I was so naive about addiction and narcotics.
The first time that I took them for something that wasn’t pain, was before my ex-husband came home from work. Our marriage was emotionally abusive and I was scared of him. Taking them made my depression go away. I remember thinking to myself, “These pills will help me not care so much what he says… it won’t scare me if he starts to slam cupboard doors. I’ll be able to just tune that out and go and do something with the kids and I won’t have that racing heart feeling and sick to my stomach feeling.”
After 2 years, I was fully recovered from my injury… but by then I was well into addiction and I knew I was addicted… I just didn’t know how to get out of it.
I was already planning out how many pills I could take per day to make sure that I could make it to the next refill, and then when I was taking too many to make that work, I started doctor-shopping and getting multiple prescriptions.
I finally was caught altering prescriptions and I was charged with 5th degree possession, I was just terrified. All I could think was that I was the only person that was struggling. I couldn’t think of anyone in my neighborhood, or even my family that this had happened to. I felt like such a black sheep and ashamed that I was even struggling in the first place.
Going to court, getting an attorney… all these things were a different world from one that I lived in. I went to treatment for the first time and I stayed clean for 18 months, but eventually I relapsed. Over the next several years I would go back and forth between treatments and AA meetings and would get clean for a little bit and return to use again. I just didn’t think that it was ever going to end. I really didn’t think there was any way out of this. I had tried so many times and I was so tired of picking myself back up and trying again and making the same mistakes over and over again and going through the withdrawals. I certainly wasn’t able to stop with my own intelligence or will or strength.
I was so tired of disappointing my kids. I’d make plans with them and then wouldn’t go because I was too sick from the withdrawals. I could honestly say that I hated myself then. The only reason I would show up to things would be for my kids. I’m sure I would have withdrawn completely if it hadn’t been for them.
At that time, I saw no value in myself. In 2013, I finally was able to get clean from prescription pills. Things were going well and I met and married my husband who I love dearly, but alcohol soon entered the picture.
I started with a couple of beers in the evening. Pretty soon I was having a glass of whiskey or Scotch at night, and eventually those glasses were becoming bottles. I rationalized that because it wasn’t a pill this time… it was okay. I think somewhere inside of me I knew that this wasn’t a good thing, but I kept doing it and it took me down very quickly.
Within 6 months, everyone knew I was struggling. I would fall down a lot, I was making poor decisions and trying to hide things from my husband. By this time, my struggle with addiction cemented the feeling that I just wasn’t good enough. Those thoughts would circle out of control until I would find myself thinking that it would just be better for everyone if I wasn’t here anymore… and those thoughts never end well.
My struggle with alcoholism finally took me to the place where I was sitting at 4 am in my living room with a revolver in my lap. I had shot it once outside, so I knew it was working and it had five bullets left in it and I could not decide what to do. I was going back and forth in my head “I have this great support system and family who loves me and I still can’t stop drinking… what is wrong with me?
It was at that moment my husband woke up, sat with me, and gently took the gun out of my hand. Soon after, I finally came to the Minnesota Adult & Teen Challenge long term program.
I still didn’t have a lot of hope, but I was glad to be starting the process. I was nervous to be here, and to be honest, I really struggled. I missed everyone at home, and still felt like I was so different. At one point, I nearly left and was planning to drink myself away in a snow bank; not caring if I lived or died.
I loved God, but I couldn’t understand why I kept going back to the anger that I had, had all those years of using and drinking and why this was still happening. Why was I so sick with something that I’ve never seen in anyone else? I saw things happening for the women around me… but I didn’t think they were going to happen to me.
Around the 6-month mark I remember laying in my bed and feeling bad and then thinking to myself “Okay… I love God and I want to get close to him.” I kept being reminded of 1 Thessalonians 5:18, where it talks about praising Him in all circumstances, so I decided I was going to try it. At first I had to grit my teeth and say “thank you” and then it was “I don’t like it, but thank you” and every time I prayed it got easier to do and my prayers got longer and gradually things started to change for me, to the point where I finally felt like I was going to make it.
It’s just amazing what happens when you when you lean into Him. I know what it means to have God change your heart, I have a whole new perspective; I still have all of the same things my husband and my kids and my family. They have not changed but I see everything differently.
Your donation will go towards:
$25 Brand new bedding for one client
$50 One day of room and board for one client
$75 A tank of gas to transport clients to and from classes and activities
$100 Ten Life Recovery Bibles
$250 Curriculum books for one client
$500 One day in the schools for our Know the Truth Prevention Program