Yes, I am in recovery. One of the biggest misconceptions about my addiction was that I was a housewife with children and there is no way I needed treatment.
I would show up after a using binge and would seek help, and they would say go home and rest. I had a Gucci bag, and I had beautiful clothes. I was still wearing my lipstick because what I looked like represented not getting the help I needed. The perception of money, property, and prestige diverted me from my primary purpose of receiving help.
After many relapses, I began to have the idea that I could not do it alone. I was scared that if I went into treatment that my family would disown me. Every time I sought help I meant it. I had no idea of the work that it was going to take for me to get some clean time and find a new way to live.
After meeting many bottoms, jails, institutions and broken promises, I lost my family. Suicide was now an option. After many failed attempts, the pain was so unbearable that death started sounding good. I was brought to a 12 step meeting and heard the hope. My mind started saying “you don’t have anything to lose," “maybe the pain will stop,” maybe you can see the kids and be clean when you see them. Now, that was a thought that made me smile.
The journey to get clean and stay clean has had many pathways that were not all pleasant. The stigma, the discrimination, the humiliation, that once an addict always an addict was haunting me. The best thing that happened to me in my recovery was meeting other people just like me. They understood that the drugs once consumed made me a neglectful mother. They understood the disease of addiction concept. They knew that race, creed, religion, lack of religion were not prerequisites on who could be saved from being a drug addict. They also understood that any person could stop using and find a new way to live.
Somewhere in my recovery, another recovering person gave me a poem. She told me that life can be hard but it was worth living without the use of drugs. That if I can understand that god loved me even with all my mistakes that I had a shot to live life. Twenty years later I see the active addict. I say that used to be me. I understand the pain. I know it is my job to give them hope. Somebody did it for me.
My new friend in recovery reminds me how much god is watching and is playing a part of my life. Her father introduced me to recovery 25 years ago. Now the next generation is suffering. We don’t know who it is that will help save them. Well for this one it’s me. She is mentally ill with active addiction. I laugh with her, I identify with the wild life style. I tell her just don’t use and we can work on the rest. She has 150 days clean. I know this is why god spared my life, to help others who suffer from the disease of addiction. It does not make a difference what drug it is. It is all the same.
I speak out because I know there are too many people suffering from the disease of active addiction. They need help. I needed help. I am grateful that I plugged into the path of staying clean one day at a time. It works. It worked for me. It could work for you. This is the poem that was given to me in early recovery.
When things go wrong as they sometimes will,
When the road you're trudging seems all up hill,
When the funds are low and the debts are high
And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,
When care is pressing you down a bit,
Rest if you must, but don't you quit.
Life is strange with its twists and turns
As every one of us sometimes learns
And many a failure comes about
When he might have won had he stuck it out;
Don't give up though the pace seems slow—
You may succeed with another blow.
Success is failure turned inside out—
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt,
And you never can tell just how close you are,
It may be near when it seems so far;
So stick to the fight when you're hardest hit—
It's when things seem worst that you must not quit.
For all the sad words of tongue or pen
The saddest are these: “It might have been!”
~ John Greenleaf Whittier