Clean Date: February 7, 2019
From: Sunrise, FL
"My name is Pam Crea. I’m 53 years old and I am from Sunrise, Florida. I’m a mom of 3 children; one daughter and twin sons all in their 20s.
I’m not really sure how to answer a question asking what started my journey to addiction. I think that I’ve been addicted to anything I’ve liked for my whole life. Whether it would be food, or shopping, or anything that I liked. And getting high was something I liked. I not only physically became addicted to the substance, but I think I became addicted to the feeling of altering reality a little bit.
When I started out using harder drugs than marijuana, it started out to be fun and a good time. And then slowly but surely, I stopped using the drugs and the drugs definitely started using me. I found recovery through an intervention. It was almost a forced type of situation, which I suppose I could have chosen to either go along with or refuse. Because my children were part of that intervention, I chose to give this way of life a try. I felt that my children were worth it. At that point I didn't know that I wanted it for myself, I felt that I had to give it a shot because I love them more than anything. At times it seemed like I was loving the drugs more than being a mom and being there for them. It happens and you don't even realize it's happening.
Things have changed quite a bit since I've been in recovery. Life is good again! I remember in active addiction waking up and literally thinking about the friends I had that weren't using and thinking, "how is it that they're happy?" I had genuinely forgotten how to be happy. I just did not know anymore. I was either high or withdrawing, and the high wasn't even a fun high anymore. It was just a numb, dull feeling and even high I would feel a sadness inside me. I thought something had changed inside me and I was never going to know what 'happy' felt like again.
Now for the most part, life seems to be kind of back to the way it was before active addiction really got its hands around my throat. Just, life's okay again! I don't wake up with a black cloud of doom over my head. That doesn't mean that everyday is rainbows and bubblegum, there's still plenty of things that upset me or make me sad, but my overall feeling deep within myself is not one of doom and gloom and dread. Which, it really had turned into that. Now I'm learning to live life on life's terms and realizing it's okay. There's going to be crappy days, there's going to be great days, and that's what this whole game of life is all about! Ups and downs, and I don't have to medicate myself to numb out the feelings. I can just live with how things are and know that, in the end, everything is going to be okay.
What can I tell an addict that's struggling? I know for me, day in and day out I would promise myself it was the last day that I was going to use. But no matter what, I found myself stuck on the hamster wheel of using everyday. I think that going and finding a treatment place to get your feet wet in recovery and have that pause to be able to detox, is needed to get the physical part over with first.
And then being able to have time to start listening to some advice and hearing what recovery is about, you start to realize that there is another way to live. I think as active addicts we really don't know that. Because we do get caught up in a cycle of repetition. I would imagine for someone who's not an addict it would be difficult to understand. But for an addict, we get caught up in this cycle that we just can't seem to break. By giving yourself the opportunity to go into a place and get some good, solid recovery time, you've got a fighting chance at a good life.
Anyone that has a family member that's in active addiction, my heart breaks for you. I can't imagine what it is to actually see someone that you love slowly killing themself. I can't imagine a much worse pain. They say that "you can't get recovery for someone else," and I truly believe that you can't. But I do think that maybe putting someone in treatment, even if it's not what they want to do, could be the initial thing to plant the seed. Even if the first time around it doesn't work, once an addict has heard the message of recovery, some of it is left in you. An addict never, I don't think, uses again without thinking "there is another way out there." Hopefully putting a person that you love in treatment will bear the results that you want at some point. And maybe it won't, but if you don't try, it's just gonna stay really bad.
The biggest blessing I cherish the most from recovery is I'm learning to be a better person and make better decisions on a daily basis. I can be a better mother and a better partner and a better friend, and just be an all around better person. It's not that I was this crappy person before. I actually was a fairly decent person that got myself caught up in drugs. I always loved the people I loved and had some moral compass, although that did deteriorate to a certain extent as well. But now I look at things totally differently. If I do something wrong to someone or say something wrong, it immediately doesn't sit right with me. That's not who I want to be and I immediately want to correct it and do the right thing. And I really want to help the next addict in trouble.
I just can't say enough to anyone that is suffering that it may sound like mumbo jumbo to say that "you don't have to use again," but they aren't just words. I know when I was in my active addiction, hearing that I didn't have to use just sounded completely false to me. But if you do have the opportunity to get into recovery, or at least detox and get the hamster wheel of the physical addiction to break, then you have the opportunity to maybe let someone's suggestions and some of the information get into your head. But on drugs, without that break, you don't seem to get that chance to hear what's being said. Give yourself that chance."