My Very First Blog…

My Very First Blog…. I have always been one who has dabbled in writing. It is sometimes helps me put things into perspective.  I feel I can sometimes communicate better through writing rather than speaking, especially on topics that I am passionate about, that are controversial, or that I find interesting.

So, first a little about me and why I am doing this. I am a divorced Christian mom of two boys, “Tiny Rick” who is 19, and “Matrix” who is 13.  *** My children’s names have been changed for protection.*** B is a Combat Medic with the U.S. Army, is newly married to a wonderful woman, “My Only Daughter”, and they currently live in Kansas. “Matrix” lives with me. He was diagnosed with DiGeorge Syndrome, many names for this, another common name is Velo-Cardio-Facial Syndrome (VCFS), at the age of 3 1/2, is hearing impaired, and has some challenges but always smiles. Yep, you will see quite a few post about my children as well as the struggles of being an Army Mom, a mom of a special needs child, and many more topics.  As for myself, I worked for the State of Kentucky for 13 years, and left to be a stay at home mom several years ago.  I have been divorced for a little over 18 months, which has definitely been a struggle trying to figure it all out on my own. I am a recovering addict. I had been clean for over 2 years, only to relapse, and I now have been clean for over a year. Staying clean from any and all mind altering substances is a battle I fight every single day. The biggest mistake I made was thinking I would not relapse and that I had it under control, so now relapse, unfortunately, AND fortunately, is part of my story. I say fortunately because, it made me realize I am NOT exempt, I don’t “have it”, I will have to fight this every single day of my life.  I will probably devote more than one entry about the struggle with addiction, the effects it has on family, children, friends, and myself in the future.  I have been fighting an Auto-Immune Disease since February 2016. I was initially diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis, however over the last few months, my symptoms have changed, are still changing, and my physician is just as stumped as I am. I am currently going through more testing to try to pinpoint an exact diagnosis and hopefully that will get my treatment on the right path. “Matrix” and I are both involved in the Bowling Green Special Olympics. He has been competing for 3 years in the track and field competitions. I have been a parent/coach volunteer for the past 3 years, and I love it. It is the most amazing experience for he and I both.  I have 2 dogs that I absolutely adore. I got Atlas when I first moved into my apartment. He turned 2 in July, but is still a big baby.  He is a 50lb pit/lab/beagle mix, and he is smart, sweet, protective, but at the same time scared of his own shadow. Then in February of this year, “Matrix” and I fell in love with Charlie and had to bring him home. Charlie is a little 22lb Jack Russell/Rat Terrier mix. He is full of life. He is a definite cuddler and likes to be held to where he can look over your shoulder. He and Atlas finally after about 3 months became friends and now they are inseparable. They are too funny to watch, and yes, there will be several post about the “Story of Atlas and Charlie”.

Why have I started a blog? Well I have noticed more and more that I actually have a lot to say about certain topics, and the only outlet to express my thoughts, feelings, opinions is on Facebook, which I have to say is not the greatest outlet I feel for expressing my thoughts and feelings at length anyway. I am sure when people see one of my huge post they scroll right on past. So, I thought, why not start a blog. This way I have an outlet for me, and I feel it is very therapeutic at times to write out your thoughts and feelings. I have no doubt that there will be post that people will disagree with; everyone has their own opinions and we are all entitled to our own. I have no doubt there will be grammatical errors; I will try to keep those to a minimum, because it does irritate me when I see those type of things in others posts, however I am not a professional writer, never played one on TV, and don’t claim to be, so I am sure there will be changes of tenses, incorrect punctuation, etc, so please be patient. And lastly, I am doing this because I have been through many things in my life, from absolutely wonderful to scary to sad to horrible things, but I am STILL here. I have survived. And if anything I have been through or have survived can help or touch one person then it is worth it.

So with that I am ending my first post… Have a wonderful day…. 🙂

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#MeToo

Normally, my process before I blog is I write my thoughts, everything down in my journal. Once I have the basic ideas down, then I fire up my laptop and get at it. I may or may not write word for word what is in my journal. Well, not today. Today, this one is just straight typing, straight from my head to the keyboard. I know… scares me too. HaHa!

