“I learned to love myself.”
I had a very enriching childhood. I was born into a family of eight children, in Baton Rouge. I was outgoing and had lots of friends. I was active in gymnastics, dance, and girl scouts.
In high school, I started drinking and taking drugs. After high school, I found methamphetamines. I can remember rolling blading all around the LSU campus with some friends, and thinking that I wanted this feeling to last forever. I moved into a house with 4 friends and partied all the time. The drugs were nonstop. Slowly, we all started to fall apart– bills weren’t getting paid, the cops were called. I knew I couldn’t keep living like this, so I tried moving to Florida.
In Florida, I started bartending. My “typical” day included lots of pills, alcohol, marijuana and I started using OxyContin. Eventually, OxyContin became a daily habit, so once again I tried a geographical change. It didn’t work. I moved back home and received my first felony drug charge. I was sentenced to drug court, and miraculously, I graduated. But as soon I completed, I went right back to my usual drug habits. I was really starting to scare myself. I couldn’t stop using drugs. I couldn’t see a way out.
I received the call that my youngest brother died in a motorcycle accident and my mother was in ICU. I was devastated and I had no healthy coping skills, so I turned to the only thing I knew. I started injecting anything and everything that I could. Six months later, my mother died. Two and a half weeks later, I got arrested for every drug schedule there is, some twice, plus traffic violations.
I was in jail for a year. I was mentally, spiritually and physically bankrupt. I had lost everything, even myself. My family was done with me. I had wrecked every relationship with anyone and everyone that loved me. During that time, I was told about Grace House.
I made the decision to go to Grace House; I knew that if I didn’t do something different I would end up in prison, or worse, dead. I was terrified but I showed up. The staff was very friendly and comforting. I started to work through my grief. My counselor and I developed a treatment plan to focus on my individual needs. I worked at the Bridge House Thrift Store with an alumna, Sandy. She was full of amazing stories, hope and life. She even let me read her life story. The similarities blew me away. It was then that I decided to take some action using suggestions I received from Grace House and I got a sponsor and started working the 12 steps.
Grace House taught me life skills and responsibilities. It taught me how to be a friend, how to hold myself and others accountable. I learned to laugh and cry. I learned to love myself.
I have mended the relationships with my entire family and am involved in all of their lives, including my growing number of nieces and nephews. I am not only invited, but encouraged, to attend family vacations, weddings, birthday parties, first communions etc. My family is forever grateful for Grace House giving them their sister back. I will forever be grateful that Grace House was there, that I had the opportunity to turn my life around, and for all the people who believed in me when I didn’t believe in myself.