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Voices for Recovery

Michele (07/26/2011)

When I was a child I never felt good about myself. I had low self-esteem.  I felt alone. In the 50’s, I was raised in a middle class family with both parents. They did the best that they could for me and my brother. But I never felt sure or certain about myself. Even in school I was very withdrawn and felt like an outcast. They always teased me about my size or the clothes that I wore. I was very skinny and wore glasses. My mother made sure I was clean but I did not wear the trend.  In the 70’s my father established an African Organization and summer program with African dancing, singing, and plays. We did many performances around the Metropolitan area. At this time, I was 11 or 12 years old and the organization was a lot of fun however there were many men sleeping in my house. I was sexual molested by several of the men that were staying in my house.  But, I never told my mother what happen because I was so afraid that my parents would not believe me or I would be misunderstood so I remained silent about the incidents. I was a very quiet girl growing up. I never could express myself for fear of being labeled a whore or punished. Also, my mother supported my father with the organization but she disliked them sleeping in the house too, eventually they did leave. Unfortunately, the damage was done to me. I never spoke to anyone about the sexual molestations so it became part of me. I blamed myself for it. The self-destructive path begun, I was 16. I stood at the bus stop waiting for the bus to arrive there was a guy smoking a cigarette.  I asked the guy for a cigarette and he gave me one. Before I knew it we became friends. Every morning he met me at the bus stop before I went to High School. The cigarettes turned into marijuana, then I started dropping acid. At the age of 16, I dropped out of high school and I got pregnant then at the age of 17 I married the guy from the bus stop.  At 18, my drug addiction elevated to PCP, I begun working and I was going to night school to obtain my GED however I was so high off of PCP I never could complete. Once the high was over I was very depressed and I had to find more PCP to keep functioning. So I dropped out of night school. My marriage relationship was going down the drain too. I could not stop getting high however; I still had a job even though I was getting high on the job too. During the day I worked and at night I continued my drug use. So, whatever I did my bad habit was following me. No matter how hard I tried to escape it. I was taking me with me.  So, in my early twenties I advanced in my career and my drug addiction. Advancing in my field was awesome however; in the back of my mind I was trying to escape the drug use from my previous job. I ran right back into it. The next job, I had no clue about the grip that drugs had in my life. I continued to use PCP on the new job then I started freebasing cocaine then smoking crack.  For 27 years, during the day I was a professional and at night I was a drug addict.  By this time my husband and I divorced. I had two lovely children however even my children could not stop my drug abuse.  Boy, I wanted to be normal. Ahhh!

My life was swirling out of control. My house turned into a crack house. I had people I did not know using crack in my house. People who owe the drug boys were hiding out in my house I was raped and almost died because of my drug addiction. It was only grace and mercy that kept me from going to jail or finding my body somewhere in the bushes, alley or my house. It was then that I prayed for help. I was delivered. I went to DC General Hospital, Building 12, and Detox. then to an Outpatient program which sent me to the best kept secret in town (NA).  Between the three Recovery service, program and support groups it made me see reality because I was living with false pride.  On July 27 I will acknowledge 15 years clean.  I have re-married. I received my GED then I received a Bachelor degree.  I adopted my daughter, I watch my older daughter graduate from college and I am a grandmother of my fourth grandchild, a girl. I started my own business. I supported my son at his 4th year anniversary.  However each day is challenging which I am glad that I surround myself with people going through the same things.  I need people to lean on.  Also, helping others keeps my grounded.  All I can say, “My life is normal”. Thank GOD I can rise and I can exhale. I am free from substance abuse!

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