”.

Well, dang.

“You wonder why he doesn’t snuggle up to you at night – listen- that hair stubble can be painful man, lets be real for a second, right? (Audience erupts in laughter).

“Here’s what happens – guys – if you don’t feel like your physical needs are being met in a relationship, maybe you need to go out of your way to make sure that you’re meeting your wives emotional needs.”

Ayyyyy!!!! That’s what I’m saaaayin Matty, thank youuuuu.

“Ladies you don’t feel like your having your emotional needs met by your husband, maybe you need to go out of your way to make sure you’re meeting his physical needs”.

Oh.

“A lot of times what happens in marriage/relationships is we play this dangerous game with each others needs. It’s childish, its dangerous, and it is not genuine love”.

“We get married and have kids and our lives become completely centered around our kids. What happens is, you wake up one day 18 years later and realize that your spouse is just a room mate”.

(This terrified me, because we are already in the pattern on focusing solely on our children, and the little bit of time we have to ourselves, instead of focusing on one another).

He ended with this, and I loved it…

“You don’t need to be out test driving when you have a perfectly good car at home. The truth is, she might have a few miles on her, it might be a little dinged up, maybe the car’s not as “shiny” as it was when you brought it home. But you know what? It’s yours”.

“If you just make the choice to invest in what you have, instead of going out shopping for something that’s not yours, it will cost you a lot less in the long run”.  Which I interpreted as: “The grass isn’t greener on the other side, it’s greener where you water it”.

I thoroughly enjoyed this message today and as soon as I finished watching I gave my husband a great big hug and kiss.  It was a nice little reminder, that we get so wrapped up in the day-to-day rituals and routines, that we don’t take a break to nurture the relationship and enjoy the little moments.  Getting regular tune-ups and oil changes on your vehicle is crucial and necessary if you intend on keeping it for a long time.

The same can be said for marriage.  Investing time, energy and love into the marriage today, will keep it from falling apart, and will ensure that it lasts a lifetime…

Did you attend Bayside Community Church’s service today? Did you watch it live? What are your thoughts on the message?

Bayside Community Church Website: https://mybayside.church/

Bayside Community Church’s Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/BaysideCommunity/?pnref=story

 

 

 

Hey Friend!
There’s good news and there’s bad news. Which do you want first? I’ll give you the bad news, because by now you already kinda know… This blog series is no longer available on this website. I’m sorry! I have always dreamed of writing and publishing a book, ever since my Dad bought me a typewriter on my 6th birthday.
The good news is, It’s finally happening! My book is in review on the Amazon Kindle website, and within the next few days will be available for pre-order! I know you are probably still mad at me, but I hope that you understand that this a huge goal, that I am actually about to freakin’ accomplish, and I want you to be excited with meeee!
I will post a link to the book here as soon as it becomes available, as well as share it on my facebook @ http://www.facebook.com/jugglingthejenkinsblog
Thank you for being interested in my stuff, it really means more than you know. And thank you for being a part of my journey. You may not realize it, but it’s people like you that inspire me to get my lazy ass out of bed each day and create content.
Me love you long time…
Tiffany Jenkins

According to Wikipedia.org, the definition of “parenting” is as follows: “Parenting or child rearing is the process of promoting and supporting the physical, emotional, social, financial, and intellectual development of a child from infancy to adulthood.”

Jesus, that sounds serious.

I mean, that’s a lot of responsibility, and since it’s my job to “support” and “promote” all of those things, this means there’s a chance that I can royally screw it up.

When I first became a parent, I was clueless in regards to just about everything.  I have made lots of mistakes, but I’ve grown from them, and what works for me, might not work for you, it’s a learning process.

I’ve decided to share some tips, tricks and bits of advice that I wish I’d known sooner. Things that have not only made parenting easier, but also helped my children to flourish and become rad little people.

Get an app with toddler lock. Listen, if you have a baby, you know damn well that kid is scratching and clawing to get at your phone.  If you turn your back for 2 seconds, they are updating your Facebook status with baby-jibberjabber and liking the photos of people you were just secretly stalking. Babies are little geniuses and master the “unlock” patterns as soon as they exit the womb. Get a free toddler app like this and let them go crazy.  They can’t exit the screen, and this buys you time to wash dishes, talk to doctors or get 5 minutes of peace.

Purge, and purge often. All it takes is one holiday with relatives, and your house looks like  a Toys-R-Us exploded.  Chances are, your kid plays with the same 3 toys despite having 74 billion of them.  Kids will play with cardboard, shoes and toilet paper.  They don’t care.  Take a damn garbage bag in the kids room and stuff it with toys they aren’t attached to, or don’t even know exist, and take them to one of these places.  Not only will other kids benefit from your bag of goodies – but you will feel a thousand pounds lighter mentally. Trust me.

Make sure all your kids stuff goes back where it belongs. If I had a dollar for every freakin’ time I ran around this house like a chicken with my head cut off trying to locate socks, shoes, sippy cups and hair ties – I’d buy an actual person to live here and find the stuff for me. Like literally, purchase a human, I’d be that rich.  I now put things back where they go (most of the time), and while it takes an extra second to put it back, it saves me hours of pulling my hair out and shooting death glares at my kids as I run past them full speed, with a single shoe in hand.

Kids are smarter than you think  My son is 2.  When he finishes a meal, he asks if he can please be done, takes his plate to the sink and washes his hands – without me saying a word. Other times he collapses on the floor in hysterics claiming he can’t pull the blanket up over his legs. When they ask me to do something for them, I always ask them to first try themselves. Whether it’s toothpaste on a toothbrush or putting their own socks on, push your kiddos to do things they think they can’t, and both of you may be pleasantly surprised.

Proceed with caution when asking strangers in “Mom Groups” for advice. I learned this one the hard way.  After posting a photo of a red mark on my sons leg, a few mothers convinced me he’d been bitten by a Brown Recluse spider. I yanked him up, threw him over my shoulder and ran full speed to the car where we proceeded to speed to the hospital.  It was a pimple.  A pimple that cost me $4,500.  Thanks “Shelley” from Nebraska. If you are worried about your kid – call the doctor or a trusted relative. Don’t allow strangers in Germany to diagnose them based off of a photo.

Watch this video. If you don’t know what to do if your kid starts choking, (aside from panicking and swinging them around by their ankles). It’s under a minute, and may save a life.  Click Here.

Finally, Don’t answer all your kids questions. Whenever Aubrey asks me a question, instead of answering it,  I almost always ask her; “Well, what do you think?”  This allows her to get her gears turning, use her imagination and most times, come to her own conclusions. She is usually super excited when she answers her own questions, and it helps her to have confidence in her abilities and problem-solving skills.

 

That’s it for now, I’m sure I could think of a bazillion more, but it’s 11:00 p.m. and my son is refusing to sleep without me in there.  That’s another thing, I wish someone would have told me what a bad idea it was to put the baby in my bed with me.  It seemed fun at the time, but now I spend my nights getting karate kicked in the temple and punched in the eye sockets. I do love snuggling with him though, I’ll put him in his own bed soon, maybe, someday….When he’s 18.

Goodnight friends….

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Happy Easter my wonderful friends!

As I sat on the couch and watched my kids running around this morning, my heart filled with gratitude, my mind began wandering.

I began thinking about all of the moms in reco