I was 14 years old the first time I drank. Drinking was something all of my friends and I did on weekends. At 17, I smoked weed for the first time. Drinking on weekends turned into drinking and doing coke on weekends. I was going at the same pace as my friends for years. At the age of 24 or 25 is about the time that I started to notice negative consequences but continued to use. I would have fights with loved ones, I was tired and cranky a lot, and generally apathetic. At 25, I tried Heroin for the first time and found the perfect feeling. Within that year, I started injecting it. I was still a relatively “functioning” user for the next few years.
At about 29, I was introduced to crack cocaine. Over the next couple of years, I got really bad, really fast. At 31, I gave birth to my first son. My love for him was crushed by the weight of my addiction. I wanted to stop but I really didn’t think I could. I was consumed with guilt and shame, yet the guilt and shame fed the need to escape. At this point in my life, I overdosed, had infections in my arms from iv drug use, had become homeless, and had a son that I couldn’t bear to think about. My soul was gone. I wanted to die. It never occurred to me that I could stop using.
I had resigned myself to the fact that this was my “life”, and I couldn’t wait for it to end. I don’t remember how I found out about Grace House but I did and got on waiting list in 2006; I was 32. I called every day to see if they could take me. On May 27, 2006, I was finally admitted. I was scared and desperate. I remember feeling so free after finishing my First Step Packet that my counselor provided. I met wonderful people (fellow clients and the amazing women who came to the Tuesday night meeting, even a couple of former clients who were now RAs.) We were all so different but exactly the same. I learned that drugs were not my problem, only a symptom. This scared and motivated me. I took everything in, I was a sponge. I couldn’t believe I was able to find an easier and softer way.
I built a foundation and support system of incredible, strong women from being at Grace House. I became a better mother, sister, friend, and woman. I completed the program on November 21, 2006. My fiancé completed treatment at Bridge House, my sister saw our lives and realized she could have what we had and in March of 2008, she graduated from Grace House too! In June of 2010, I became a Resident Advisor at Grace House Camp Street. It is an indescribable feeling to know that I am trusted and valued by Grace House staff. I believe that Grace House saves lives. I tell everyone that will listen about my experience with the hope that if they or anyone they love suffer from the disease of addiction, they will know that there is another way. If I can do it, anyone can.