“I hope to be the counselor that I needed back then.”

Growing up, I never imagined I would become addicted, I never imagined I would have PTSD, and I never imagined I would be sexually abused by my biological fatherI was eight years old when my biological father started sexually abusing me. It started with me not being allowed to wear undergarmentsprogressed to touchingand finally to oral sex. When I was 16, I came forward with what was happening to me, and he was sentenced to five to ten years in jail. I felt guilty and like it was my fault. I broke up my family and made my mom go back to work after not working for 20 yearsI was also the reason we lost our house, cars, and were broke. We were forced to move back in with my grandma and everything my mom had worked hard for had been destroyed. After the court hearing, I spent a few days with a cousin of mine who helped me a lot through the legal process. They could tell I was struggling so they said, “Here, snort this pill and shut your brain off for a while. Have a little fun. That’s when it all started; I loved the way it made my worries go away and the way the pills made me feel. It wasn’t long after my experience with my cousin that I started using daily, five pills a day for a year, then up to eight pills a day for a year or two, then up to 10 pills a day for years. 

 I also was experimenting with Xanax, cocaine, and marijuana, but Vicodin and Percocet were my drugs of choice. I had a full-time job while I was actively using, but that still wasn’t enough. I was stealing from my grandma, my mother, my boyfriend, and his mother. I was selling my body to friends that I knew would hook me up if I slept with them. I was doing anything and everything to get pills. Soon pills became hard to find. I would doctor shop and go to the hospital to try to get my own scripts, but it wasn’t until I went to see a dentist that I finally got a script. I got a tooth pulled and they gave me a script of 25 Loritabs. I was in heaven, and so that’s what I did. Every time I couldn’t find what I needed, I would go to the dentist and get a tooth pulled and get a script. Of course, that only lasted until I no longer had any teeth and needed dentures. I started having serious nose bleeds at about six years into my addiction. It was so painful that if I didn’t have a pill, I was in tears. Little did I know, I was burning away my sinus cavity, which started with my septum, tonsils, uvula, soft palate, and ending with causing a cleft palate on my hard palate.

met with a guy who had a very good connection for pills, so I was selling the extras to make extra money so my personal price would be cheaper. On February 13, 2013, I sold three hundred and fifty dollars’ worth of pills to a guy who I thought I knew, but apparently, he had turned into a confidential informant and set me up with an undercover officer. I was arrested that day and charged with the intent and actual delivery of a controlled substance and faced three to five years in jail. The next dayI got out of jail and I knew that was it. Being threatened with my freedom was my rock bottom. I was done. I finished up my supply and that was it for me. Three years had gone by before I was sentencedI was three years clean, had a son, and got back into school. They sentenced me to nine months house arrest and five years of probation.  

After I had about two years clean, I went and received reconstructive surgery to reconstruct my hard palate and tighten my nose since there was too much air going through my nose because of the damage. Unfortunately, right now the doctors say I cannot have any more surgeries to fix the rest of the problems because of my sleep apneaWhen I talk, it’s sometimes hard to understand me and I will forever be reminded of the damage I have done to myself. I am now six and a half years clean. I have my associate degree in social work and am working towards my masters in social workI hope to be the counselor that I needed back then. I was on the President’s list at Westmoreland County Community College for five straight semesters and received a scholarship as a result. I was inducted into the National Society of Leadership and Success. At California University of Pennsylvania, I won the social work alumni scholarship based on my story of trials and tribulations while still maintaining a 3.69 GPA average.  

This is why I am sharing my story. I have two beautiful boys and am married to a wonderful man who supports me in everything that I do in every way that he can. I am currently writing a book about my life. I hope to one day publish it and speak to children all around the world, and if I can just save one child from going through what I went through, it will all be worth it. 

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