Finding True Purpose in Life
I began to drink regularly when I was about fifteen, and shortly after I began to experiment with different drugs. In the beginning, these substances lubricated social situations and often aided me in bonding with my peers. Slowly, I unconsciously began to surround myself with people who had similar interests – in drugs and alcohol. Drinking was the reason to go to a party or a show. Socializing was merely an excuse.
I didn’t feel like there was a problem with my use of substances until I began using heroin. Alcohol had been a socially acceptable substance that many people my age used like me. I was beginning to have difficulty with relationships due to things I did while drinking. Again I believed this was just what teenagers did. But at 20 years old I began to use heroin during a particularly difficult period, and everything changed. I immediately felt that heroin was the most important thing in my life, that I needed it just to get through the day.
I started to become very depressed. I began to lose friends, and isolate myself. I was constantly worrying about money, spending every cent I had on drugs. My mother saw what was happening and tried to help, but it was hopeless because I didn’t want help. I became physically dependent on heroin and completely forgot what life had been like before the addiction. It engulfed everything for me.
By the time I moved to New Orleans, I was miserable and hopeless. I went to detoxes and treatment centers numerous times, but I couldn’t manage to stay sober. It wasn’t until I spent two months in jail for possession charges that I truly wanted help. I requested to be sent to Grace House. I had been once before, but left with the intention to relapse. I knew that Grace House was the best treatment center I had attended. I had learned a great deal about my disease there. I was eager to return and give recovery my all. It was my last hope.
Grace House gave me a roof over my head, home-cooked meals, and so much more. I attended regular groups to discuss the disease of addiction, and all the challenges faced in everyday life as an addict. I was able to relate to my peers in ways I never thought possible, and to this day I have strong relationships with many women in recovery because of Grace House. I had one-on-one access to a counselor, psychiatrist, and health services at an on-site clinic, free of charge. I was able to attend 12 step meetings in New Orleans, and encouraged to work with a sponsor. I began working while still living at Grace House, giving me the chance to save money and find stable housing. I learned how to live as a useful human being, giving back to my community and finding true purpose in life.
Today, I am an active member of Alcoholics Anonymous. I currently sponsor five women, and there is no greater joy in my life than to help others like myself. The disease of addiction is still widely misunderstood today, and I feel very passionately that I must do my part to fix that. I am so immensely grateful to Grace House, for giving me the chance to make my life worth living.