The Road to My Success
By Lea Tweet
My legs were trembling so bad, I thought that everyone could see me swaying. My throat was dry, and my nerves on edge. I detected everyone looking at me, my temperature was rising, and I could feel my skin boiling. I stood up at the podium, after the judge introduced me, and instantly my body was rushed with adrenaline. I never thought this day would come. I have worked so diligently, and I have come so far. Even though, I never would have dreamed it, through the drug court program, I learned to love myself, and that is the biggest success I have ever had.
I entered drug court in August of 2014, following five years of an intense opiate addiction. I descended into my addiction considerably more each year. I originally started using with a childhood, family friend who became my first love. We were together for seven long years. We both diminished into people controlled by this substance. We hurt the people we loved, we lied, and stole anything we had to, to support our growing addiction. I had created this life of darkness for myself. I couldn't get out, I felt helpless, and hopeless. I tried so many times, I even went to jail, and prison.
My cousin died from an overdose, and my mom from drunk driving. Any sane person would think, that would scare me enough to get sober. But instead it took me deeper. I ran from my felony probation supervision, I cheated on the love of my life, and I pushed my family significantly far away. I felt doomed. I accepted that this was going to be my life. I turned myself in, after four months on the run, and accepted the fact that I was going to end up in prison for a long time. After I turned myself in, I found out that I was pregnant. My world stopped. I then asked, begged, and pleaded for a chance to do drug court.
I sat in jail full of fear, worry, guilt, and shame. I thought about the person I had become. I thought about what my child would have to go through. I realized that I had nobody. I forced my family out of my life, even the one, and only person who was there for me, truly there for me. "How could I do this to him?" I asked myself. He loved me for me, and was the father to the child I was carrying. He was my everything, and I tore his heart out. I thought maybe we could still be a family. I thought "We were meant to be".
On the other hand, I knew if I continued down the path I was on, my child would be doomed with my mistakes. I knew of the possibility that if I stayed in the relationship with Trevor, that I might not stay sober. "We would really have to fight, and work hard for this. Shit, I don't even know how to stay sober." I said to myself, then asked "Does he want to be sober?"
We resorted to drugs for everything, even just to function. Trevor's, and my relationship had always been very unhealthy, co-dependent, and filled with a lot of drug use. We were co-defendants, and honestly, I lost my identity as a person, as an individual, and as myself within our relationship. I knew I had to make a choice for my baby, and without him, but I held on to the hope. "Maybe one day," I thought. I reflected on my past, and my very near future. I even contemplated adoption. I decided my next move would be to try. "All I can do is try" I coerced myself. I was going to try to stay sober, and I was going to try my hardest at drug court.
I was released into drug court on October 31, 2014. I had nothing. I was ordered to stay at the homeless shelter, and it was a good thing too, because I had nowhere else to go. None of my family wanted anything to do with me. I had no clothes, no car, no job, nothing. Trev wouldn't even look at me. He was also in drug court, and I had to face him on a regular, almost daily basis. He told drug court that my baby wasn't his. The judge issued me a No Contact Order (NCO) for him, and all of his family.
While I was staying at the shelter I had a lot to figure out, on top of a super busy schedule, with no transportation. I walked regularly, and thought even more. I attended AA meetings, and worked my recovery as hard as I could. I put my all into this. I reached out to my community, first in regards to adoption. After some interviews, and a lot of information, I decided to keep my soon to be daughter. I knew for me personally, I couldn't give my kid away after carrying her for nine months, and stay sober. At that moment I realized how much more work needs to be done. I searched, and reached out, and used as many resources as I possibly could. I found BabySteps, Birthright of Boise, City Lights, SHIP Housing, YMCA, St. Luke's, Health and Welfare, Food Banks, Love INC, and plenty of support groups. This community is surprisingly filled with so much help, so many resources, true care, and compassion.
