I finally learned that what is said in the rooms of recovery is true — if nothing changes, nothing changes. When I accepted that the change must begin with me, I gained a new freedom.
My name is Mary and I am a grateful recovering addict. My clean date is December 23, 2011. From a very early age, I was trying to change how I felt. At the age of 12, after my father had left home, I took my first drink of alcohol and found that it gave me an escape. From there, the childhood rebellion was on — I did everything that I was told not to do. I dropped out of school in the 8th grade and was pregnant at the age of 16 — a child with child. I learned from an early age to rationalize my behavior — “it was all your fault — if only you had treated me differently, I wouldn’t have to do this” – as is the case with most young addicts, I was blossoming in the role of the victim.
At the age of 21, I was involved in a car wreck and the doctor prescribed opiates for the pain. 23 felony counts later, I was sentenced to five years in prison for doctor shopping. I was granted supervised probation in drug-court and of course, I didn’t learn any lessons. This time, it was going to be different. I didn’t have a problem — they were the problem. I just needed to manage things better, right? And so began my tour of the revolving door which turned on the negative energy of my own denial — I was in and out of the legal system, jails, prisons, and rehabs. More drug-related felonies were on the horizon, and more serious consequences on the way. My life had spun completely out of control.
Unfortunately, the harm I caused myself extended to others. Those close to me — particularly my mother, and my children — likewise suffered from my disease. I was an absent daughter and an incapable mother. In the grips of the vicious cycle of addiction, I was buried with shame — my only escape was to use more and more. As they say in the rooms, “I lived to use, and used to live”. Physically, I was malnourished; emotionally I was in total pain and despair; and spiritually I was bankrupt. I felt hopeless and isolated. Thank God that it was from these depths that I was finally able to surrender — “I can’t; He can; I’ll think I’ll let Him.”
The Women’s Triangle Recovery House was truly a safe place for me — without it, I don’t believe recovery would have been possible. I say this because I had burned all of my bridges. When I got out of jail, I went into a short-term residential treatment facility. Because of my past behavior, family members and non-using friends refused to allow me to stay with them. The only place I had to go was back to old places where people were actively using drugs. That sort of environment would most likely had been too much to bear. When I heard about the Women’s Triangle Recovery House from other women in the treatment center, I was hopeful that there might be a safe refuge for healing. I had no money, but local churches came together to make my transition into the house financially possible. God was again doing for me, what I could not do for myself.
The recovery house was a safe harbour — a place full of love and support. Building upon my experience in treatment, I continued to learn how to practice spiritual principles like patience and tolerance. I was given the opportunity to identify and safely express my feelings in a caring environment, and to learn how to deal with them in a healthy way. With the help of the staff and volunteers in the house, I was able to gain living skills that I had previously neglected. I obtained my GED, and I am now employed in a profession which I love. In the next few months, I will be furthering my education at the local community college. Recently, I transitioned into my own apartment, and I have regained custody of one of my children. The promises of recovery are coming true for me, and the Women’s Triangle Recovery House has been instrumental in all of these positive happenings in my life. For that, I am and will always be truly grateful.