It was a freezing cold January morning when the Danvers police department surrounded Motel 6 looking for my ex-husband. I took my daughter Alannah, who was around 16 months at the time, out a back door and hid behind a bush in about a foot and ½ of snow. I put her on my lap, facing me and wrapped her in my jacket because I was too selfish to fathom bringing hers. After about 30 minutes, Alannah looked directly into my eyes and whispered, “Mommy I’m cold.” Although those words are still tough for me to hear something happened to me in that moment even if it was only for a second. My first thought was what a terrible mother I had become but the second was, “this little bitch ruined my sneakers.” What was wrong with me?
I wasn’t raised like this. I no longer knew myself. I felt like a lost, scared, little girl. Every line I had drawn in the sand I had crossed and then some. Doing things I swore I would never do, I had turned into a shell of a person. I was homeless, hopeless, and heartless. Full of anger, bitterness, and grief. I had no self-respect, dignity, or self-worth. I was morally bankrupt, suffering from a spiritual loss of values and for the first time in my life I wanted more for myself.
Looking back, I was brought up in a tight knit neighborhood in Boston. Growing up, I wanted for nothing but needed everything. Something was always missing. My parents were well respected and revered members of the community. They worked extremely hard to give my sister and myself whatever they could. Nothing ever satisfied me.
Everything started so innocent, but once alcohol came into my left I felt safe. It all went by so quick. Somewhere in college I transgressed. School was no longer important. My family, I could do without. And drugs and alcohol began to call all the shots. My life came to a screaming halt. No matter how far I walked, I got nowhere. I gave up on every dream, every goal, and every aspiration. I was broken without a care in the world. The only thing I cared about was more.
Heroin became my life and was in complete control of every decision I made. It took me nowhere- fast; detoxes, holdings, recovery homes, and jail. I called these places home. This lifestyle became acceptable to me. Unnecessary risk after unnecessary risk, consequence after consequence, I would do anything to feel numb. My children became innocent victims, hostages, trapped in a dark cold world. This nightmare seemed as though it would never end. When would enough be enough? I had become so guarded and withdrawn that my own children were at the bottom of my priority list. How could I be so selfish? I believe God works through people and on that cold day in January, I believe he worked through my daughter. I felt a sense of relief and finally had the willingness to ask for help.
In 4 years, my life has come full circle. Today I am gainfully employed as a Recovery Coach Supervisor. I am extremely passionate about my work and being able to help other addicts and alcoholics navigate their early recovery. Also, I get a chance to work with their families and give them a sense of hope that miracles happen every day. My parents whom I embarrassed, took advantage of, and walked all over can now sleep well at night. My dad no longer has to feel humiliated when I walk into his courthouse. He allows me in his office and actually talks to me when I go to work at Drug Court. It took 35 years to have an amazing relationship with my mother. She is my best friend. My children are happy, healthy, and very much loved. I am reliable, responsible, available, and most importantly honest with myself and others. 12 step fellowships gave me a great life. It’s not second to none but I’m happy with the way it turned out.
My life gets progressively better on a day to day basis. Meetings, networking, and staying connected allow me to take the necessary steps to fulfilling my dreams. I have embraced a recovery lifestyle and gave myself a chance to make a choice.
Today I am what I chose to become. Today I am grateful and very blessed.