Miraculously, I was blessed with a transitional home, which is mainly a halfway point for felons getting out of prison, only for people in recovery. This one was rent free, and I moved in just days before my daughter was born. No transitional home accepted kids, but this one made an exception for me, and turned one of their houses into a family home. I delivered my daughter at St. Luke's Hospital. I arrived in an ambulance, I had no one else to take me. I delivered a perfectly healthy baby girl, all natural, with no complications. No family member came to visit us, and my daughter did not have a dad or any of his family there either. I had her by myself, and I was so scared. I fell in love at the first sight of my beautiful baby girl. She was the only being who was with me through the hardest time of my life, and I was the only thing she had. We lived at the transitional home for about a year, and throughout that time I made true friends, and started building a support system. The women who we lived with were the greatest gifts I could have ever asked for. "Things are truly starting to look up, and come together," I thought.
Surprisingly, I had everything I could ever ask for. My daughter was set: she had clothes, furniture, toiletries, a sober mom, a support system, and lots of love. Eventually, my Grandma started coming around after seeing my changes. Slowly, my whole family started coming around. I started rebuilding the relationships with my family, and I had genuine friends who cared about me, and my daughter. I was moving along in my program, and in life. I got a job, a car, and I even got full custody of my daughter, all within months. My daughter's dad relapsed one too many times, and eventually got discharged from the program and sent to prison. He continued to deny her. I urged him to request a paternity test. He finally requested one six months later. I tried my hardest to forget about him, and kept telling myself that I deserve better, and a better life. But I will always know that I was the one who broke his heart. Later on, my daughter, and I got into our own place. "We have a home," I expressed to my daughter Ayla.
I put everything I could into this program. I truly wanted to be a better person. However, drug court wouldn't let me graduate without paying off $5,600 in restitution. I was devastated. Not because I was ready to graduate, but because I put so much work in to this program, and couldn't graduate over money. I am a single mom who barely makes it paycheck to paycheck. I was determined. I worked in sales, and sold my butt off. I engaged myself to pay it all off. I also, lost all of my benefits in the process. But I did it.
Throughout my resentment I learned so much. I took the next year, and a half to truly reflect. "Why do I want to graduate so bad anyways?" I saw close friends relapsing left, and right. I asked myself "Why am I really doing this?" I realized how important this program really is, not just to me, but to my daughter. Without this program I do not know where I would be today. I also don't know where my daughter would be, which scares me to death. I held on to the program even tighter, and reached out trying to help others. I got involved in community events, and I was proud to be in recovery. I took the time to try to learn more.
This program really opened my eyes to myself. It taught me how to change cognitive thoughts, and behaviors, with Cognitive Self Change (CSC). I learned about my past morals, and changed them to meet who I am today in Moral Recognition Therapy (MRT). I learned how to take care of myself mentally, emotionally, and physically in my Boundaries class. Most importantly I learned who I am, what I want, and how to love me for me. I also participated in a Process Group, forty hours of community service, I was involved in family groups, appeared in court regularly, and was forced to participate in random UA's (Urinary Analysis'). I also learned that addiction is a disease, and I have to treat myself properly, take care of myself physically, mentally, and, spiritually to be able to stay in recovery.
I never knew that I never loved myself before. I never thought an intensive outpatient treatment program, that was an alternative to prison, run by the judicial system would be where I realized this either. In my eyes, everything happens for a reason. As hard as it is to swallow, it's still for a reason. Today, I am grateful for my life, my daughter, my family, my friends, and I am grateful that I love myself enough to pursue my dreams. I remember standing at the podium that evening, in front of the drug court staff, my peers, my friends, and my family. Including family who traveled hundreds of miles to come, and family I haven't seen in over ten years. I stood up there that night trying to express my gratitude to everyone who helped me through this time of my life. I tried to thank everyone who is a part of who I am today. But the truth is, there would absolutely be no way to whole heartedly express the gratitude, and the thankfulness that everyone deserves. "I did this, I graduated drug court. I am a recovering addict, and today, I love myself for who I am, for the first time in my life."
Hi guys! I wanted to share this part of my story with all of you. I know that you haven't heard from me in awhile, I have been super busy lately. I am going to school full time, working, being a single mom, recovery, etc. I actually wrote this essay for my english class and thought I would share it with Drunkless. :) Thanks for reading!