The parents are sleeping, and the only people awake are the ones who will soon become my worst memory. We wait until there is not a sound in the house, and we all file into the back bedroom. Naïve of the journey I am about to embark on I light my first blunt and harshly swallow my first taste of liquor. Sooner than I had ever expected I am in a world where everything seemed perfect, all of my problems had vanished, and I was worried about nothing. My perfect world only lasted a short while. I woke up the next morning wearing clothes that were soaked with alcohol, and I reeked of so many unfamiliar smells. I wasn’t sure what had happened the night before, but I got up the next morning knowing that I wanted more. I was only 12 when I experienced my first taste of misery. I found out that my new passion for substances was not weak enough to allow this to be a one time thing.
I was only 12 when I started this but it was not a regular thing for me until I was about 15 or 16 years old. My addiction simply began with being a teenager, trying new things, and wanting to have what was known as “fun.” After years of the same high I quickly became bored of the same drugs, and began to move onto what I thought to be bigger and better. Despite the nights where it was impossible for me to sleep, and the next long, groggy day ahead I always kept my grades up. I was really good at masking my problems; I masked them with grades, participation in sports, clubs, and even church. Until my junior year in high school I was going on mission trips every summer. I would go do drugs, and party until a day or two before I had to actually go on the trip. The worst part of this was the double life that I was living. I felt so bad for living this way, but sooner than later it was something that I could no longer control. This is a poem that I wrote in my journal during this time of my life:
Lost Fight (2007)
I fake a smile
So no one can see
Who I really am,
And what I want to be
I act out a skit
Look at all the people-I ask, “Are they impressed?”
I wish people knew what I desire
I have potential like a burning fire
Can anyone see me?
Do they know who I am?
Can they see my true colors?
I’m afraid they can’t
I thrive to be noticed,
I want to be seen
I’m sick of being a backdrop
Like in a movie scene
Can you see now?
I’m standing in sight
If you cannot see me now I have lost the fight.
The real battle was on my inside, and it was a silent battle fought between me and the things that were controlling my life. I was trying to fight this battle on my own, and I was determined that I would be able to win. I have always been the kind of person who bottles up emotions on the inside, and does not like to talk about them. The main reason that I began to use was because of emotions. I was being faced with emotions that I had never experienced. I experienced a death, rejection at school, and betrayal by more than one person. After feeling all of these emotions I was a mess, and I needed a way to relieve my stress. I would use to avoid my problems and to get my mind off of life. While I was using I always thought about other things, and every day it seemed more and more appealing to me. This is journal entry I wrote in 2007 explaining my thoughts:
“When I get upset I cannot help but to think of a distraction to my problems. At that moment in time I am looking for anyone, anything to distract me. I came up with drawing on my wall as an outlet, but my markers are running out and I have no more money. Last night was horrible. I had a bad day. I got home and my friends ditched me, my mom was yelling at me, and I got grounded for something I didn’t do! So this resulted in me using. AGAIN!! When I am there, in the moment I cannot stop myself. My mind tells me, “it’s bad! Don’t go it!” But then my body tells me different. My body is telling me that I need it, and I HAVE to have it. I’m so confused, and I don’t know what to do. I hate the word addiction, but is this what it is??”
There were nights like these, where I was overwhelmed with emotions and issues in my life. But there were also happy nights, where everything seemed to be going right and my life seemed to be back to normal. During this phase of my life I had so many different nights where I felt so many different things. There were nights where I would not smoke, or do any drugs; but I would sit in my room and cry for hours as my mind was being overflowed with an enormous amount of unbearable emotions. I was trying to fight this disease of addiction on my own, and use my own knowledge to try and prove everyone else wrong. I always told people that I was only a recreational user and that I could stop anytime if I wanted to but the real me really showed through in the journal entries, and when I was behind closed doors:
“I hate this for myself. I feel like its’ almost an addiction. I cannot escape it, and it sucks. I want out of it so much, but when, just when will it happen?? I’m getting so pissed that I cannot stop it alone. I’m scared, I’m prideful and I don’t want help. I know I need it though…”
It was nights like these where I was hurting, lonely, and needing hope to escape my addiction. I was scared, and I did not know what to do. I look back on these journal entries through a clear mind, and I do not even recognize the person who wrote these entries only a little bit ago.
Throughout my life I have had many tragic things happen to me. I was being faced with issues and problems that a lot of my friends and family had no idea about. My older brother has constantly been in and out of jail since I was 15. I really look up to him, and I always try to be like him. My little sister tried to commit suicide at age 14. I have always been the person who has problems in their own life, but is also constantly worried about everyone else. I clearly remember my sister trying to commit suicide, and me watching this horrific thing as it happened right before my eyes. I remember running to my room, locking my door, and crying myself to sleep with this unforgettable image in my head. I always tried to run away from my problems because I never wanted to deal with them. I constantly thought that I was at blame for my little sister, and all of her actions. I thought I was to blame for a big part of my brother’s issues and problems too. I thought that I had to take on the burden of trying to care for everyone but myself. There came a point in my life where I was constantly wishing that I would die. There was a couple months in my life where I would wish death upon myself every night before falling asleep. I would shut my eyes in hopes that they would never open again. During the time that I felt this way I wrote this poem:
Just Thoughts (2007)
My room filled with smoke,
Mind full of hate,
Why was I chosen to walk this way?
