IN HER OWN WORDS…
As I sit on my bed alone, broken to the point of thinking I may not live, I still am not sure I can ever get sober, to be honest, I’m not even sure I want to. I start thinking that I have to do this, I have to do something, as I know the reality of my situation right now—alone, a husband who has moved out, taking our three children with him, and he has a restraining order against me, so I can’t even see my kids, I am in and out of the hospital so much I am not sure how I’m still functioning—I can’t even comprehend how it got to this point.
Before I continue, let me tell you about how I got here. I was born in 1985, and when I was a baby my parents divorced. My mom was single with two little girls. When I was about five years old my mom fell in love and decided to move us to a new state to get married. My sister and I would spend summers and holidays going to visit my dad and it was during these summers and holidays that I started to experiment with drinking and smoking pot. My mom and stepdad were really strict, and my dad and his new wife were not. When I was in 7th grade, I realized that drinking and smoking was not only fun, but it made me feel amazing. I could turn my brain off and just be. I had ADHD and was a super hyper kid. I was put on Ritalin at age nine, so when I drank alcohol and did drugs, I almost felt “normal.”
I graduated high school and moved in with my high school sweetheart. By 21 we were married. We had our first daughter and life, for a couple of years, was really good. I had my second daughter when I was 25 and I went back to work full-time. I couldn’t keep up and felt overwhelmed so I thought if I went back on my ADHD medicine it would help. I got a prescription for Adderall and Klonopin. As I look back, I can say this is where it all went wrong.
In the next couple years my tolerance built. I started over-taking my medication using a 30-day supply of Klonopin in 2-3 days. When I tried to cut back, I had seizures so I would go doctor hopping—going from one doctor to another to get more pills. This was getting harder to hide. My family convinced me to go to rehab, so I did. The guilt and shame that I felt was so unbearable, that after 30 days I left. I thought that I was fixed. I was so confident and thought that I knew what was best but shortly thereafter I relapsed.
I was taking massive amounts of benzo’s (anti-anxiety drugs) on top of smoking meth and heroin. I was in a constant state of psychosis. This culminated one day when I got a frantic angry call from my husband wanting to know why I had not picked up our daughter from school. She had been waiting for me until the school was able to track him down. I assured him I had picked her up and in fact she was in the back seat of the car with me. She wasn’t. But I was certain I had picked her up. Shortly after this, my husband went to court, and got an emergency court order for me to stay away from him and our girls. They moved out.
During this time my mom and stepdad joined a group called PAL. My mom was destroyed and wanted to do everything and anything to help me. They were witnessing their daughter descend into madness and their grandchildren were heartbroken and victims. My parents’ marriage was suffering. I had brought chaos and turmoil into everybody’s life. At PAL they learned that their love for me needed to change, that instead of providing me resources that I was using to keep my addiction going, they should set boundaries, their love could be different. Sadly, they were learning what I was learning, that my consequences were piling up and something was needed to crack my denial. Now I was on the verge of losing everything, even my life. My parents encouraged me to get help.
With my husband and children gone I was in the house we were renting from my parents and now they decided to sell it. My stepdad and brother-in-law came to deliver the news. It was after they told me the news and left me alone where I started this story. I was sitting on my bed in a disgustingly dirty house with no food, emaciated, sick, alone, and losing everything that was so precious to me. I never meant for this to happen. That night I looked around and realized I was about to be homeless.
I realized my life as I knew it was over. I lost my girls and my husband, the most important things in my life. I knew I couldn’t go on like this any longer. The next day I told my husband I was ready. He drove me to a treatment center. I don’t remember the first two weeks of my time there and rehab doesn’t miraculously heal you of “addiction.” It is a choice that is made every day. The hard part comes after you leave. For me, it’s finding balance in remembering the pain I caused (so I don’t do it again) yet not allowing myself to be wrapped up in guilt and shame. I am responsible for my sobriety.
I can’t blame anyone for my past, but I can thank my family for saving my life. I realize now how blessed I am. For some in my family it took over a year to trust me and believe I had changed. I thank God that my husband decided to give me another chance and after a few months he dropped the restraining order, and we started rebuilding our relationship. I have been sober and in recovery for seven years thanks to them—the rehab, PAL, my faith and of course the most important people in my life, my family.
I am so thankful that I get to be a mom to my three girls, that I get to live a life I always dreamed of and to now work in the field that helped me. We in recovery are resilient, strong, and deeply caring individuals who have gone through things that most never have to and I am proud to say that I am in recovery.
This last Thanksgiving my entire family was at my parents’ home. I caught my mom crying, but they were tears of joy as she told me how she was thankful to have all of her family back in her life. Thank you, PAL, for what you did for my parents and how their changes led to my changes. I don’t know where I would be if they had not found you.
—Kayla*, A grateful mom and wife whose parents found PAL
Please consider making a year-end donation to support families like Kayla’s seeking hope.
*Name has been changed to protect identity.