Carmela Cozart shares her journey: we do recover.

I’m A 34-Year-Old Mother Of Three. And It’s True – We Do Recover.

I’m a 34-year-old mother of 3. I’m also a woman living in recovery from addiction. I’d like to share my story with you.

I was born in California to a single mom. When I was a baby, my mom and I moved to Maryland – which is home. That’s where my entire family is. I had a good childhood. I was loved. My mom, grandmother, aunt, uncle and my great grandparents…that was my family. I went to private school, had family vacations, and spent every summer at my Mimi and Pop’s beach house. My mom married my stepfather when I was 11 and I called him dad. I think I was a lot like other young teens – because at the age of 13, I was curious about drugs and alcohol.

By this time, I was in public school trying to find my identity and where I fit in, and just maybe I was seeking attention. Why, I don’t know. I found a group of kids – and I think like every teenager you want to experiment, which I did.  My problem was that I liked it way too much even at a young age. I finally found “IT,” – I was comfortable in my own skin, I was funny, and people loved me (so I thought). I quit high school in 10th grade because I wanted to party and hang out. In 2005, I got married and had my daughter. My marriage – just like everything else in my life – was centered around drugs.

I had two more kids in 2006 and 2009. My marriage was filled with a lot of abuse: physical, mental, and emotional. My marriage ended in 2013, but let me back it up by one year. In 2012, my husband and I lost custody of our children as a direct result of our addiction. So, at that time I felt that my world had ended. My addiction took off from there and did not end until May 3, 2016.  Like I said, my marriage ended – April 13, 2013 to be exact. My marriage ended after he was arrested for domestic violence yet again. This time he went to prison. I felt like I was finally free from him. I was left all alone. No kids, no husband, and my family was not speaking to me because I was a thieving, manipulating shell of a person. All they wanted was for me to get help. I wanted it too but did not know how to go about getting it.

I spent the next two years living in houses with no running water or electricity – stealing, robbing people, in and out of jail, being homeless on the street and prostituting myself for drugs. I would not eat, sleep or bathe for days. I was at my bottom. I would make enough money just to get a room for the night in the slummiest motel around.

I remember sitting on the edge of the bed one night crying and screaming to God. Asking him why he even kept me on this earth. I begged for his help. I walked outside the next morning and was surrounded by police. I had a warrant for violation of probation. There was my help.

That is not what I expected, but that is what God saw fit, HE answered my prayers because without that, I would be dead.  I spent 6 months in jail and knew I wanted a different life. I got out of jail on 12/25 15 – Merry Christmas to me.  I would like to say I stayed clean since then, but I did not. I thought because I was a drug addict, I could use alcohol normally. I didn’t have an issue with alcohol, or so I thought.  I spent the next 5 months drinking. Then, one day I made the decision to take one pain pill.  I knew at that very moment, that if I did not get honest with myself and everyone around me, I would be going back to the needle or dead very soon.  So, my sobriety date is now 5/3/2016 and I have been drug and alcohol free since then.

In August of 2016, I started the B.E.S.T. program (Building Employment Success training) at the Lighthouse Homeless Prevention Center, in Annapolis MD. This cause is very close to my heart, since I have been homeless myself. The class I took was a culinary arts class. They gave me a chance when no one else would. It’s hard finding employment with multiple felonies on my record. I graduated from that class on 12/14/16 with all my family present. I am a cook at their restaurant now. I attend 5-7 recovery meetings a week. I have an amazing network of sober people in my life. I thought life would be boring being sober. Boy, was I wrong. I don’t think I have ever been happier. I go into rehabs to share my experience, strength, and hope. To let others know, there is another way of life. I live a life today beyond my wildest dreams.

My kids are back in my life, and my middle son tells me, “mom I am so proud of you, and I am so happy you go to those meetings because I got my mom back.” I work every day on my recovery. And I fight with a fire inside me because to hear those words come from that little boy’s mouth, lets me know that this fight I am fighting is beyond worth it. I can live life on life’s terms today and not self-medicate. I can sit with my feelings and work through them today, all because I am sober. If you are reading this and struggling, it is okay. Please reach out for help, the blessings are amazing. It’s true – we do recover.