By Chasity Edwards SUDC
I once knew a girl who had given up on the world. She was trading her soul for anything that would numb her from feeling the pain of a life of dysfunction and trauma. She experienced pain from every angle starting very early on in life. She grew up in an abusive home and experienced every from of abuse: verbal, mental, emotional, sexual, physical, you name it, she knew it. Drugs and alcohol were predominant in her upbringing. She became the mother figure at an early age to her sibling’s secondary to her mothers addiction.
At age 15 she moved in with her boyfriend and got married at 16. Her then husband went to jail within weeks of them being married for a DUI, from a wreck where she was severely injured. Pregnant and alone she got back on her feet, worked multiple jobs and tried to rebuild her life. Her husband was in and out of prison and each time he would get out the story was the same, within weeks they had lost everything due to drug use. This carried on for years, her doing well while he was locked up, and losing everything when he got out. She had a good head on her shoulders, and her heart was in the right place, but eventually she got caught up in the life too and after her second son was born, she was doing the same things without him.
One day, she wakes up in jail and the weight of everything crashed down on her. Facing 13 felonies, both 2nd and 3rd degree, she had lost custody of her boys and was ready to give up. But, the one thing about this girl, is she is a fighter. She knew she couldn’t escape this life on her own. Everyone she knew lived this life. So, she did the only thing she could think of and asked the judge to help her. She wrote him from jail and told him she knew she wouldn’t be able to stay clean if he let her out. She pleaded to him to help her get control of this monster that had invaded her mind, body, and soul: addiction. She asked for help.
Someone heard her pleas, and she started to rebuild her life. She took live one day and one step at time, completed residential treatment and went to the homeless shelter upon completion. She lived in her car for weeks while walking to work because she didn’t have gas money. She saved up and eventually rented a house. She visited her boys in a different county every week and fought with everything in her to regain custody, and she did. She got re-married and had more kids. She went back to school to help others who face similar challenges. Now, thirteen years later she has built a life and career full of hope and faith. Land although life didn’t stop challenging her she faced each new challenge with hope and optimism.
I once knew a girl who most would look at with disgust and call an addict. They would say she chose drugs over her kids, and they would be right. They would call her a criminal. They would say she was lost and unable to change. I once knew a girl who was all of that, and now so do you. I am that girl.
This story is the reason I am not freaking out during this current crisis of COVID-19. Because I know I can combat this invisible enemy, regardless of what others do. I learned early on that with patience and gratitude anything is possible. I learned that there are almost always guidelines I can follow that will help me; this is true with the current crisis.
During this crisis of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are told by the suggested guidelines to go against everything we are taught in recovery: isolate, don’t participate in group gatherings, stay away from people, stay home, etc. We are taught in recovery to avoid isolating, to engage in social gatherings and stay connected.
So how do we support our recovery and follow guidelines? Here are my suggestions.
These are some basic ways to help, and not an end all list. The most important thing I can impress upon you is DO NOT GIVE UP. You can do hard things, and together we can get through this stronger.