It all began in the 1960’s – living on Long Island in an upscale town called Great Neck.
Great Neck was a very competitive town where you were never “good enough” or rich enough or smart enough. From a divorced working class family, my world collided when I was raped and almost murdered, shame I kept buried for years, and a boyfriend who had too much of everything.
At 16, I was getting front row seats at the Copacobana, given jewelry, new cars, I was 16 going on 25. Then his father, uncle, and friend were killed. It was a classic mob style hit and the love of my life began using heroin.
I knew I had lost him, he changed. At 16, with no support at home, my boyfriend on heroin, and the money drying up, I wanted to please him. I also had my dark secret about the rape. I was mad at God, had no family support and my father who had temporary custody was dying. Heroin looked like a nice solution.
Within 90 days, life as I knew it changed.
I went from Great Neck to the abandoned lots in East NY in 1972. I went from martinis to cheap wine. I stood in long lines at methadone clinics and took any pill that came my way. I forgot the pretty, bright girl that once was and was reduced to a mill crate, in a lot in war torn dangerous east NY. And to me it felt like heaven. I
I was trapped when I met the new love of my life. A handsome Spanish guy right out of prison and it was he and I against the world. He taught me the streets. I found it exciting but I was wearing out. After over 40 attempted detoxes (yes, I said 40), I was hooked on methadone, hydromorphone, valium, and alcohol.
And then it happened. I got that call. My husband had overdosed. My goal from then on was to party until I was 30 and then commit suicide. My world as I knew it was over.
Alone, beat up, addicted. I had a spiritual intervention that made me know God is real. He is present and His promises are true. I got a feeling that was stronger than any drug I had ever done, a warmth and glow went through me and a calm a sense of safety that almost knocked me over. I said, “God if you just get me off drugs I will do anything.”
I found a basement apartment. Someone gave me a mattress, old TV, a bible, a coffee pot, and I was going to trust that voice. I stayed in that basement with a bible and God said all you have to do is breath I will do the rest. I had seizures, I lost 40 pounds kicking methadone cold.
Having grand mail seizures in the shower, I called a therapist. I checked into a detox. I didn’t get it the first time, though. I came out and picked up more pills and alcohol – and that was the kiss of death. I tried to commit suicide feeling like I let God down. He wasn’t done with me yet but I had so much more work to do.
I was found placed in a locked unit. I felt so distant from reality and never thought I could live one day at a time without a drink or drug. My counselor said follow the simple steps of 12 step recovery. I prayed, I listened and hours turned into days, days turned into years. This June 20th, I will have 34 years clean and sober.
Life has not been easy. I have had and continue to have challenges, relationships, health, poor choices but GOD is good. I would never go back on my word. I am here until He decides to take me home.
Recovery showed me how to laugh, care, feel again. I will never see homelessness again and make a judgement, I have lost many friends to suicide. We are never “fixed” but we can and do recover. It’s the hardest thing I have ever done but I am happy. We can’t keep it unless we give it away. If I can do it anyone can. It begins with willingness and faith.
Thank you for the opportunity to share. Today we have a choice! God is good through it all. His love is indeed unconditional. He is the greatest love of all.