It is said everyone’s life journey starts with the first step. But I took my first step many times. All my first steps were on different paths which led to the same place – childhood addiction. The land of drug and alcohol started at age 11. Drug and alcohol addiction were the only tools I knew how to use to cope with life with its uncertainties and pain. But I want you to know I wasn’t always an addict. I started my life in a loving home with two parents who loved me unconditionally.
I remember being anxious and worried much of the time. I remember not liking to feel emotion. It seemed to me emotion must be one of the most uncomfortable things about life. Maybe because I always thought I felt or loved too much. By the time I was a pre-teen I was on anti-depressant medication. Around the same time, I found out I had endometriosis which I interpreted as my uterus and ovaries hating me. My parents took me to the doctor who gave me pain medication to ease the pain of my uterus and ovaries battling with me on a monthly schedule.
The Start of Childhood Addiction
To begin – I couldn’t sleep, so I was prescribed sleeping pills. When I couldn’t concentrate, I was prescribed Adderall. At one time I was taking over 140 pills per month. Now that you know this, you can see how my childhood addiction started. I needed the next prescription like I needed air to breathe. My parents did the right thing and had me go to rehab. I did great in rehab meeting other addicts like myself but I also knew I wasn’t going to stay off of drugs when I got out. But I was going to have to change my drug choice.
When I walked out of rehabilitation, I walked straight into heroin addiction. It didn’t take me fifteen minutes before I had a needle in my arm. I didn’t have access to prescription pills anymore, but I had access to street drugs. I decided the drugs were enough for me to sleep in rat-infested drug houses where men and women overdosed and died in front of me.
Addiction’s Full Grasp
The drugs were enough for me to see people killed in front of me. Some were beaten up so bad they wished they were dead. I must have left the streets a hundred times. Each time I would go to rehabilitation and each time I got out, I went back to the streets.
I was raped and beaten on the streets. I was even almost sold into the sex slave trade. Each time I saw a friend die or go missing I wanted to quit. I wanted to learn how to live without wanting my next hit. But I couldn’t break away.
My parents loved me enough during my childhood addiction to come and pick me up in houses that held nothing but rapists, addicted people, and murderers. I loved them enough to never tell them the names of anyone inside or their lives would have been at risk. But I kept circling the same place. Even though I would take a positive first step out of the five or six rehabilitation centers I went to, I knew I would be going back to drugs. My path always led me back to drug and alcohol addiction.
Making it Out Alive
I needed to learn the tools which would help me in my coping skills, so I committed this time to rehabilitation which taught me more about the tools I could use for coping mechanisms. Tools which would teach me to not sit in my emotions. Tools I could use to get better and move on with my life. Tools I could use to get me out of the furnace of fire and addiction I had been living in. Fire can burn you to ashes and leave nothing of you behind. But fire can also shape and create some amazing things. And what is a star in the sky but the fire burning gases with bits of iron? I could choose to be the star.
I was going to become the person I was always destined to be but could never find through the maze and haze of my childhood addiction to drugs and alcohol. I wasn’t the drug-addicted people who used the motivation of thinking about why I wasn’t where I wanted to be in life or who I wanted to become. But I was the drug addict who could use motivation about who I never wanted to be again. So I started taking steps forward by not using for a day, a week, a month, and more. I learned coping skills I needed to have to deal with life situations that happen from time to time.
I lost my job recently and I don’t like being unemployed. I like to get out, do things, and be busy. But I am using this time to value what I have. I have my parents who still love me unconditionally but do not enable me. I have my boyfriend, and we have a place of our own, and a new dog. I have all the things in life which have value and worth. Life isn’t made up of grand gestures and over the top moments. It’s the little things that matter. It’s the little steps I am taking on a new path leading me into unchartered waters.