My name is Anna M., and I am an addict.
I suppose in my “other” life, the one outside recovery, such a declaration would cause a few heads to turn, maybe even seem inappropriate. But my identity as an addict is just as much a part of me as my name.
I used straight for a better part of a decade. I’m not ashamed anymore, and I feel a sense of pride that I am an addict, who works very hard for my recovery each day of my life.
The first drug I picked up was alcohol. I was 18 and thought everything was going according to “the plan”. I was a senior in high school, but had already been accepted to the college I wanted to go to, majoring in Social Work.
I was a good student, played sports, worked on the weekends and during the off-season of basketball, and I just decided to drink at a party just before graduation.
I didn’t know that I was opening a door I could not shut on my own that night, but I remember the feeling I got from putting the substance in. I felt funny, good enough, “a part of”. I went away to school that fall, and my alcohol abuse got worse.
I used to be proud that I could drink men under the table, do keg stands, and finish a bottle all on my own when my friends wouldn’t be able to.
I started kind of realizing that the obsession to drink was palpable, and if I couldn’t find someone to buy me booze that night, my whole night was ruined. I started abusing drugs through a guy I was dating. The alcohol never left my side until the day I got clean, but drugs became my new obsession. Benzo’s, speed pills, cocaine became a daily thing.
The more I grew to love speed, I started smoking it as well as snorting it. I failed out of school and moved home. When I came home, I worked with a man who got Crystal Meth from California, and I tried it with him one night. I fell in love with it, but it was a love/hate relationship from the get go.
I became violent, sometimes suicidal, and sleep deprived. When I was coming to the end of a run, I would wind up sleeping for 2 maybe 3 days straight. Around this time, my dad got sick. I was too busy getting high to visit him in the hospital, and when he finally came home, he had scripts of opiates. I started stealing them, and before long, I was a raging speed-ball addict and an alcoholic.
I started hitting all the “yets” I thought I’d never do.
I became involved in the court system at 23. I had to attend a court-ordered rehab and go to counseling, but I didn’t really want to get clean, so nothing stuck. I started going to detox after detox to get my family and employer off my back. I think to some degree, I wanted to get clean, but I wasn’t willing to admit that I couldn’t drink or smoke weed anymore. I thought I was too young and would be missing out on parties. I didn’t realize it at the time, but the party had been over for a long time.
Something changed one day.
I had overdosed and landed in the hospital, and for the first time I can remember, I was crying because I knew I’d get out and use, and I didn’t want to anymore. I did just that. I was miserable and wanted to die. A month after my overdose, I got my tax return back and spent $1,100 in 3 days. I was on a suicide mission. But, at the end of that run, I checked back into detox yet again, and this time, it was different. I surrendered fully to recovery.
This was March 18th, 2012. Since then, I haven’t found it necessary to use any mind or mood altering substances. I agreed to further treatment, and stayed for 6 months.
I was still in the court system there, and my PO came to check on me, but always seemed so happy I was finally doing the right thing. I didn’t get clean to beat a case, nor was I stipulated to the facility I stayed in. I did it for me. But in the end, my hard work has paid off. Recovery hasn’t been easy, it’s hard work.
God willing, I will have 18 months clean next month.
I since have been taken off probation, getting a probation violation case completely thrown out because I was doing the right thing. I also am in the process of getting my license back, which I lost directly due to my using. But through regular meeting attendance, getting a sponsor, and sponsoring other women, I can push the thought of using out of my head, just for today.
The beautiful thing that I know now is that any addict can lose the desire to use and get clean, if they follow the program as it is laid out. I have lost friends in recovery, and I pray for them and keep going. I’m not sure what my future holds, but I know that as long as I follow this way, more will be revealed.