Recently on the news they have been talking about a campaign that started on social media due to the sexual assault and sexual harassment allegations against the producer, Harvey Weinstein. The #MeToo Campaign is to bring awareness to sexual assualt, sexual harrassment, sexual misconduct, and rape. It isn’t just for females. People from all sexual orientations have reported being the victim of a sexual assualt, sexual harassment, sexual misconduct, or rape. It isn’t a female problem. It is a human problem. The campaign is giving victims a voice. It is letting communities, families, our country know just exactly how prevalent sexual assaults are.  The statistics are absolutely horrifying. They are so troubling and so…I can’t come up with an adjective strong enough to convey how sad and so disheartening they are.

#MeToo

Unfortunately I wear the label that everyone is so boldly posting on their social media accounts.  I chose not to post that on my social media account for various reasons, and I think that is a decision that each person has to make on their own.  Not only are people, who have been victims, posting the “#MeToo” but some are posting the stories of the their assaults, some are posting their perpetrator’s name, and that is their right to do so. I just, well, that is not the route I choose to go. I am not ashamed of what happened. I know that what happened was NOT my fault. I know all of that. And I have shared my story with others in hopes that it would help someone or show that person sitting there in silence, dealing with the shame you initially feel when you have been assaulted that they will be ok. They are not alone.

#MeToo

When I first started writing this, I actually looked up statistics about Sexual Assault and Rape. Not just to have facts about the subject but also I was curious.  I found all of the following statistics and information cited below on http://www.rainn.org.  Rainn is short for Rape, Assault, & Incest National Network. Folks, these statistics make me sick, literally physically ill. I am going to share some of these with you and to say that I am shocked at the numbers is a HUGE understatement!  These statistics are for people living in the United States.  Every 98 seconds someone is sexually assaulted, every 98 seconds! That means that by the time you finish reading this, say it takes you about 5 minutes, in that 5 minutes, in those 300 seconds, 3 people living in The United States will have been sexually assaulted. Think about that for a minute. In the time it takes you to read this 3 people will be sexually assaulted. Kinda crazy when you think of it like that huh? In one years time 321,500 people age 12 and older will have been sexually assaulted. 9 out of 10 women and 1 out of 10 men are victims of rape. Out of the locations of where most sexual assaults and rapes occur at or near the victims home has the highest percentage of 55%. 48% of people were sleeping or performing another activity at their home when the assault occurred. Of the sexual assaults or rapes that occur 28% are by strangers and 45% are by acquaintances. 54% assaulted are between the ages of 18-34, and 50% of the perpetrators are 30 years old or older. 57% of perpetrators are white, 27% black. As far as long-term effects on the victim 94% have PTSD 2 weeks after, and 30% have PTSD 9 months later. 33% contemplate suicide and 13% actual go a step farther and attempt suicide. Sexual assault victims are more likely to use drugs than the general public. The last statistic I am going to give you is, well, just see for yourself…out of every 1000 instances of rape, only 13 cases get referred to the prosecutor and out of those 13, only 7 of those cases will lead to a felony conviction. 7 out of 1000 cases, and some people question why victims don’t come forward more often.

#MeToo

My story is like a lot of stories. I was young. I didn’t tell anyone for multiple reasons. I was ashamed. I felt like it was my fault. I put myself in the situation. Nobody would believe me. I would be embarrassed. What would my parents think? What would my friends think? How could I ever show my face again if I said anything? So I didn’t. I didn’t tell one single person until I was in college. I am not sure why I chose to talk about it when I did, but regardless, I did. I told my parents about what happened. I remember being so scared they were going to be angry with me, that they would think I was a horrible person who asked for it, because that is what I thought. And of course, they didn’t, they didn’t think that at all. That was such a weight lifted off my shoulders. I had carried that around with me for so long that it was affecting other relationships I had. I had flashbacks of what happened. I replayed what happened, over and over and over in my head. It was like it was on repeat or something. It was absolutely awful. I never fully dealt with the trauma from that until much later in my life, and until I dealt with it, it plagued every relationship I had. It invaded all my thoughts. It took a hold of me and really messed my head up. And looking back, it is one of  several things that I attempted to numb or forget with drugs and alcohol, which in turn led to addiction.

