I started using drugs when I was 16, smoking weed. That turned into speed and acid. By the time I was 21, my life was a constant revolving door of going in and out of jail. My son was a baby at the time, and I’d abandoned him with my mom. My family had missing persons’ reports out for me. When you’re just thinking about getting high, nobody’s important. I mean nobody. It’s just all about you and doing what you do best. I honestly thought my occupation was robbing people. I was living in motels, using and selling speed; I was taking people’s cars and selling them. It was just horrible. I almost died twice. I had shotguns pointed at my back when the police raided my motel room. Yeah, it was bad. It was really bad.
My breaking point was when I was facing 16 months in prison. I didn’t want to get clean. I actually wanted to go to prison because I didn’t want to stop using. I had been through so many programs, and nothing had stuck. But I think God opened the door for me to go to Phoenix House of Santa Fe Springs. I was given the opportunity to start treatment there and I told the judge, “Yes.”
Phoenix House was a job in itself. We had all kinds of classes like you’re in school. And it was really hard because I started realizing that my childhood had a lot to do with my drug abuse. I grew up without a dad, so I never had that father figure to set an example for me. My stepdad molested me and I never told my mom till after I got clean. Drugs made me forget all that. When I was using, it wasn’t even a thought in my brain. It’s only when you start doing work on yourself that all those secrets start coming out. It was a really hard process, and I tried leaving a couple times. Luckily, I only got to the curb before turning around.
Eventually, things started sinking in. I did what I had to do. That’s what got me to know Jennifer. I met a lot of new people who really had my back and were serious about recovery. It was a great experience. I completed the program in six months. I knew I never wanted to go back to my old life. As of September 1, I’ve been sober for five years.
Now, I’m just so grateful for everything in my life. I married a wonderful man who I met through a friend from NA. We’ll celebrate two years together on Valentine’s Day. With my husband’s help, I got my son back. He’s fifteen and he’s doing really well.
I’ve been at my job for five years now. I’m a bakery manager and I truly love it. I’m in the union. I have a pension and my retirement. I have everything I need. It’s just a blessing. Everything that I thought I could never have in life, I have it now.
My advice for people going through treatment is to stay and stick it out. Be open-minded. Find the desire to change. And make sure you don’t leave. Don’t leave before the miracle happens.