My Name is Melissa
My Name is Melissa
By Melissa Johnson
HI! I am Melissa Johnson. I am from Norman, Oklahoma. I am a mom of two beautiful children ages 9 and 6 and I have been in recovery since May 19, 2015. My drug of choice was alcohol, it was love at first sight.
My story is like so many others, I always felt out of place, I never felt like I quite fit in, I felt like there was something wrong with me. I had horrible anxiety, although I wouldn't have a name for my “breakdowns” until much later in life. I very self conscious, I thought I was dying most days, and I was beyond paranoid. If someone on the TV had cancer and was dying, then I had cancer and was dying. If I was out to eat with my family, I was sure everyone was looking at me and talking about me, and not in a good way. I remember my step dad sitting up with me late one night trying to convince me that I was not going to die in my sleep. I thought he was crazy, I knew for sure I would stop breathing in my sleep and die. I was in elementary school when we had that talk.
Then there was alcohol. My first love. I remember sneaking into my grandmas mini bar and taking drinks of whatever I could get ahold of first. When I drank I didn’t care if people were talking about me or looking at me. I didn’t care if my face was red or shiny or if my hair was out of place. All the voices in my head that told me there was something wrong with me were drowned out when I put alcohol in me. I loved the feeling of not caring. I could do whatever I wanted and say whatever I wanted without overanalyzing and worrying what others thought. The anxiety disappeared.
I was a terrible teenager. I drank and did drugs. I skipped school. I ran away. I was sexually promiscuous. I lied about where I was going. My mom told me once that for so long she tried to keep me away from the bad kids but in reality, she should have been keeping kids away from me because I was the bad kid. It was the truth. I was hard to handle.
My legal consequences began early on. I was 21 when I ran a red light in the middle of a black out and hit someone and totaled my car. I was 24 when I totaled my second car at another intersection in another black out. The consequences continued to get worse. I lost jobs, I lost friends, I lost my self respect, I didn’t care as long as I had my alcohol. I didn’t care until I lost my kids.
My kids were taken away from me in December of 2013, my son ate a marijuana brownie and told the teacher he ate a brownie with “medicine” in it. That was the beginning of the end. I got sober and in February of 2015 I celebrated a year sober, I thought when I got sober life would be rainbows and unicorns. Life was anything but rainbows and unicorns. I was struggling mentally and emotionally until I hit a wall In May of 2015. I relapsed. In less than 24 hours I was watching my kids be taken away in a police car. There I was in the exact same court room with the same judge figuring out once again where my kids would live.
That was my rock bottom. Finally my consequences hurt bad enough for me to surrender. I finally decided to wave the white flag. I finally understood that it would never get better, it would always be like that when I drank. I finally saw how much my addiction hurt the ones I loved the most, my babies. It was then I believe my higher power replaced the voices in my head that told me “Just one drink, this time will be different” with “You have to share your story to help others”. Sharing my story openly was the last thing I wanted to do, but when you're called to do something you do it. I started my blog My Truth Starts Here in September 2015. I share my struggles of being a mom in recovery. It’s been one of the most healing parts of my journey.
As a way to give back to others who are in recovery I started a nonprofit in the Oklahoma City area called Clean Life.Clean Home. It’s my way of paying forward and spreading hope. I share amazing stories of recovery and I do a one time free cleaning for them. We often hear about the ugly side of addiction, I want to shine the light on the other side we rarely hear about, RECOVERY. I hope that by doing this people who are struggling can see that recovery is possible and maybe, just maybe, they will reach out for the help they deserve. Addiction doesn’t discriminate, it doesn’t care how much money you have or what race you are, it can affect anyone. The sooner we start realizing that, the sooner people can start receiving the help they deserve without worrying about the stigma. We can and do recover, I want people to see that.