#MeToo

Today, I have dealt with what happened to me all those years ago. There are times that I still struggle with it. There have been times that I flashback to what happened. But for the most part, I am okay with what happened. I have to be. It is over and done with. It is in the past. And yes, it is one of those things that I still struggle to “Let Go”.  Today, I realize that it was NOT my fault. There was nothing I did or did not do that caused it to happen. There is nothing for ME to be ashamed of or embarrassed of. I was the victim. I did absolutely nothing wrong. Today I no longer look at myself as a meek, scared victim. Today… I am a survivor. Today… I AM A WARRIOR!!!!! Until next time….

#METOO

Letting Go….

I am not exactly sure where I am going with this. All I know is when I get upset, something is on my mind, or I am struggling with something the best way for me to express myself, feel better, or rid myself of my thoughts is to write. Get it out of my head, on paper, and then let it go.

Letting stuff go…do we really EVER let things that bother us go? I mean, really and truly let it go? I would like to think that I can eventually let things go that have hurt me or bothered me. And I will probably tell you I have washed my hands of it, that it is over, that I am over it and have let it go, BUT…it is actually still there. It is in the back of my mind, tapping my brain, “Be careful, you remember what happened…”. So then there is the question, is my problem letting go or is it that I don’t trust or have faith in myself and in most people, especially those who have hurt me?

I know the past is gone, I know that I can’t undo the wrongs, the hurt. I can’t change any part about it at all. I have always been quick to say the past is gone, can’t be changed. Yes! The past is gone. No! It cannot be changed. However if it could be changed, I don’t know if I would want to. Our past…all the rights, all the wrongs, all the good deeds, all the bad hurts, every single thing we have through makes us who we are. Yes, I wish I could take back the hurt I caused. Absolutely, do I wish I could erase all the pain and heart-break I have caused, all the pain and heartbreak I have endured. But I can’t. It is done. I can’t change any of it.

I read some things in a book, and it is pretty spot on with the “letting go” thing, and there are several spots in it I want to quote. The book is titled, A DAYBOOK OF POSITIVE THINKING: DAILY AFFIRMATIONS OF GRATITUDE AND HAPPINESS. The first two are actually under the title “Let Go Of The Past”.  Humph?! Well that couldn’t be more in my face, so I read it… “Don’t let old mistakes or misfortunes hold you down: learn from them, forgive yourself–or others–and move on. Do not be bothered or discouraged by adversity. Instead, meet it as a challenge. Be empowered by the courage it takes you to overcome obstacles. Learn something new everyday.” –Ashley Rice. The other one says, “No amount of straining, crying, or agonizing can remake one single day of the year that is past. But a little careful planning and thoughtful working out can make many glorious days in the future.”–Author Unknown.

I don’t believe I can escape my past, and I also don’t believe my past defines me. It is how I rise up and grow from my past and past mistakes that defines me.  It is how I live in today. However, it is hard to rise up from my past when there are others who want to see me fail, hurt, and are continuously there to throw it in my face. At the same time, it is also hard to rise up from my past when I am constantly are bringing it to the forefront of my mind. I mean, I can do as much as, if not more, damage to myself than anyone else by dredging up stuff from my past that I have done that I have yet to forgive myself.  But of course, that is a whole other issue and a blog for another day.

