Clean Date: January 2, 2020
From: Joplin, MO
“I grew up on both sides of the track. I had a very, very wealthy father, always on the golf course. And I had a very, very poor mother. No car, on food stamps and welfare, living in an apartment complex where all the women were single moms. I absolutely hated going to my dad's, because he was such a strict, real firm guy. When he would pull up to pick us up for the weekend, I would get out there and he would say ‘Hurry and get in the car. I can't believe you look like that.’ It was verbally abusive. I grew up like that; just very self-conscious.
I was married very young; at 15 years old. It was very strange. He was five years older. I think I was searching for a father figure honestly. I had gotten pregnant, and my parents signed for me to get married, and I thought that was just insane. The worst part about the marriage was that we lived in Oklahoma City, which was five hours away from Joplin. So I was 15, married with a child, no family, no friends. At 17, I was over it. I wanted to come home. He moved me back home and the next morning I woke up to them leaving. He took my son, Brant, and moved away with him. My mom was like ‘It's for the best. You're just a young child.’ That was tough.
I was separated from my son for several years. Brant’s whole life he's been pretty much raised by his dad. They did eventually move back to Joplin. My ex-husband, Chris, was in and out of my life, you know. When I was 19 I had another child Whitley, who is actually Gino now. He’s transgender. But when I had Gino, he was six almost seven and we went through a terrible custody fight. After twelve times of fighting in court, he won. He was a huge drug dealer, but I had nobody to help me. No one on my side. So, I started drinking. A lot.
After he won in court, I couldn't even get out of bed. It was a hit and miss if Chris would let me see Brant. And I didn’t see Gino for five years. They lived in a town close to us, but every time I’d see them, they’d call the police or I’d call the police. That's when I did my first drug. I'd been in bed for about three months, I just couldn't function. I would just drink and go right back to bed. A friend of mine came over and laid out a line of meth on my fireplace mantle. I’d smoked weed when I was young, but I had never done any [hard] drugs before. I remember looking in the mirror, doing that line, and all the pain and sadness went away. I was able to go in Gino’s room, and the yard, and get things done.
But it didn't take long, and I lost everything. I was in a very dark place really quick. The only thing I remember is the moving trucks on a dark cloudy day, and yeah, I lost everything.
I did get clean. I just couldn't take it anymore. I was living on my mom's couch with nothing. So I got a job at Ozark Center for mental health back in Joplin. I worked really hard and I was there for 11 years. I really enjoyed it because I got to [work] even though I only have a seventh grade education. I supervised an apartment complex for people with drug-induced schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. It was really nice because I knew what they were going through. I was sober, per say. I did still drink like a fish after work, but the meth was completely over. However, I had found a pill that… well it was meth in a pill. I got on Vyvanse. Immediately, I was like ‘Wow, this is wonderful.’ However, it controlled my life.
I would take an extra [pill] one day, or half of one, then I would run out. Then I would miss work. And it was like fifteen years it controlled me. Then, my doctor retired and I couldn't get the script and boom. Because I would sleep for weeks, it was that bad, the only thing that would help me wake up was meth. I designed a bedroom set for somebody and they asked if they could pay me in meth and of course, I was back on it.
I eventually got Gino back. His dad was shot a couple of times and robbed. He was a big drug dealer. But when he was robbed, I got a phone call from his driver that said, ‘You don't know who I am but your daughter’s [Gino] hiding in the basement. Her dad was shot and he's in the hospital.’
My dad, that I don’t talk to, was the only choice I had to ask for help. So he flew down from Denver to help. Long story short, we fought and I won custody back. I got Gino back on December 20th and then we flew out to my dad’s to have Christmas with both of my kids. I started to get all these screenshot pictures from my ex-husband’s girlfriend showing me all the checks my dad had written to have my ex take Gino from me. I just said ‘Why dad? Why?’ It didn't take long after that and I was drinking heavily again.
I'll tell you right now, this last bottom was not my rock bottom. I always thought that was maybe a little weird. It wasn't a wonderful bottom. I was working out of my apartment designing furniture. When I came to, my apartment was beyond full. I panicked; I couldn't get any drugs.I couldn't get my Vyvanse filled. My anxiety throughout my entire life has been awful. I've been on Klonopin since I was eight years old, and I couldn't get a doctor out here to write me that script. I got into some legal trouble. I bought Xanax and got pulled over and I was in a lot of trouble.
I couldn't fight anymore. I couldn't fight it. I fought and fought and fought. I never thought I could stay awake without a pill or meth. I would wake up daily and sit on my hands for a long time because it just took over my body immediately. But I couldn't fight and buy pills off people anymore.
