When Nicole was young she lived a very active life she was on the captain on her soccer team, and on the honor roll. Still she always felt like something was missing, she had this strong curiosity pulling her to look for something.
Even before she started using she had people approaching her to find drugs for them.
“I was asked ‘hey can you get any OCs?’ I was like a really innocent soccer player. I was like what is OCs? And why are people asking me? Then about two weeks later it became like ‘Hey you’re in highschool, I’m not, can you get me some weed?’”
She started smoking marijuana and that became her favorite, even down to the strand that she first tried.
“I started off not too good, smoking the favorite. Then it just led me, like what else can be a favorite?”
Smoking became a staple in Nicole’s everyday life.
“It was my first love, besides soccer … [It was like] there’s something I can do every day and it makes me go to work and it makes people love me, I can spend my money on something.”
Nicole was one of the few 17-year-old servers, she was making around $100 a day in tips.
“My mom would always find little lighters and that’s how the secret came out. She would find the lighters in my pants because she would do my laundry … I would tell her ‘oh it’s for lighting the birthday cake at work.’”
She describes this as the start of her manipulative behavior.
“The excess of the amount I had gotten to was about 27 blunts a day, before the chaos of the harder stuff.”
While working as a server Nicole got a severe breast infection and was hospitalized.
“They wanted to give me Percocet, once again I had no idea what Percocet was. When I had torn my MCL my mom had given me one Vicodin and I never saw the bottle and I never cared. Getting Percocet was not enough.”
Nicole threatened to rip out her IV, all she wanted to do was go home and smoke her Marijuana. She began to threaten to kill the doctors, and because of this episode, she was sent to get a physiological evaluation.
The first session was fairly normal, then she was prescribed Xanax and the doctor began to tell her that she was schizophrenic, depressed and had many other mental disorders. With these diagnoses she was prescribed a lot of different medications.
“Well I started to believe it, and I started to think that all I needed was meds … then it became, my friends like my meds, I like my meds, I can make money off my meds.”
While the intent of the physiological evaluation started off with good intentions, it quickly transformed.
“The whole let’s go in and get you better became, I want this. They would literally say ‘What do you want Nicole?’ ‘What do you need today?’ ‘What milligrams?’ ‘How many do you need to take in a day?’ and it became really manipulative.
Within a year she was selling seven of her narcotic and abusing them.
“I was up to about 30 or 40 narcotics a day and that was without the partying function of it.”
On top of the narcotics, Nicole’s drink started to become more extreme as well.
“It started at 17, homeboy go get me a couple Sparks and some Four Locos. Then it became finishing handles of Captain Morgan with just the boyfriend. I always had to have that boyfriend.”
She was using a lot of narcotics, smoking a lot of marijuana and selling a lot in the process.
“I’ve learned now that not the amount, it’s wat it did to the soul.”
Her mom found out that she was using and cut her off, which them pushed Nicole further into selling drugs to support her lifestyle.
“That’s really when the Ecstasy phase it, that was a big rock bottom for me when it came to pills.”
Nicole would get so high that she would have to turn on the water in her bathroom, and watch the screen saver on her laptop to get out of what she calls a “Ecstasy, blunt coma”
The day after Halloween she got her first DUI, since she had prescriptions for the narcotics, she was only charged for the Marijuana.
“When I parked in my works parking lot five [cop] cars came out. During that I was in denial ‘You guys are wrong’ … I was so out of it, [even when I was] fighting in court for that, I had my flip flop on the podium. I didn’t even know this until years later.”
Nicole ended up having to serve one day in jail.
“All my step-dad wanted was to be able to take his daughter in to jail, because she wouldn’t go in. For Father’s Day, that’s all he wanted.”
That was a big eye opener for her.
Nicole started going to her DUI classes.
“Recovery is very very hard.”
Like a lot of people, Nicole wasn’t really ready for sobriety when she first started going to her DUI classes and her meetings.
“I’d be on shroom powder at DUI classes, I was not at all serious.”
Nicole ended up pregnant while she was using alcohol and Heroin.
“He was my biggest prize but I had to learn that I am. When I first went to rehab I was like ‘I’m getting clean for my son, don’t you see?’ and that’s not reality.”
Her baby was born healthy, Nicole was clean for around 5 and a half months.
While she was staying at a friend’s house she went searching for Marijuana, what she ended up finding probably saved her life.
She had given up her search and was sitting on a curb in front of a hot dog shop when “I hear people talking about how they got 4 or 5 months sober … I see people laughing and giggling. I go in and I’m like ‘What? What is this?’ … I waited for a table to clear up and I sat by myself and got swarmed with people.”
What Nicole didn’t know, but quickly found out, was that this group of people were from a recovery organization named Full Circle.
“I don’t quite remember my first few days but I do remember when I got picked up. The gentleman in the front of the car … got in the back and puts the newcomer in the front. ‘You deserve this’ [he said] I’, like what?”
That was just the start.
“Full circle strives for getting connected one on one and loving the soul … How I got sober in the beginning was my first week getting everyone’s number. What worked for me is, if I wanted to hit up someone weird, a dude, a dealer, go do something crazy, [I’d] say hey what’s up to my [Full Circle] friends.”
Nicole showed up every single day to stay sober, even when she was living far from Full Circle and had to take public transit.
“It’s not such a Godly program, but if you find God you’re in the right place. We are our brother’s keeper, that’s a saying we use. I was meant to live for somebody else, so they can live for someone else.”
Today she helps others by giving back.
“I got in and I got loved on … Today when I’m at that hot dog joint, because we go to once a week, I find the person who is the sickest, who can afford a burger but wants one, ‘hey let me get you a burger, let’s sit down.’’’
Nicole is now 8 months sober.
“It’s about rocking it, we were crazy people out there so we can be just as crazy and have fun sober. I know I am.”