So here is the other excerpt from the above book that I have read and found significant in the topic of “letting go”. This particular one is titled, “Sometimes We Need to Forgive and Start Over”. This one is sort of long, so bear with me…. It reads, “Forgiveness is letting go of the pain and accepting what has happened because it will not change. Forgiveness is dismissing the blame. Choices were made that caused the hurt; we each could have chosen differently, but we didn’t. Forgiveness is looking at the pain, learning the lessons it has produced, and understanding what we have learned. Forgiveness allows us to move on toward a better understanding of universal love and our true purpose. Forgiveness is knowing that love is the answer to all questions and that we all are in some way connected. Forgiveness is starting over with knowledge that we have gained. It is saying: ‘I forgive you, and I forgive myself. I hope you can do the same.'”–Judith Mammay

So okay, let me hit highlights here…letting go, no trust, no faith, the past, and now forgiveness. Humph?!  So how do I go about forgiving myself for all the shitty things I have done? How do I go about letting go and forgiving not just myself but the people who have hurt me? I mean truly forgive? I want to move past it, all of it, every single thing. I want to forgive, live my life, live in the day, live for tomorrow.

Let’s throw in another word… acceptance. Yep, I know, such a fun word! Acceptance. So in order to “Let Go” of the things I hold against myself then I need to do the following: I need to accept my past. I already know the past is done, can’t do anything about it now. I need to learn to trust and have faith in myself to make the right choices from this point forward. I can’t trust or have faith in anyone else until I learn trust and have faith in myself. Then I need to forgive myself. Once I have forgiven myself, really and truly forgiven myself, then I will be able to start this process for others. I can learn to accept the things they have done to me, the hurt, pain; I can learn to start to trust and have faith in these people that they won’t hurt me again; I can learn to forgive the hurt caused by others; I can learn to Let Go.

Letting Go, Trusting, Having Faith, Forgiving, Acceptance…these words all go together, and are some of the hardest things to do. One step at a time I guess, one step at a time.  I hope you were able to gain something from this. I know writing it all out has helped me quite a bit.

Sooooooo…..Until next time….

 

October 5, 2013

I was on Facebook when I got up this morning, and the “memory” section popped up. October 5, 2013 was my first clean date. I made it 2 years and a few months before I relapsed. Today, however, I am in a way, thankful for my relapse.

I started out like everyone else, partying here and there, nothing crazy. I didn’t set out to be a drug addict, not at all. I had hopes and dreams and thoughts of where I wanted my life to go. I had a normal childhood. That is what addiction does it sneaks up on you and before you know it, BAM it has you.

I was a functional addict. I held down a full-time professional job. I was a wife, mother, co-owner of a lawn care business. I had a house. I had cars. I had 2 kids. I had a cat. I had friends. I went to school functions. I worked over time at work. I did it all. I had it all. But I was also high almost every single day from 1994 until 2013, minus the times I was pregnant.

I am an upper addict. I liked anything that gave me energy, made me go go go. I thought nobody knew but apparently everyone knew, but nobody would say anything. And even if they did say something, I would deny it, fly off the handle, flip the situation, or act like a total bitch. By 2013 my habit was so bad that I worked only to give all my check to my pill hook up, and still need more. It got so bad that I would take my kids things, pawn them, take money from my husbands bank account without telling him. It was a miserable life.

We ended up losing our home because we got behind on payments in 2013. When we moved I realized my addiction was out of control, and I needed to stop, but I did not know how. I ended up needing surgery, and the plan was formed. After surgery, I would stop using and everyone would just think that I was cranky and sick because of the medicine from post surgery. Yeah… it did not work out that way…. it opened the door for me to take more and more and more and get more out of control and sick than ever.

On October 4, 2013 I sat on the floor in my bathroom, crying. I was tired. I was exhausted of playing the game. I was exhausted from the lying and the thinking about nothing other than getting more pills so I wouldn’t be sick. I was sick and tired of being sick and tired. I took the remainder of the pain pills I had, and I took the rest of the sleeping pills I had and hoped I wouldn’t wake up the next day. It is extremely hard to say that because I have so much in my life to be grateful for, but that day, that moment, I thought that my children, my husband, my family would be better off without me. I thought that they would be better off without me causing them pain, causing them anguish, embarrassment. Fortunately, I did wake up. I was out of money. I was out of pills. So I started drying out.

