I’m originally from Queens, New York. My dad worked for Amtrak and worked his way up to one of the vice-presidents for passenger services. To give us a better life he decided to move our family to Yardley, PA. My grandparents made the move with us and lived next door; my mom never had to work. Working in passenger services, my dad had to travel often for work and my mom would go with him. This time of my life was highly traumatic for me; my grandma was an alcoholic and my grandfather molested me for many years which led to my first suicide attempt at age 14. I was home-schooled after being in the hospital for three months after the suicide attempt. From there, nothing was normal. I was very introverted and fearful of people as a child.
My opiate addiction started with pills from the doctor, I was given Xanax so I wouldn’t be fearful. I was using pills for five years. One pill felt good, two felt better, and then my prescriptions ran out. One day, I was home, miserable, and introverted, without friends, and my son was at his father’s for the weekend. My sister introduced me to heroin and told me to snort it. I vomited immediately, which I actually liked because I also had an eating disorder. It was so powerful I wanted more, my loneliness dissipated and I felt like everything was going to be okay. This quickly became a daily addiction.
I would attempt to stop using, but it wouldn’t last long. The pills were really expensive and I would need a lot of pills to make the sickness go away. I went to rehab a couple times, hoping a treatment center would help me get better. I was pretty sad, but one of the workers was really nice to me, and he’d bring me cigarettes. When I left the treatment center, I started dating him and we moved in together. He wanted me to go on Suboxone, and this was right when Suboxone came out. Shortly after, I was pregnant with my second son and the doctors were concerned about what the Suboxone would do to the fetus. If I detoxed there was a chance of losing the baby. They recommended that I switch to Methadone, which I did. My son was born three months premature and addicted to Methadone. He stayed in the hospital seven months detoxing. His father wanted nothing to do with me until I could get off the Methadone. It was heartbreaking for me to not be able to see my son. I was at a women and children’s facility, Samara House, and the people at Samara House were going to help me get visitation with my son. Unfortunately, I ended up getting into a fight with one of the women because she said, “That’s why you don’t have your kid.” I had a broom in my hand and hit her with it, just reactionary, and I was kicked out. Thus, I ended up on the streets of Coatesville. This lead to another incredibly traumatic time in my life. I was gang raped while I was on the streets. They did a rape kit, the police found a match for two of the three guys, and I just didn’t want any part of it. I never pressed charges. I ended up moving back in Bucks County.
I did some time in jail, and when I was released I entered a recovery house. I was clean for almost a year, became the house manager and was working for a dentist. I was in a good place, and that’s when I met my youngest son for the first time and we established a relationship. Unfortunately, I relapsed because I moved out of the house and stopped going to meetings. I prioritized a relationship, and put my recovery efforts last. After meeting my son, at four, I lost it all. Then I began a cycle of years in and out psych wards. I’ve gone to over 30 to 40 psych wards and tried Electroconvulsive therapy. I had multiple suicide attempts. I ended up going to Penn Foundation and their transitional living component really helped me.
On the outside my life looked like it was going well. I got married in July of last year and moved to Newtown with my husband. I reunited with my youngest son, now 11, who I hadn’t seen in seven years, and my older son moved in with us. All these good things were happening, but my parents wouldn’t come to my wedding. I always trying to measure up to what they wanted me to be, which is sober. Between all that good happening and still wanting the acceptance of my family and not getting that, I broke and tried to kill myself again. Nobody could understand, but something still wasn’t right, and when I’m on the opiates, the depression’s not there. I was in the ICU for four days, and the doctors weren’t sure if I was going to live, but I made it through and they put me in a psych hospital for a month. My husband, a recovering addict, relapsed while I was in hospital. I came out to a monster and had to file a Protection From Abuse Order.
Currently, I’m in active recovery. I’m struggling with depression and going through a divorce now, but today my recovery journey is going well. When my husband was getting out of jail, I was concerned about my safety because he had threatened my life. I moved into a safe recovery house for women to protect myself.
People should know that opioid addiction is a false sense of “everything will be alright.” It’s a temporary fix that only makes things worse. The addiction doesn’t only affect me, it’s impacted those I’ve loved. My older son, he’s 22 and he’s the most wonderful kid. He talks about how his father and I showed him not what to do in life. He sees how I was at rock bottom and I have started to build the foundation to continue to get healthy and take care of me. Today we have a good relationship.
This is why I am sharing my story. People have to make the choice to stop using. You have to want to make the change and not offer excuses as to why you’re using.