Audrey

My parents split when I was very young, and because they were so different it was difficult for me growing up. My dad was successful and normal, put together, and everything I wanted to be one day. But I never felt good enough to fit in there. My moms house was crazy and unpredictable, but somehow I always felt too normal to fit in there. So, the seeds of not being good enough, not fitting in and not belonging started early in my life. We moved constantly, and I was bullied really bad in school, so I was mostly shy and quiet. I knew that my older brothers partied and used drugs, but everything changed when my mom got prescribed medication.

I remember watching her slowly lose herself in it and become less involved. One day when I was in middle school I told her I had a headache and she gave me a prescription pain pill for it.  It was the first time I got high, I’ll never forget the feeling – it was like all the loneliness, sadness, bullying, not being good enough – none of that mattered. Just for a few hours all the pressure was gone, and all I wanted to do was feel that way again. It wasn’t long before I was hanging out with the other kids in school who were using and for once I felt like I fit in. So that is what my life became, getting high and partying.

By the time I was a sophomore in high school I was using pain medicine, cocaine, ecstasy, etc. on a daily basis. I loved not feeling and not caring, and I wanted to do whatever it took to continue to not feel and not care. After I graduated high school I didn’t feel like I had any direction or purpose to my life, so I just spiraled more and more into my addiction. By this point I started to get into legal trouble, and I was put on probation. I couldn’t stop using, so I couldn’t pass drugs tests, which only made me legal trouble worse. After getting in trouble a few times for failing drug tests I started to realize that I couldn’t stop. No matter how much I wanted to, or what kind of trouble I was facing, I just couldn’t stop. This was the first time I tried rehab, they sent me to I.O.P. for 6 months. I remember really having the desire to stop using then, but I couldn’t. I really wanted to be sober and live a normal life, I just couldn’t say no to the drugs.

Around this time, I met my sons father. He was in addiction also, and so we spiraled down further together. Every relationship I had been in since I began using was abusive, it was all I knew, I thought that was what love was and I would do anything to feel loved and accepted. But this relationship was worse, it was mentally and physically abusive and I began to lose myself. I started to become more isolated and alone, I started believing that I wasn’t good enough to be around people, and that there was something wrong with me.

Soon our legal troubles began to get worse and we caught felony charges together. Around the same time that I ended up in jail for the new charges, I found out I was pregnant with my son. I was put back on probation and found myself back in the same position – I couldn’t stop using. I didn’t wan to violate probation, and even more than that I didn’t want to use while I was pregnant, but I just couldn’t stop. While I was pregnant the abuse got worse, and shortly after my son was born I turned to I.V. drug use.

This went on for about a year and a half and then I found out that my mom was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer. When my mom passed away everything changed. It was like a piece of me was gone. I didn’t know where to turn or what to do. I felt completely alone in the world. I didn’t know where to turn, so I turned to my addiction like never before. It was like a switch flipped and I stopped caring about anything at all. Drugs were the only place I knew to turn to for help with the pain.

I left my son’s father, who was my husband at this point. I started smoking crack, and it wasn’t long before I found myself prostituting to support my addiction. I hated myself and I hated what I was doing, but I didn’t know how to stop. The more I would prostitute, the more I would hate myself. I got to the point where I couldn’t look at myself in the mirror, I was so disgusted with myself. The worse I felt the more drugs I needed to cover the pain. I started using meth and being an I.V. meth user was worse than anything ese I had ever done. Meth got a hold on me like nothing else I had ever done before.

I gave up my son because of the things I was doing, and not long after they took full custody of him because of neglect and abandonment. I was so hopeless at this point, I had lost everyone and everything. The drugs were all I had left, I thought that was it for me, that being an addict was all I would ever be. I had heard my whole life the saying, “Once an addict, always an addict.” My mind got so bad on the meth that paranoia took over. I was seeing and hearing things that weren’t there. I was staying up for 15 to 16 days in a row, barely eating, and losing myself to hopelessness. I had nothing and nowhere to go. By this point I was homeless sleeping in gas station bathrooms and getting high with anyone who would pick me up. I really felt like my mind would never come back and that there was no hope for me.

A suicide attempt landed me in a mental hospital, and from there they sent me to a 28 days program. I got sober and things went well for a couple weeks. I started to get my mind back, I got some clothes, and I started to get hope again. And then I got kicked out. I turned to drugs once again, and within 24 hours I lost everything. I found myself right back in the same position had been in so many times before. I was hopeless again, I was using again, I had nowhere to go and I didn’t know what to do. I knew there had to be something more out there. So I called the number I had gotten to a year-long faith-based program in Morristown, TN.

After trying so many other programs before I didn’t really have any hope that this one would work, but I didn’t have any other options. I entered into the program and it wasn’t long before I found what I had been missing all along – Jesus Christ! Jesus delivered me from drugs, healed all the pain and heartache I had tried to numb for so long, showed me a place where I belong, restored my mind, my family, and my life. I graduated the program and I am now working on 5 years clean. The staff and people in the program showed me REAL love and taught me how to live without addiction and chains.

I have full custody of my son today. I have my own car and my own home. I get to live a life that I never thought was possible for me. My relationship with my dad is better than it has ever been, and I get to be the daughter, mother, sister friend, etc. that I was always meant to be.  I am also blessed enough to be able to work for the program now and be able to pour into the lives of other paddies everyday and watch God restore their lives and transform their hearts. I learned that I don’t have to struggle with addiction for the rest of my life. I don’t think about it anymore, its not a part of who I am anymore. I am a new creation because of Jesus Christ, the old is gone and the new has come! Every day, by living my life, I show people that there is a way out – Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life!

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