2013 was a hard year. We lost our home. Our children were beyond upset. I had major surgery. I ended up taking an early retirement because I couldn’t stay clean and work. I was arrested for not showing up in court for cold check charges I had written the year before to support my habit, that my husband did not know about. My family, friends, children all found out how bad my addiction was. It was absolutely hell.

I went to Narcotics Anonymous and I stayed clean, got my shit together. I was finally a good mom, good wife, good daughter. I started earning back the trust and respect I had lost with my children, my husband, and my family. I thank God that my family, friends, did not give up on me. I worked hard to regain everyone’s trust and repair the damage I had done. It is something that I still work on every single day, and something that I will have to work on for the rest of my life. I can’t undo the past or the things I have done or said, and some days that is very frustrating to me because I hate what I did. I hate the depths my addiction took me to. I can’t change any of it, I know that. All I can do is put my best foot forward every day and take things one second, one minute, one hour, one moment, one day at a time.

October 5, 2013 was my clean date. I stayed clean and true to my recovery until December 2015….but that is a story for another day…..

My Happy Place…

There are a lot of places that I can meditate and reflect on my life, or just life in general. But I have found that out of all my “Happy Places” I have one that is my “TRUE” Happy Place. The one place I can reflect, meditate, pray, think, replenish myself. I can replenish my heart, soul, body, and mind.

I am fortunate to have parents who for the last 8-9 years have taken me and my boys to Panama City Beach on fall break. My brother and his family come down and join us, and for about a week our family is all together. We stay on the less busy end of PCB, more family oriented. It is beautiful weather, not scorching hot and not too cool.

The first few years we came, unfortunately, I was deep into active addiction so my trips, while were still fun and amazing, are kind of a blur in the memory department. The last few years I have come I have been clean though and I have had a blast. However, this year I must say has been the most relaxing, most enjoyable, most refreshing of a trip I say I have had.

There is something about sitting on the balcony, looking out over the vastness of the water, and getting lost in thought. Yesterday when I went down to the beach I decided to walk. I actually took multiple walks and each time found or witnessed something more amazing than the last. So I took off walking down the beach, and it was absolutely amazing. The sun was beating down, I was walking where the water barely touched my feet as the waves came in. I just walked. There were so many things to take in on my walk– the waves coming in, the children playing in the water or on the sand. I got lost in thought. It is my time to think about where my life is, where i want it to be, and what I need to do to get to where I want to be. As I walked I took note of all of the things around me. The waves and water were rough. During the night the high tide had created a wall of sand in some places taller than me. Shells and sand dollars sticking out of the wall, some broken, some perfectly intact. Crabs scurrying back into the water before someone could scoop them up. All of these things are beautiful, each one amazing but together magnificent.

Usually I have my phone attached to my hand like an extra appendage. Not this year. I made a decision to leave it either in the room or in my bag. No distractions, just me and the ocean, and my higher power, which I call God. I decided this year I was going to take in as much beauty, peace as I could, and it has been wonderful. Within hours of being here I witnessed a beach wedding at sunset. Since then I have also witnessed so many more beautiful life moments. Yesterday during one of my walks I saw a memorial for 4 members of a group who passed away last year. The members of their family all met on the edge of the water, prayed, and placed flowers in the ocean for their loved ones. Both the wedding and the memorial entranced the rest of the beach. While the wedding procession was coming in, the beach stopped, the balconies were full with people not part of the wedding, regular guest, everyone watched this beautiful event of two people who love each other start their life together. The memorial was the same. The beach stopped. Everyone that was around stopped moving, talking, the kids got quiet, and we all bowed our heads with respect and stood silently as the flowers were placed one by one in the ocean signifying the end of life.

