I went to my first detox over ten years ago, and I was sure it would be my last. I was confident that because I wanted to stop, I could. I thought things were as bad as they would ever get for me. I had no idea how powerless I was over my addiction. Since then I was able to get some periods of sobriety from time to time. Things would start to look better from the outside. People would think I was okay, but on the inside I was dying. Drugs and alcohol were the only things I had that made me feel safe. They were the reason I got up every day and they were the reason I could sleep at night. They were me, and without them I was empty. As unmanageable as my life had become in active addiction, it felt even worse when I was physically sober. After a failed suicide attempt I decided I would stay away from my drug of choice which was heroin, but I would still be able to drink in safety. With the help of prescription medication and alcohol I could survive. I wasn't happy and I went to bed every night hoping I wouldn't wake up without actually taking action to end my own life. I had no purpose but due to the choices I had made I felt I didn't deserve one. I went on like that for almost six years, in and out of treatment making a mess of my life and anyone else's in it. It was a miserable existence.
In 2015 something changed, I found out I was pregnant. I was sure that would fix me. It was going to be the key to my happiness; it would give me a purpose. I would love this baby unconditionally and be the best mother I could be. I had my son that December. It was supposed to be the happiest time of my life and it wasn't. I loved my son, but still felt empty inside. Two weeks after he was born I relapsed on heroin. I couldn't understand why. I knew it would ruin my life as well as his, and I instantly regretted it. When I was faced with the fact that the love I felt for him wasn't enough to keep me sober I was terrified. I felt worse than ever. I went to yet another detox and treatment center to try and get well. I was now more confident than ever I could get it this time, with so much more at stake.
I wish I could say that the fear of losing my son and the knowledge I had gained over the years was enough to keep me sober, but it wasn't. I was high again on his first birthday. I was once again hopeless. I had some friends in recovery and I watched them get better. They had changed. They became much better versions of the people they used to be. They looked happy and I wanted that. I was told they did it through the 12 Steps. I believed the steps worked for others, but never thought it was possible for them to work for me. I figured I would try and give it one last shot before I totally gave up. After all, I chose to bring a child into the world and I at least owed him that. I had heard of a 12 Step-based program in Plymouth, NH. The problem was it was expensive, I had no money left, and no one in my life was willing to invest any money in yet another attempt to get sober. I reached out to Amy at DMMF. I asked for help. Through the foundation I was able to get to Plymouth. There I was introduced to the steps. I was still hopeless but figured I would give this program an honest try. The work I did there wasn't easy. I had to really look at the person I had become, and I hated what I saw. I was uncomfortable, insecure and afraid. But for the first time in my life I sat in those feelings and trusted that if I did what they said I could maybe get better too. I kept going, still unsure that the 12 Steps would actually work for me. At some point things started to change. I started to feel okay. I could actually look in the mirror and like what I'd see. I was thinking of others before I thought of myself. I felt happy; something I never thought was possible. I was starting to become the person I had always wanted to be.
Today I continue to remain active in the steps. I moved into sober living, where I get to be closer to my son and my family. My family actually enjoys spending time with me today. I am able to be a daughter to my mother and a mother to my son. I no longer feel that emptiness inside, nor do I have to rely on a bottle, medication, or material things to feel okay. For so long I was searching for something that would make me feel whole and I have tried so many things, but so far the steps are the only thing that worked for me. I am able to bring positivity into the world today without just taking what I want for me. None of which would have happened without the help I received when the people at DMMF decided to take a chance on me. I will be forever grateful.
"I am able to bring positivity into the world
today without just taking what I want for me"
"In a such a short time, my
life looks totally different."
It was not my plan to seek further treatment. The way it looked for me was that I would be stuck going through the same routine, the same State Funded programs that I had used so many times. I used these places to save my relationships, change the view my family had on me, or to stay out of jail. I would go to these facilities and would have to transform into my environment. Something I hated but felt necessary to be liked by everyone else there. This all seemed pointless to me, but I had court coming up again, my girlfriend was happier without me and I had no job. So what the heck did I have to lose.
