The following story of recovery was sent to us by Angela M from New Jersey. She asked if could share it with hope that it will help someone understand that they are not alone, that there is support and that recovery is possible. She asked to share her story, but to keep her identity anonymous.
“It took me 11 years to take the first step toward a better life for myself and my family. 11 years of lying. 11 years of manipulation. 11 years of sleepless nights, of stealing, of abuse. It took me 11 years to decide I deserved a better life. There were days where I dreamed of being clean, just the thought of waking up and doing whatever I wanted to do was something of fantasy. Not being a slave to my substance of choice seemed impossible.
My road to recovery was anything but an easy one. Any bridge I had was burned down, the ashes swept far away by the wind. I was a drain on society and a ghost to the world. The only thing that kept me from killing myself was fear. I wanted to die. I wondered how long it would take someone to find my body and once they did, would anyone care? I hoped every shot would end it all, but I never loaded more than I new I could handle. I thought if I lost my life from an accidental overdose it would be different than if I did it on purpose. That doesn’t really make sense now, but it did at the time.
By all means I should be dead, I know I’m here for a reason. I don’t think that I will change the world, but maybe I can make a positive impact on some people out there.
My childhood was nothing out of the ordinary. I’m from a family of 5; Dad, Mom, two brothers (both younger) My Dad worked as a mid level employee at a generic office. My Mom worked part time as substitute teacher, her other job was taking care of us. Our house was simple, 4 bedroom 2 bathroom ranch style house in Howell, NJ. There was plenty of love and support to go around, my parents always encouraged my brothers and I to be ourselves and to live life on our terms.
We did what a lot of young families do. We ate together more than we ate separated, we went on vacations, laughed and argued, played board games and watched TV.Nothing out of the ordinary, we were happy and we were close. I had a good childhood.
I was good student, averaged B’s in most classes through middle school and high school. I rarely got in trouble and had a few close friends. Like most teenagers I experimented with marijuana and alcohol. I drank at parties and smoked a few times a week. It never got out of control and my life was very normal and manageable.
College was great, it got a little crazy at times, but no crazier than the average college. I met some amazing people, learned a lot and saw my life become how I always pictured it.
Then the accident happened.
I was driving my brother home from his friend’s house. A drunk driver ran a red light and hit the passenger side of my ca. My brother was killed instantly.
My whole world collapsed. Nothing would ever be the same.
I was brought to the hospital and had some X-Rays and other procedures done. I was nearly unharmed minus a broken wrist and some cuts and bruises. The doctor prescribed me some painkillers, gave me his condolences and left me with my family.
I went into a very dark place after my brother’s death. The painkillers helped helped with depression, I started abusing them soon after returning home. If I had known what these little pills would do to me I would’ve never taken them, but they were a quick fix and that is what I needed at the time. I eventually fell in love with them, they were the first thing on my mind in the morning and the last thing on my mind at night. It was all I cared about.
Time went on and my addiction progressed. When my prescription would run out I started finding pills other ways. When that became too expensive I turned to heroin.
I experimented with other drugs, but nothing did it for me like heroin.
It didn’t take long for my family to notice a drastic change from the person I was and the person I became. They coordinated an intervention and sent me to my first detox and rehab center despite my best efforts. I finished treatment with flying colors and moved back in with my parents. I made it almost a week before I relapsed.
The years that followed was that cycle on repeat. Use, abuse, addiction, intervention, rehab and relapse. My family tried and did everything they could to help me get clean. They would let me move in with them after every treatment and detox, hoping something would change. As time went on they lost hope. They told me I was no longer welcome in their home for any reason and to not contact them unless I wanted to get clean.
My life got a lot worse from that point on, but I don’t want to get too deep in the details of my use, we all know what happens out there. This is a story of hope.
One day I woke up and something was different. I didn’t think about dope that morning, I thought about getting clean. I knew there was a free rehab down the road, I walked myself there and asked if they had a bed for me. They told me their was a waiting list and to try back tomorrow. I came back the next day, and the next, and the next, and the next until by some miracle they had someone leave early and a bed opened up for me.
I completed that program. When I left I did what my counselor there told me to do, I went to a NA meeting and I got a sponsor. I got myself into a halfway house and found a job. It wasn’t a great job, but it kept me busy. For the next year I listened to suggestions, did step work and volunteered in my community when I could.
It took me a long time to get where I am today. I have my family back. I met a man and fell in love, I have a son, I own a house and a car. I never imagined this was possible.
Thank you to the people of AA and NA for helping me get here and thank you for reading this.
Your life can be better when you’re ready to better it.”