I don’t understand
I can’t comprehend
What’s in my future that shines so bright?
My parents see wonders
And I don’t see anything bright
I wish the opposite so then I could see
Me proving them wrong€¦
Oh how great that would be
I quit dreaming
Now its back to reality.
Ending it now
With one simple shot
Ending this misery
Without pain in thought
One simple click is all it would take
I should end this now
I am a mistake
I remember sitting there and thinking about how bad I thought my life was, and how the only thing that I truly wanted was to die. I had no hope for my future, and I was mentally in a really bad place. At this point in my life I was addicted to drugs, my little sister whom I was supposed to care for was trying to kill herself, and my older brother was in jail. I felt so much responsibility for all of their actions that I soon began to hate myself.
My life had been on a constant down spiral since my first time ever trying substances when I was only 12. Each year my troubles and problems began to get worse and worse. In August of 2008 my best friend and I got arrested, and went to jail. As we were handcuffed, and getting put into the cop car we saw a sticker that read, “CSI: Christ Saves Individuals.” After I seeing that sticker I decided that I really wanted to change my life around. I decided from then on that I could no longer live the life I was living, hurt the way I was hurting, or mask the emotions like I was masking them. I began to realize that all my problems are real life. I thought that I was the only one facing these issues, but little did I know there were many other people out there facing the same issues. My parents and I decided that we would try to work through my issues and problems on our own before going to a rehab. I started going to go Narcotics Anonymous (NA), Alcoholic Anonymous (AA) classes, and counseling in 2008. These three things are the things that have kept me going for so long. The meetings, and constant support has been the a huge help for me. Through all of these meetings, the power of prayer from so many people, and being constantly reminded by my parents to do the right thing I was saved from my addiction.
I look back on the time that I got arrested, and I can see why God allowed this to happen. I was trying so hard to do everything on my own, and without the help of anyone. I was trying to fight addiction, live my life, and make choices all on my own. I was leaving God out of everything that I was doing. I thought that I was superior to everything that I would ever be faced with. It took me making a bad choice, getting caught, and going to jail to finally realize that the way I was living was wrong. I am very thankful that I have been able to learn from this situation rather than fighting it, and denying God again.
Not too much later after I wrote the poem “Just Thoughts” I met a younger couple that was friends of my parents. For some reason we really connected and they mentored to me a lot. They were there for me at any time of any day. They spent hours and hours of their time driving me to church, taking me out to lunch, and even having me over on the weekends. The best thing about them is that they are real. They would talk with me about real life situations without hesitating. They speak what they think, and tell me me what they know to be true. They would share their hearts with me, and show me that they really cared. I never thought that I was worth much to the world until they explained to me why I was. They told me that God has designed a perfect plan for my life. They taught me that God has reason behind why everything is happening like it has happened in my life. They shared their past experiences with me, and I began to trust them with mine. They soon became almost like accountability partners for me, when I would mess up, I would be honest and let them know. They held me accountable to do the right thing all the time. These two people helped me in so many ways, and really showed me that my life was worth living. They gave me hope when I was about to give up on myself, and my own life. This couple has influenced my life more than they will ever know, and they are one of the main reasons that I am able to share a story about recovering addiction today, They promised me that things would get better: and they did.
Through all of these hard times in my life I have found God, and He has shown me again and again how merciful He is. I have learned that God is a God of forgiveness, mercy, grace, and love. He has pulled me from the worst situations and shown me light in all of them. He has worked out situations in my life to come out perfectly in the end. As it says in Jeremiah 29:11, He knows exactly what He is doing in my life, and nothing that happens is accidental. I have been able to look back on all of the hard and tough situations in my life and see how God allowed everything to happen with a reason behind it. I am so grateful that God has allowed me to find Him through all of the pain. If you are experiencing pain in your life know, I hope that you can see that God has a reason behind the pain. He has taught me over and over again that it is not possible for someone to get through life without Him. I was trying to live my life on my own, and it was in a constant down spiral. Now I am living my life for Him, and I have seen more good come from it then anything else. I will never be able to express my gratitude to all of the people that have helped me through the hardest years of my life, and the people who have repeatedly called me and left voice mails after voice mails until I called you back, or to the people who texted me every single day to check on me. I am so blessed to have been able to cross tracks with all the wonderful people God has placed in my life. I pray that everyone knows God will never allow something to happen to you unless He has already planned a way out. I have learned to never underestimate God, and never to doubt His powers. I am living proof that God can work miracles, and restore a broken person.
I have found that hope is everywhere you allow it to be. I have learned that in every situation there is hope; no matter how hard or how rough your life may be. Hope is such a promising thing, and it has saved me from the hard situations I have been faced with. The issues I have talked about are real, and they are really happening with so many people in this world right now. These are issues that need to be talked about, and not avoided. After reading my story I hope and pray that you are given hope. It is possible to be rescued: even from the worst imaginable situations. Never lose sight of the light at the end of the tunnel– no matter how dark your tunnel may be there is a light somewhere through it. Sometimes you have to step out of your box and look for the light, but it is promised to us that it is there. A saying that has been in my family for a really long time is, “this too shall pass.” No matter what you’re going through it will not be like that forever. There is hope, and things will get better. When I am faced with a tough situation I cling to the phrase, “this too shall pass.” I hope and pray that you can do the same.