At this point, something seemingly impossible happened. Two women took it upon themselves to start a GOFUNDME account in order to send me to Plymouth, New Hampshire, to a 12 step recovery program. Through them, Kim Messing of the Dennis Messing Fund was brought into my life. She put up more than half the money to send me to the program. Without the help of the Dennis Messing Fund, who knows if I’d be alive and writing this today. I was just a hopeless, sad existence of life.
In such a short time, my life looks totally different. Not only have I completed that program, but I have moved on to a Sober Living Home in Portland, Maine. Somewhere along the way, I became willing to do whatever it takes to become the man I have always wanted to be. I believed in the people that unselfishly gave their time and money to give me a shot at life again. I decided, finally, to walk through my fears and to go through some uncomfortable things, to take an honest look at the way I thought and acted, the way I treated people, to take a look at the things I had done to make myself feel better. I have started making my amends to the people I have harmed and have become willing to face the consequences that come from my past actions. I’ve learned that it's okay to be scared as long as I am willing to walk through those fears and not run from them.
"Today I wake up excited to live, when
before I would have welcomed death."
Over the past eight years I have struggled to maintain sobriety. I could get sober, but I could never stay sober. I’ve been to many detoxes and state funded programs throughout Massachusetts all which gave me lengths of clean time varying from 10 days to 3 months. Not one facility gave me what I truly needed, the truth about myself and the disease of addiction and the tools to maintain a healthy purposeful life.
This time around things were no different than they had been in the past when I decided to go away to detox. I had been fired from my job and had nothing left spiritually mentally or physically. I’m 5’8, and weighed a mere 115lbs. My friends and family were scared for my life, but I was unaware of how terrible I truly looked. I woke up every day wanting to die. Life seemed impossible. I felt like I would never overcome this disease. I was ready to give up. Having had some sobriety in AA before, I knew where to go. There was a small faint voice in the back of my head urging me to go back to AA. For once, I listened to that small voice. I headed to my old home group where I met some people who truly cared about me and my wellbeing. Something forced me to ask for help that night and I got it. The next day, two of my friends from AA were at my apartment helping me get into detox. They told me the Dennis Messing Memorial Foundation would be willing to help me go to a 12-step program in Plymouth, New Hampshire. I had heard of this program before and how well people did who were able to get treatment there. I was also aware of the financial cost. Because of this factor, I never thought it was possible for me as my family would not have been able to pay for that kind of treatment. I was blown away. I didn’t know it right away, but my life was about to change forever.
After completing four weeks at the Plymouth House, so much has changed. Not only did I stay longer than I intended, but I made the decision to go on to sober living. With the help and unconditional support of the staff there I was able to look at myself and my actions honestly. It wasn’t the easiest thing to do, but as I learned there, nothing worth having is easy. It was an intense four weeks to say the least. My friends and family began to notice the change in the first week. Their process of taking people through the steps is exactly what I needed. I needed a solution, and I needed it fast. Drugs and alcohol had been my solution for so long that without something in place of that, it would have been a lot sooner than later that I would have been right back where I always ended up in the past without it. Another program if I was lucky. With the amount of friends I have lost to addiction over the past 2 years I am sure that death was a huge possibility for me.
Today I wake up excited to live, when before I would have welcomed death. I don’t lie to my family, my friends, or my boyfriend. I work an honest job and have learned to sustain myself in the world. The way I look at and handle situations is so new, it is almost baffling to me. I have changed so much and it is evident in my life. My mother is able to sleep at night, as she is no longer worried about getting a phone call that her daughter has overdosed. My boyfriend is happy to have me around and the time we spend together is meaningful. I make every single day count because I know how precious each day is. So many of my friends are no longer here to have the chance that I now have. Being given the opportunity I was given is something I will be forever grateful for. I only wish every addict or alcoholic could experience what I have. We no longer have to suffer from this disease. It can be overcome with the help and support of people who have been there, and through the 12-steps.