The disease of addiction hit me young and hard. I was a painfully shy, insecure 13 year old in the 1970’s, when my parents sent me to live in NYC to go to a private school. At 14, I was introduced to marijuana, at 15, LSD and at 17 a man injected me with heroin and I became it’s slave for almost a year. I crashed and burned and ended up in a psych ward/rehab by 18.
I thought I was crazy, defective and worthless. I didn’t know my main problem was drugs and alcohol.Back in the 70’s there were not a lot of private school, white , female teenagers involved with heroin and my shame was immeasurable. I never did heroin again but I spent the next 8 years struggling with alcohol and every other drug . I like to call myself a “garbage head.”
From age 24 to 26 I woke up every morning swearing I would not drink or drug that day, but by 5:00 I would break that promise to myself. I was desperate and scared. I wanted to stop, but I couldn’t.I have never known such fear and the only thing that relieved the fear was drugs and alcohol.
By the grace of God, I walked into an AA meeting at age 26 and knew I was where I belonged. I still didn’t share about the heroin in AA meetings because my shame was too great. I got married, had 2 beautiful children and the promises came true. After 18 years of sobriety and 27 years off opiates I had to have numerous oral surgeries involving extractions, implants and 108 stitches in my mouth over a 1 year period. I told my MD, I was in recovery. I was given opiates which I took as prescribed. I didn’t like the feeling of being drugged, until one day I did. The cravings returned, the mental obsession became overwhelming and I began abusing them. Fortunately I was in AA and I became honest about it.
I had to start my day count over and that still fills me with shame. So out of 33 years of sobriety I have 32 clean years. My relapse was the best thing that ever happened to me because I threw myself into AA and the steps again. I am acutely aware of my character defects. I know now that the only thing I can control is my attitude . Terrible things happen in life but peace of mind is a choice and takes work.
Today I am a substance abuse counselor. My deep, dark past that I was so ashamed of is now my greatest gift. Everything I have been through has made me the woman I am today and I am proud of that woman!!!