There are so many more amazing things I was able to witness, take in, take a picture in my head. I found a sea turtle nest, perfectly undisturbed, roped off from the public. Several yards down I found another nest, this time it was one that had already spat out the small little turtles and was nothing but a huge hole in the sand. Looking at it I was in awe of what lengths these momma sea turtles go thru to protect their little babies until they are born. And also how much these little ones have to fight to get thru the massive amount of sand protecting them. I saw a jelly fish that was as big as a dinner plate with pink around the outside edges, dolphins jumping out of the water, the most beautiful sunsets. I have taken it all in. I have taken many mental snap shots and put in my head for a day that I am down or am having a “moment”. I can come back to my “Happy Place” and remember all the things I have to be grateful and thankful for.

This year I am taking my Happy Place home with me….

Categories, labels, tags…

When I first started my blog, I was doing it more for therapeutic purposes than anything. I thought, well we will see how this goes, it will probably be just me rambling on about stuff. Well, honestly it is still therapeutic but I don’t know how to describe it except, maybe something I say will affect someone or cause and effect on someone’s life and help them. Maybe something I have been through or something I say, someone may be going through something similar. I however was having one small issue, I had no clue what to write about. I started jotting down ideas. My thought was ok, what type of people do I relate to? Who am I? I started writing down names, labels, categories, and the list just kept getting bigger and bigger. When I got done I thought, “Woah, look at all those categories!”.

Have you ever taken a minute and thought about your labels? If you were to describe yourself, what would you say? For example… I am a single mom. I am an Army Mom. I am a Christian. I am an Addict. I am a daughter. I am a special needs mom… you get the picture. Go ahead… take a minute…write them down…nobody going to see it but you. WHO ARE YOU?

Okay so now that you have your list, did anyone write down a person? I started listing my “labels” or “categories”. I started thinking when I was filling out paper work for my son’s school, you know all those papers you have to fill out and return the first week of school, and also when I was filling out paper work at a doctor’s office. You have to check female or male, hispanic or not hispanic, race, age range, and all kinds of other boxes to check or fill in with black or blue ink. I am in a lot of categories. I mean, ALOT! So many that is almost weird. Besides the obvious of female, mom, daughter, sister, friend, I also fall into at least 40 other categories. That doesn’t count all the ones I can’t think of or don’t even realize.

Lately, there is so much controversy, in the world and our country, everyone is so focused on our differences that the common denominator, the one thing that every one of us have in common is evading us. We are all human beings. It doesn’t matter what category we fall in, how many we fall in. What matters is that we are ALL the same; WE ARE ALL HUMAN. We all breathe the same air. We all get out of bed the same way. We all put our pants on one foot at a time. We ALL have feelings and opinions, and NOBODY is any better than anyone else. As a person of this world, as a parent, it has become increasingly difficult to try to explain, much less understand myself, all the atrocities that are currently happening between neighbors, families, communities.

So today, instead of checking or coloring in any little boxes that says I am a divorced, white, 40-45 year old, American, christian, single mom, Army mom, special needs mom, addict, low-income bracket… Today I am just going to check the box that says I am a Person, a human being.

What are you going to check?

 

 

 

 

My Thoughts on the Current State of The World…

I am not a person who likes controversy. I tend to keep my opinion to myself so not to piss people off. (Yes, I am a people-pleaser.). However lately, it is getting more and more difficult to do. Over the last few months when I sign on to my social media accounts or to CNN or local news channel, it is blasted with fighting, ugliness, hatred. Everywhere I turn there is some group that hates another group or there is someone who has been offended by something that someone has said or there is someone who shoots their mouth off and says horrible things offending hundreds of people.

It is disheartening that this is where our country, our world has turned. And the worst part is the reason for all the hatred, fighting is because we are all different. We are different skin colors, different religions, different political parties, different income brackets–we are ALL different. The thing is this isn’t new. We have all always been different, so why over the last few years has it become an issue? Why is it that this country is no longer sticking together?

I have seen the Black Lives Matter. I have seen All Lives Matter. I have seen the Thin Blue Line. I have seen the White People for Black Lives Matter. I mean really? Yes, black lives DO matter. Yes, ALL lives matter. Yes, Police Officers matter. Yes, white people for black lives matter. WE ALL MATTER!!!!!! We are all human beings. We all bleed the same way. We are all living, breathing, bleeding human beings.

