Clean Date: October 24, 2018
From: New Boston, TX
My name is Melissa Gary and I’m 41. I’m from Lansing, Michigan, but I live in New Boston, Texas. I have three children, they’re really three young men now. I also have two grandchildren. They’re 3 and 5 years old and they’re my life.
Active addiction was terrible. It took me away from everything and everybody I loved. I didn’t have a life anymore. I would isolate myself from everybody. I wouldn’t go to school events with my kids; I didn’t like going to the stores; I didn’t like taking pictures unless it had a filter to hide the real me; I didn’t have money to spend on Christmas, or birthdays, because I was trying to feed my addiction. I was trying to feed it more than trying to do what I was supposed to do as a mom. I was miserable; a miserable person inside and out. I sat in my room most of the time otherwise I was fighting with my middle son; who only wanted his mom back. My kids would come home from school and they didn’t get to see their mom. My kids saw a monster. I was in my room, my door was always shut because I didn’t want them to see me. I stayed isolated.
I’ve relapsed four times. This time, my son had pulled away from me due to my addiction, which meant no more grandkids. Not seeing them on holidays due to my addiction was hard. My world was crashing down, my grandkids are my life, my everything. I had pretty much lost everything in my home because I either sold it or pawned it to feed my habit that was killing me day by day. Then there was a chance I was going to lose my home. I lost my cleaning company I had owned, and I had nothing. I was pretty much on my back. I was in my third abusive relationship this time for four years. The abuse was way worse when it ran dry, but to me, I was in love. No, I was in love with the drug, not the abuse. I did at one time ask him to get clean with me, and he didn’t want to do it. I knew something had to change and quick or life was going to even worse. I just knew my kids, my two younger boys that are at home with me, either didn’t like being around me because of the addiction or it was the abuse they were seeing. I have a 14-year-old here, he didn’t like really being around much. My 16-year-old, he kept running away, getting in trouble with the law. So, I knew that if I didn’t get my head on straight, it wasn’t going to be long before I was going to lose my kids on top of everything else. CPS was going to get involved in my life. I had a run-in with the law, but I never was court-ordered to do anything, I mean I kept low cover, but he [Game Warden] had told me a year prior to me deciding to get clean, he said “you’ll have nothing. You won’t have your kids, you won’t have your house, you won’t have your company, you’ll have nothing.” And he was exactly right. And that’s when I decided to make my change.
I came to recovery because I wanted my family back. I wanted to be ALIVE! I’m also in college now; I’m going first for my bachelor’s in criminal justice with a concentration in human services so I can do juvenile probation or something with troubled kids. Because I have a 16 year-old that’s troubled, and it’s all probably my fault or most of it. Then I’m going to go for my master’s in counseling for drug addiction. I want to help other people that are fighting that same battle that I’m fighting. I want to be able to help other people that are struggling, just as much as I’m struggling. Because they’re out there and a lot of people don’t want to come forward and don’t want help. I remember coming forward and I had never heard of so many people passing away from a drug overdose until I got clean. As soon as I got clean, I had three people so close to me die within months. I thought, “how can this happen and me not realize it?” I guess it was because I was feeding my habit and not worrying about it, not thinking it could happen to me. So now I want to help others.
My life in recovery is first about God, myself, and family; then about helping others. I’m a co-sponsor even though I only have one year clean. I go to Celebrate Recovery and I love it. If anybody needs a ride, the ladies know to “message Melissa, and she will come and get them!” I’ll take people home, and I don’t ask for gas [money] because I don’t care about gas. God will always help me one way or another. I can say, my first four times when I relapsed, I didn’t have God in my life. I was saved and baptized on March 3rd and when I took God into my life so many things changed. Even my oldest son said, “Mom, you’re really doing this. And I am so proud of you. Before you didn’t care, and this time you really care. You’re helping other people and you make sure they get there.” Because I want to help them, recovery is beautiful. I can’t make them work the program, but I can help get them there. To anyone struggling with addiction, my advice is to reach out. Reach out to someone because there is help. Many people don’t think there is, but there is so much help. There are so many programs, there are rehab centers, there’s sober house living, there are so many things out there that I didn’t know about. I did this alone, and I didn’t know about all the options. Doing this alone I believe It has made me stronger, because I had to account for myself. I did this because I wanted to do this, but if I had to redo it, I would go to sober house living. THERE WON’T be a next time because I won’t be relapsing. I would recommend for people to reach out, because we’re here to help.
In recovery, I learned that I could do this. I always thought that I was a failure, and I couldn’t do this because I had so many people tell me that my whole life. I’ve been in so many abusive relationships where everybody told me “you’re a failure, you can’t do anything.” I can do anything with God by my side. So that would be my biggest accomplishment, is me knowing that I can do this; that I stood my ground and I’m doing this. There’s not a probation officer kicking me in my butt, telling me, “you’ve got to get there, and you’ve got to get your paper signed.” Nobody’s pushing me to do this thing, I’m doing this on my own.