All I ever wanted as a child and in active addiction of my teens was to be loved, which is exactly what I have gained the most of since I’ve been in recovery.

When I was younger, I didn’t feel like I ever fit in.  Ever since a young age, I only had a few friends and they constantly changed because I was moving every other year.  For certain periods of time, I had no friends at all.  I was also the oldest sibling.  With that said, I had to grow up fast and didn’t have much time to be a “normal kid.”

Throughout my younger years, I developed habits, mannerisms, and techniques of which I thought were a result of surviving a tough life.  Being the product of divorced parents, and having an addict for a mother, I thought things could always be worse and in most cases they were.  By the time I was 12 years old, it had become apparent that the addiction I had grown up around, had affected me greatly.

I picked up my first drug at that age wondering why it took me this long to feel good about myself.  I had learned my mothers’ techniques and developed what I thought were my coping tools.  I was an addict long before I ever knew what it meant.  During my first experience with using anything, I finally felt like I was on the outside of the life I thought I didn’t deserve.  The sudden euphoria of not having a care in the world felt amazing.  I was care free and felt as if I was finally the free spirit that I always wanted to be.

I’ve since learned that the drugs I used were only a symptom of the disease of addiction.  Did the drugs help me fall flat on my face?  Absolutely.  To contribute to my downfall, there were bigger and bigger consequences to my bad decisions, and not to mention the physically crippling sickness toward the end.  I had nothing left in me to keep fighting the disease and I ended up in Putnam Hospital Center.

After being arrested and spending some time in jail, I returned home to my mother’s house.  Not even three hours after being released, I had a mental breakdown.  That is how I ended up in the hospital.  I was admitted after opening up to the professionals about how much I really didn’t want to live anymore.  It was time for my suicidal addict self to spend some time away from my life.  I missed Christmas with my family, disappointed my loved ones, and for the first time in my life I was without my “friends” who I thought loved me.

What was there left to do?  I was told by supervisors and professionals to make a 12 step meeting somewhere in the area and gain a new group of people to cling to.  My old way of life wasn’t working for me or society in general anymore.  So, I did exactly what I was told and to be completely honest, it was the best decision I’ve ever made in my entire life.

Recovery for me has been the best ride thus far.

My recovery date is December 18, 2012.  As a result of the 17 months without a drink or drug, I now have a connection to a loving woman who guides me in the right direction and wants the best for me.  The group of friends I keep close love me for who I am without the drugs, and ironically while using, that’s all I ever wanted.

Recovery for me has been the best ride thus far.  All I ever wanted as a child and in active addiction of my teens was to be loved, which is exactly what I have gained the most of since I’ve been in recovery.  All I ever wanted was to be accepted and to be part of something bigger than myself.  Today, I am part of something that can make a difference.  Something that can save lives.  Something that can bring our youth to such successful places in life.

I try to keep a positive outlook for the life I was granted.  Today, I live a life second to none, and for that I am one blessed little girl.  I have people in my life who treat me with respect rather than degrade me.  I love the life I live today, not only for the people in it, but for the life I have gained back with a fighting chance.

My name is Julie, and I am in recovery.