My mother was a sharp lady, though, and caught on. She knew I wasn’t being honest and just wanted to help. I couldn’t lie to her any longer and did end up throwing myself into therapy- for real this time. I embraced it and tried with all my might to crawl out of that pit. I told them everything, honestly. Mentally, it was extremely challenging, to say the least. And though I felt like my body would collapse in on itself, while I dispelled the contents of my stomach from every opening, I eventually cleaned up my act.
After I graduated the program, I got a boyfriend closer to my age. We fell in love and he was so straight-laced, I stayed mostly on track just trying to keep common ground. Though, we were often drinking under-age, I was still ready to be better forever! My boyfriend and I grew a lot together and before long, we found out we were having a baby. A baby boy! A precious little life we’d created. Despite the fact that I would be turning just 17 and not 18 very soon, we were dead-set on marriage and willing to go to Kentucky to get hitched if we had to. Our parents finally relented, letting us have our way, and everything seemed simply wonderful. I threw myself into house-making and motherhood. Packing his lunches for work, learning signs and reading constantly to my baby, matching socks and planning dinners, following strict learning and bedtime routines- until the baby was 6 months old.
We’d started “partying” at the house after bedtime. One of my friends had a father who made moonshine, so we had basically endless, strong booze whenever we wanted. Someone started to come with “molly,” (ecstasy, supposedly, but now I know it was meth and the person bringing it had been duped) someone else would come with cocaine, then there was crack almost every weekend. It seemed fine to me- it was only on the weekends, after-all! I didn’t realize I was relapsing, because mostly I was doing uppers, and at first, I was getting a lot done while I was high. I felt so productive- and I was finally starting to lose some baby-weight! But my husband and I both started to break under all the pressure. Trying to raise this baby, run a household and work a well-paying job while maintaining a social life was difficult for both of us; on top of new-for-him habits, and a full-blown relapse for me. The weekends started earlier and earlier, eventually creeping back to Wednesday, Tuesday- all week long. I fell back into active addiction while my husband got more violent every day. He knew the things I’d been through- I trusted him, and he would use every aspect of these things to make his abuse hit even harder. I broke down. I was defeated, deflated. A few of my friends rallied around me and encouraged me to divorce him, so we did finally separate.
He left the baby and me in our townhome with no way to pay rent or bills. That strength and willingness to be better had left me, even my precious baby boy wasn’t enough for me to keep it together. I moved as many friends as I could into that apartment, one of them started dabbling in the selling of (and usage of) methamphetamine. My house was so clean. I had so much energy, and I was getting back down to a healthy weight-at an unhealthy rate, for too stiff a price. Business was slow at first but eventually we made decent money selling; we had consistent supply and consistent consumers. We made rent exactly one time, before my husband alerted the property that he was no longer living there, and they kicked us out. We stayed as long as possible but eventually I had to move back in with my parents. Unfortunately, I was already lost to addiction again. In selling some drugs, we’d make enough for others. I’d started regularly smoking heroin while we lived in the apartment and remembered the high from somewhere else—those pills from my “hero.” But this high was better. I was completely numb. I was surrounded by softness, and warmth.
To avoid that sickness and pain which I remembered so vividly upon its return, (and the utter mental collapse from withdrawal of my new acquaintance, meth) I’d start to drive into town from my parent’s house every day. If my baby-son was with me and not visiting his father, I would have a close friend care for him in different rooms or a running car while I made money and/or earned drugs with the one skill I knew would never let me down; Sex. I still thought I wasn’t that addicted because I wasn’t shooting up. I’d use meth or crack to amp me up for the work I was doing, to give my best performance; for better a payout of course. And I was happy to be using these men for their money and other resources. I felt that finally, I wasn’t the one being fucked- they were. It was so easy because the act of sex meant absolutely nothing to me. It was just another function of the body, like stretching, swimming, running.
Battling for custody rights was hell, and to keep from losing my son to someone I knew to be abusive, I had to go to rehab. I had to try. And I did, with all the strength I could muster- but I couldn’t quite make it. It’s not that I didn’t want to, my son was my everything. He gave me the will to keep living every day. But I was in so much pain, I was so weakened and beat down by trauma and this disease of addiction that willpower, faith and accountability alone still wasn’t enough.
Though, it was enough to plant a seed.
While my son was visiting his father for four days, I struck a deal with my business partner’s customer. This man was exclusively my partner’s customer and I was specifically instructed to never deal with him alone. I disregarded my partner’s warnings and agreed to ride to West Virginia to make some music and flip some speed (similar concept to flipping a house; buy it, increase the value- in this case by going somewhere “good stuff” isn’t as accessible- then sell it for profit.) I’d be making about $2,000.00 off of about $600.00 of product. Two days passed and I’d notice this wasn’t going as planned. Three days later, I realized I wasn’t going back home, and I was terrified. I’m not going into what happened there, I’ll just say, this man’s seven-year-old daughter recognized the look in my eyes and while this customer and his brother were busy smoking up my product, she retrieved my phone and took me to a high-point in the hills where I could call for help. My partner had already been blowing me up and somehow knew where I was. They were furious- like an older sibling or parent gets when you put yourself in danger after being warned. Because they’d dealt with this West Virginia Man alone for quite some time, they knew exactly how to get to this man. My partner was enraged, and cussed me out the entire time, but still came to my aid and by some miracle I was safe again. They were so angry, they cut me out of everything completely; and after calming down, they explained how worried they’d been. I knew it was out of love, we’d been close friends before all this and maintained a friendship through everything else. They told me I came too close this time, and my boy needed me alive. I knew they were right.
This was a second chance bestowed upon me by the heavens- and my good friend. Though it took a little while, I got clean, earned my GED and began moving forward again; for my boy.
(image via pixabay)