My first loves
My story didn’t start out with a white picket fence and the ideal suburban existence. It started in the desert sands of Southern California and the loss of innocence, way too young.
My sisters and I were orphaned young. My father died when I was 4 months old. My mother and stepfather later crashed and drowned in a Southern California canal rushing home to us one New Years eve night. After a traumatic custody battle, we were sent to live with grandparents in Virginia we had never met. I’ll spare you details but, after a few years of severe physical and emotional abuse , I ran away. I was eventually legally removed from their custody.
My teen years were wrought with confusion, high risk behaviors, sexual abuse and an endless pursuit of love.You would think as you read this I would’ve ended up a statistic. Well, I didn’t… but then, I did.
I found that love I was searching for, or it found me, at age 18 when I discovered I was pregnant with my first child. The realization that I was responsible for a life beyond my own changed me instantly. I couldn’t care less about myself, I was determined to self harm or allow others to do it for me and then one day I would die. But my daughter, she saved my life. She was my angel and my first love.
My devotion infinite, I did my best with limited examples of good parenting and not much of a support network. Eventually I was blessed with my amazing son. Life was supposed to be perfect . In hindsight I realize, it really was … until it wasn’t.
I attended school as long as I could manage then worked as hard as I could until I was earning a six figure salary as an account executive. I was a driven and energetic competitor with an insatiable need to prove my value.
I thought I set good, strong examples of self esteem for my children. I did not. I thought I was making good. I was chasing. Then came the day my fortitude was tested, and, all the unresolved pain of the past rushed in like a tidal wave.
I shut down and failed my children.
I ended a relationship as my daughter was entering preteen years. I immediately entered another dysfunctional relationship. My daughter, always shy and anxious, began acting out. She had been molested by a family member the year before, then she was sexually assaulted by strangers, all within 3 years.
My son struggled to maintain attendance, grades, sports activity. He excelled.
As her depression spiraled, I was frantic to get her help. She wouldn’t move from the sofa. She stopped attending school. I was angry, heartbroken, desperate . .. lost.
I tried to hold it together. One night I fell down my stairs at home and injured my back. After a month of agonizing pain, I finally took some medication given to me by a co worker.
That night was the beginning of the end to a true rock bottom I wish on no one. Those little pills took away my excruciating physical and emotional pain and allowed me to cope. They also ended my hopes and dreams and stole our future.
At first, it was doc shopping . Then, it was prescription fraud. That descended into organized dealing in the suburbs. I was up to a 40 pill a day habit, alternating with heroin, before I was finally arrested for the last time, March 2011.
That night the spiral ended after nearly 10 years of running. After loss of job, repossession, foreclosure and unimaginable acts.
My 7th month in jail, I was finally clear headed enough to understand the damage I had caused, but I was hopeful to make amends. Sadly, my daughter, now age 20, was severely abusing opiates. I was told by her friends on my final call with her that Thursday that she was shooting up and “out of control “. I spoke to her, she was barely coherent and then nodded off the call. I knew my child was going to die. I begged her friends like I’ve never begged in my life, please , keep her alive until I can get to her.
My daughter, Kirstyn Miranda King , died October 16, 2011. It was 3 days after that final call. I was powerless to help her. There is no emotion I’ve ever felt quite like that feeling and I wish it on no one.
Fast forward, I was released from custody and the years after were spent in a tailspin of awakening and self destruction. No, I did not start using drugs again but I did everything short of…
FBI agents walked into my life one afternoon. That day began my road to redemption.We were profiled in the FBI produced documentary , “Chasing the Dragon “.. Months before the release of the film last year, I found the strength to be honest, open, aware and responsible.
Today, I live with accountability, not guilt. I live to relay the message in the strongest way possible, every action has a reaction. Life is ALL cause and effect. Pain is a gift of humanity. Do not nod off or you will wake to a living nightmare.
Above all, I live to send the message to the struggling, you matter to someone. Parents, your children love and need you more than you can comprehend. If not for yourself, get well for them.
It turns out, I’m not exactly a statistic. In spite of all, I’m living a life of recovery and working towards unity, prevention education, peer to peer program strategy and most of all… a purpose driven life . This wasn’t “supposed” to happen.
My son is now a married father, serving in the Air force. I am working hard on improving myself to be the person my family deserves.
So it would appear, my daughter saved me again. Now, it’s time to earn it.