Early Access Leads to Early Addiction
Lydia’s experience with mind-altering substances started very early in her life. When she was a child, her parents would throw parties. In her own words, they weren’t alcoholics, but they liked to have a few drinks every now and then.
At the end of the night, Lydia’s father would tell her to clean the empty glasses out of the living room, but often people would leave just a tiny bit of whatever they were drinking in the bottom of theirs. Lydia would pour all that remained into one glass and drink it.
Her father was also an old-fashioned type of man, who used old home remedies such as whiskey to treat a sore throat or a toothache. As one might reason from this, Lydia’s father was not an alcoholic, but certainly a drinker.
He liked to have a martini after getting home from work or a beer. Very often, he would call her over to drink the foam from the top of his beer and Lydia was always the first one there. She was also the first to start sneaking her dad’s beers from the fridge.
In high school, Lydia drank socially with friends. Nice boys with nice cars always had beer at their houses, so she and her friends would go over and drink. During this time of her life, she also tried weed in high school, which turned into an every day activity for her.
After high school, Lydia pursued her dreams of becoming a chef and did very well. However, she often found herself hanging around a crowd of people much older than herself by five-to-ten years. They would offer her things, be it alcohol or drugs, and she would take it.
I found myself having to get high before I had to go to work or even just to get out of bed.
What began as a weekend thing, partying after work, became a daily compulsion. She would wake up Monday morning and be unable to function, so she would break into the stash she was saving for the next weekend. From weed to cocaine to methamphetamines, with mushrooms and LSD in between, Lydia was constantly on some drug or another.
She became lonely and found it easier to seek companionship in bars, her only “friends” being the men she picked up. She wasn’t seeking sex, but rather friendship, someone to hang out with, talk to, and get high with, but sex is often what came of her escapades. As time went on, it became a form of seeking acceptance, knowing someone liked her, even though deep down, she knew they didn’t really care.
Even after she had a baby, her life revolved around getting high. The father would go out to score drugs, insistent that she stay home and care for the baby, and bring them back. The first thing she did when he got back was get high, every time. Everything else was secondary. This man, Ronnie, ended up in prison. While there, he suffered from severe withdrawals and was transferred to another facility in Buckeye, where he eventually hanged himself. Lydia was in a 12-step program at the time, battling her addiction.
Eventually, Lydia met a man who became her husband whom she is still with to this day. They have a child together who has never known what it’s like to have a father who uses. Lydia, however, after nine years clean, relapsed when she was prescribed Percocet after an injury.
Right from the start, she knew it was a bad situation and called her sponsor, who told her to stick with her program. Lydia was overcome with guilt and shame, however, going to meetings while taking narcotics, and so she pulled away, falling into old habits of use again.
The Continuing Struggle
Fortunately, Lydia became so terrified of what she was becoming again, the fears of running out of pills that paralyzed her, that she made the decision to stop. She got help, got clean, and keeps to her program with the support of others in recovery, vowing she would never use narcotics again, even if prescribed by a doctor.
Lydia had been to a rehab facility more than once, as many addicts often do. Going to meeting often sparked a realization in her during relapse that she needed help and would then reach out to get that help.
It took a few times. A lot of people don’t get it the first time, it’s not that easy. The disease had a hold of me and it’s really strong.
The first time she got out of treatment, she made it to 50-60 days clean. Her second time around, she made it to 13 months and eight days, just over a year. Her excitement at making it past a year led to overconfidence and complacency. She thought she had a handle on it, so she decided to go get high and then come right back.
She went out that night, scored a lot of dope, and did it all in an hour. As soon as she got home, she was beside herself, confused at what she’d done, and the very next morning she went back to rehab. She went to a meeting, grabbed a white key tag, and asked for help.
When I relapsed after nine years clean, there was no battle. It was so easy to just fall down. It was so easy to just surrender and just take as much as I can. How I got so quickly from four pills a day to almost 20 or 30 a day, I don’t know.
When she realized the pills weren’t taking away the sickness anymore, she started contemplating doing more, finding something stronger. Fearing she might turn to heroin to get high, she turned instead to her husband and confided in him how afraid she was that she was falling. With his support, she went back to meetings, got a new sponsor, worked steps, and went to meetings every day.
At fifteen months clean, Lydia still goes to meetings every single day and if she misses a day, she’s on the phone with her sponsor. She never misses a day in her support network, working steps and talking to others in recovery.
With a whole new outlook on life, Lydia wakes up every day with a feeling of joy and excitement. Where she used to contemplate suicide on a daily basis, she now actively tries to avoid naps because she doesn’t want to miss a moment of the day. She’s taken up hiking and pushes herself to do more, go farther, climb higher every day.
She’s changed the way she looks and the way she feels, always chasing self-improvement, doing something good for herself. Lydia works every day to make life better.
I can’t even describe how much better my life is today and it took a lot of work.