Both of my parents used drugs. My dad, who turned out to be my stepdad (I was raised thinking he was my biological father) is wonderful but stoned all the time—he grew pot in our front yard in Dallas. My mom suffers from Disassociative Identity Disorder, so she has multiple personalities.
When I was 13, I was working as a model and started using speed so I would stay thin. I stopped sleeping, I started missing school, and I was popping pills and going running anywhere from three to five times a day—my life revolved around drugs and controlling my weight. When I was 15 I got pregnant and miscarried my child five months later. I’ll never forget being five months pregnant and weighing less than 100 pounds; I’ve never felt worse about myself.
I ended up in a psychiatric hospital, but luckily, an admissions counselor got me in to the Phoenix House Feinberg Academy of Dallas. Overall, treatment was an amazing and fulfilling experience for me. At Phoenix House, I cried for the first time in years. I found role models in staff members whom I admired and loved and respected. I had been emotionally dead for so long before Phoenix House, and I hated the person I was when I was on drugs—so I created a new me, and I honestly never struggled with the idea of doing drugs again. Now I don’t even let friends bring their pot into my house. I grew up so much while I was at Phoenix House.
After completing my treatment and living with my biological father for a few months, I ended up coming back to Texas to live with my godparents. I lived with them until I was 18 and then I got a place of my own. I graduated high school and put myself through community college by working nights at IHOP, and I’ve been working in property management ever since. I’m still in touch with my siblings and my stepfather, whom I love with all my heart. I just wish he could get sober. My mother still won’t get help. I mean, I understand why—I didn’t like who I was before treatment but I wouldn’t have done anything about it if I wasn’t forced to. I didn’t realize I had a problem, and my mother doesn’t either. I wish she would.
Today, I have eight years clean—I haven’t even popped a diet pill! And I’m happy. I have a beautiful apartment in Los Angeles, a beautiful relationship, I’m enjoying the beautiful L.A. weather, and interviewing for a great new job. I’m living with my girlfriend, who I met back in Dallas; she really swept me off my feet. If my fifteen-year-old self could see me now, she’d never believe it. My life today feels like a fairy tale—it sounds lame to say that, but its true.