I think it is horrible the way people are treated in this country. If you don’t have money, if you are a different skin color, if you have an addiction or mental illness, if you are of a certain religion then you are looked down on. What I think some people fail to realize is every single person in this world is one bad decision, wrong choice, one paycheck away from being the people they are looking down on. Is this what we want to pass on to our future generations?

These are definitely not the lessons I want my children and grandchildren to know. I want them to know humility. I want them to know compassion. I want them to know understanding. I want them to know empathy. I want them to know LOVE. It is time to focus on the fact we all bleed the same color. Together we can accomplish anything. Together we can get this country back on track to be a wonderful place to live.

Together we can….

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m an Addict, my name is…

Hi! My name is Angel, and …

The first time I set foot into a Narcotics Anonymous (NA) meeting I was absolutely mortified. I mean, have you ever been to one? For real, here are these people who I do not know, hugging me, talking to me, happy? What the heck? I thought I don’t know you. Why are you so freaking happy? How are you so happy? I am miserable right now. This is the last place I want to be. There were also a zillion other thoughts and emotions running through me. The meeting was starting and I sat down in the cold metal chair, in a circle of people I did not know. The person chairing the meeting asked for visitors or new-comers to introduce themselves. I sat stone faced as people went around the room saying, “Hi, I’m (insert name here) and I’m an Addict.”. It came around to me, and I sat there staring at the floor. The meeting proceeded, and for the next hour I stared at the floor. I counted the cracks in the tile. I counted the concrete blocks up and down the wall. I very carefully scanned the circle of people, studying their faces, their reactions to what was being said. And then just like that the meeting was over. We all gathered for a group recite of the Serenity Prayer and dismissed. Thank goodness that was over. Well, no it wasn’t. That was only the beginning.

Hi, My name is Angel, and …

You know “most” people think of a drug addict as someone who is dirty, homeless, uneducated, the stereotypes are endless. Well I am here to tell you, “most” people are wrong. The stereotypes most people in society label someone with an addiction is, well, wrong. Addiction is non-discriminatory. It does not care what your skin color is, how much money you have in your bank account, if you have a bank account, where you live, who you worship. It doesn’t care if you are a mom or a dad; it doesn’t care how old you are, it doesn’t care about anything other than sinking its teeth in you and taking your life.

Hi, My name is Angel, and I …

I am from a middle-class family. I grew up with both of my parents in the home. I lived in a small town, you know the one with no stop lights, everyone knows everyone. I grew up in the church. We went to church on Sundays, ate Sunday lunch at my grandparents house, went to youth group at church on Sunday nights. My dad was a social worker, my mom worked different part-time jobs. I had a strong relationship with my grandparents, and even with my great grandparents. I had a younger brother. I went to high school. I was in band. I had friends. I had a boyfriend. I had a job from the time I was old enough to work and worked after school and on the weekends. I didn’t have a car. I had a curfew. I didn’t drink. Ok, well, I did I think maybe three times in high school, and it was absolutely awful every time. I didn’t even know what drugs were. While I was in high school, my dad went back to college, and he also followed a calling into the ministry. He ended up graduating from college the end of my first semester at the same college, retired and became a Methodist minister. My parents divorced. They both remarried.   I am from a “normal family”. We had “normal” family problems. But we were what society deems “normal”.

Hi, My name is Angel, and I ….

After I moved out on my own, I met a guy, fell in love, we moved in together, put the cart before the horse, had a baby boy. Our first-born was not just our first child, he was also the first grandchild on both sides of the family, as well as also the first great-grandchild. After we had our baby, we got married. I started working for the State, following in my father’s footsteps, and my husband and I started a lawn care business. We bought a house, new cars, made a decision to have another baby. We had friends. We went places. We did “normal” family stuff. We were a “normal family”.