I had already sent my son, Brant, to treatment. And Brant had tried to get me to go to treatment for many years. He would call me and talk about these meetings and all the stuff and I said ‘That's for you, that's not for me.’ I was at a loss. I mean, I was at a complete loss. I'll be honest, when I reached out for help from Brant, I had no idea what treatments were. I knew I sent him to one, but I didn't know personally about anything like that. Brant waited to give me this gift for a long time. He waited to get that phone call from me. It was just unbelievable. I mean, I reached out to him and next thing I know Molly from Recovery Unplugged was at my door not even three hours later.
I'll never forget the day that Molly was coming to get me. My cousin, Julie, came over and she prayed with me, even though she knew that she was gonna be left holding this bag of the amounts of furniture that were in this apartment. They were complete, but it was like a store; just packed full of furniture. Julie knew as she lifted me up off that couch to try to get me dressed, she was gonna be holding all that. Just to get me out of the apartment was gonna be $2,600.00. She still prayed with me, and she said ‘I'm so proud of you, you know. You're gonna do this for yourself.’ It was mentally a rock bottom.
I never in a million years guessed it would happen that I would get help. I mean, I was so down, I'd been asleep for so long. I couldn't wake up. Mentally and emotionally it was the end. Absolute, 100% it was the end. It wasn't my rock bottom as far as like living on the streets, it was my rock bottom mentally as suicide would have definitely been the option. I couldn't take any more people down with me. I'm so used to everybody cleaning up my messes. This time, I actually do feel like my mess was cleaned up behind me, as always. However this time, I had to put some effort into it myself, so that was huge for me. I went in there and I knew this was my last chance. I knew that if I didn't go in as an open book, they couldn't help me with what I needed. I couldn't hold back anymore, I couldn't live my life anymore the way I was. I had one shot at this.
I lost everything. Julie packed all of my clothing, all my personal things and kept it for me. But it was tough to hear that she had sold probably $10,000.00 worth of things for $500.00. I was irritated at that second, but I realized I had to reevaluate some things.
I still wake up and can't believe that I don't have anxiety. Dr. Dan at Recovery Unplugged nailed it. I was finally diagnosed with the correct diagnosis of having borderline personality disorder. I was scared to come here. I've never lived with a bunch of ladies before. I was thinking it's gonna be like a group home, but it is the best thing that's ever happened to me. With borderline personality disorder, I don't like my alone time like other people like. Here I get to live with all these wonderful women with all different personalities. It's like we're sisters.
Life in recovery is unbelievable. I’m happy. I got a job immediately. I can see things brighter. I can see things. I don't just have tunnel vision and I'm not depressed anymore. Do I like being an adult? No. I'd be crazy if I said I did. But I have a relationship with my children that is real now. I'm not hiding anything from them. I wasn't hiding anything from them before, I just thought I was. I absolutely thought I was. My mom. She drives me nuts, but I love her. She is my best friend. We talk a million times a day. I'm not on that step yet in recovery of you know, making amends or apologizing, but I have put her through the wringer. And she'll still to this day say ‘You were just not well.’ My mom is just wonderful.
I struggle a little bit these days. Not with wanting to use, I have zero desire to use. I struggle with not jumping right back into things. I designed furniture, you know, and I want to get right back into that. I get that weird pit in my stomach because I was using the most, whether it was Vyvanse or meth, when I did something where I was in a zone. I used those uppers, you know, and then I would use alcohol to kind of come down. It was crazy. But my life today is incredible. It’s almost surreal. I ride the bus now. I ride the bus, I go downtown, I work downtown, I go to the library. I even walk through Walmart and I'm not thinking about stealing something.
We [Recovery Unplugged Alumni group] went bowling. That was the first time I've ever done anything sober ever in my life. I've always had to have a few beers before. I didn't know I could be that good sober!
I owe a lot of my recovery to the other ones that were in treatment with me. We lifted each other up if we were down. There were days when I didn't want to get out of bed and I would say I was going to the bathroom, and I was really going back upstairs to sleep. My peers wouldn't let it slide. They wouldn't because they knew I was going to fall into that depression. That's just not an option here. They said ‘Let's go raid the kitchen, steal everything, and go watch TV.’ it was great
I would say my biggest takeaway [from treatment] is...I've always thought I was alone in my addiction and I'm not. There are people that care. No matter how down you are, reach out because there are people that get it and we're not alone. I mean, they truly do care. You’ve got to ask for help. Don't be ashamed in your addiction; don't hide and isolate. Try and reach out, no matter how messed up you are. I know you're hurting and you feel unsure. You don't trust people, but call someone in recovery. Ask somebody that's experienced it.
If your loved one is still struggling, definitely get into Alanon because they [addicts] can’t explain it to you. You need to know because the whole codependency and enabling parts are tough. If we are enabled too much, it could kill us. For your own sake, you definitely need to find out why this is the way we are instead of just thinking we're junkies or that you've done something wrong.”