"By no means is life in sobriety perfect, but for the first time it's worth living and for that, I am forever grateful."

I can’t say that my story starts the same as many others. I did not have a terrible childhood or grow up with an addicted parent. Although, I never felt I fit in or belonged.  While most 13-year-olds were playing sports and going to football games, I was spending my time with a group of people in their 20s, drinking and getting high every day.

I overdosed for the first time at the age of 14.  My so-called “friends” threw me out in my driveway and took off, leaving my poor mother to find me. I spent the next month in a partial hospitalization program and convinced myself it wasn’t a drug problem but a poor decision problem.  Hours after being discharged, I was high and drunk once again. That evening when I went to meet the drug dealer, he decided to hold me there for 3 days.  After, what felt like a lifetime he allowed me to return home.  I never spoke of this to anyone, instead, I drank it away.

Several months later at the age of 15, I met the man I would spend the next 8 years with. I was attracted to him because he used drugs more than I did. By being with him, it justified my actions because I was not or never going to be as bad as he is. The next 8 years, consisted of 2:00 A.M. jail calls, sleepless nights, drunken fights, doing whatever it took to prevent getting sick, and wearing long sleeves in 90-degree weather to hide the bruises. I always said he was the type of person who would give you the shirt off his back and steal it off of you the next day. There was good in there, but the demons always won.

On December 3, 2007, this all came to an end when I woke up and found my spouse of the last 8 years dead from an overdose. He was only 24 years old. Nothing in life can prepare you for the moment when you have to call a mother and tell her that her baby is dead. For the next 3 years, I made it my mission to follow in his footsteps. Every night consisted of blackouts, hangovers, and being banned from every bar in town. Don’t worry, at least I was only an alcoholic, is what I told myself, but in reality, I was once again on a self-destructive path.

In April 2010, I found out I was pregnant with my son and everything changed. I immediately put myself into outpatient treatment; only this time I was willing to hear what they had to say. I found out what it truly meant to live a sober life through counseling and the rooms of Narcotics Anonymous. It’s funny how when you start to do the next right thing everything falls into place. I sit here 7 years later not only as a mother and wife, but I have the amazing privilege of being a drug and alcohol counselor as well. These are just a few of the things that sobriety has given me. This is why I am sharing my story. Every day I look into the eyes of addicts and I see myself. I see that beautiful moment of surrender, and I am able to assure them it will get better; I know because I’ve done it. By no means is life in sobriety perfect, but for the first time it’s worth living and for that, I am forever grateful.

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