Hi. I’m Angel. I’m …

Normal… have you ever really looked at that definition? Normal as defined by the Merriam-Webster (online) dictionary is “not deviating from a norm rule, or principle. conforming to a type, standard or regular pattern, occurring naturally, free from mental illness” these are a few of the definitions of the word. I think the word normal is overused. I think people like to use the word way too much. Also, have you ever looked up the word Addict? Once again the great Merriam-Webster says an addict is “to devote or surrender to something habitually or obsessively” and addiction is “compulsive need for and use of a habit-forming substance characterized by tolerance and by well-defined physiological symptoms upon withdrawal”.

Hi There! I am Angel. I am, uh….

So a really quick recap… I am from a “normal” family. I did “normal” things. I had a “normal” life. And here is the kicker…..ready…. I am also an addict! I am a drug addict! Me, from the “normal childhood”, “normal family”. Me, the wife, professional, mom. I AM AN ADDICT.  My drug of choice was opioids. You know… pain pills. You know that you get from a physician. You know that you take a legal prescription to the pharmacy and get filled because you have pain somewhere. You know the thing I can never ever have again unless I am dying because one pill can cause a relapse that can end my life.  You know the thing that is killing people all across the world.  Yeah, that is me. I am an addict. It took a long time for me to be able to say that out loud. Because it is one thing to know it, but it is another thing to admit it out loud to someone else. I can’t tell you why. I don’t know at what point my using went from just “partying” to using to survive another day. I didn’t grow up thinking, “oh I want to be a junkie drug addict when I grow up”, or “hey I think I will be a pill head”. I didn’t have some insurmountable trauma happen to me. I didn’t grow up on the streets. I didn’t do it to piss off my parents. It wasn’t some type of rebellion kind of thing. It wasn’t a mid-life crisis. I am just a regular person, who had a regular child hood, regular life.  All I know is I went from being me, the professional, mom, wife, business co-owner, daughter, sister, friend to someone who the only mission of the day when I opened my eyes to when I closed them at night was making sure I had enough pills to make it thru the day to not be sick, making sure I had enough money to get pills to make it thru the day to not be sick, and then making sure I had all my stories straight that I had told my husband, my work, my parents, my friends. I became a liar, a thief, a manipulator, a con, a pillhead, undependable, untrustworthy, unlikeable, irresponsible, I was a drug addict.  That was my life, day after day, for so many years I can’t begin to tell you, and it became exhausting. In the end, that life, my life, my addiction, ended up costing me almost everything, everything I stood for, everything I was, everything I had worked so hard for, and it almost cost me my life.

Hi! My name is Angel. I am…

Today, I am clean. I relapsed however realized very quickly that was not what I wanted my life to be, and got clean and have stayed clean. I am a single mom to my younger son. I am a stay at home mom. I have a good relationship with older son who is now married and serving in the military. I am a Special Olympics Coach/Volunteer for the Track and Field Team that my son participates in. I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis in March 2016. I have slowly gained the trust back of my family and have a great relationship with my parents. My ex-husband and I have a good working relationship. He has supported me staying clean and helps when my RA decides to put me down. We both agreed that our children were the most important thing to us, and us working together for them was the best way to help them.  I have an awesome best friend. A best friend that I met thru NA. She is one of the few people who stayed by me, helped me, supported me. Today I am clean. I don’t wake up so sick I can barely get out of bed. I don’t have so many stories that I can’t keep them straight. My bills are paid. I have food in the fridge and money in my pocket. I am not constantly looking over my shoulder wondering if the police are going to knock on my door.  I don’t look in the mirror and hate what I see looking back. Today I am clean.

I’m Angel, and I am an…

I am not naive to the fact that there could come a day that I could slip, that I forget what it was like to live that life. I was naive before thinking I would never relapse. It can’t happen to me, well it did. So it is a daily fight. It is a daily test of faith, will power. Some days it is minute by minute that I don’t use, and some days it doesn’t cross my mind. However it is always there, lurking in the shadows waiting to jump. It is waiting for me to let my guard down. Not today though, not today… today, I am FREE!

HI! MY NAME IS ANGEL. I AM AN ADDICT.