YEAH! It is the weekend….Today is about a time in my life that was both a trial and a blessing. In October, 1990 my drug addiction took me down a road that I never thought would be possible. I mean, I was from a middle class family, a college graduate (Dean’s list in pre-law), had a great job and was a mom of an AMAZING daughter – Belinda. Life was good – so I thought. My addiction caused me to lie, cheat and manipulate family, friends, and employers. It was not a pretty sight. On the outside, I was looking good (or so I thought) but on the inside I was an emotional and spiritual train wreck.
A bout with the law and a judge who saw the person inside, gave me a chance to get my life together. It was a difficult time for my family – the perfect world that I had created had just shattered. Off to detox for 10 days where a wonderful doc knew that if I was going to make it in recovery, heading home after detox was NOT an option. So, off to Riverside in PA for 30 days of rehab. Talk about life changing. It took about that long for me to give myself a break. See, as the counselors said – I didn’t need any help breaking down what I had done because I carried my own bat to beat myself up. The hardest part was being away from Belinda. At the age of 2, I left her for about 6 weeks. There were NO visits at the detox and only twice did I see Belinda when I was in rehab. She was with family but I feared that I would never be able to repair the damage by my leaving her. My key motivation to get it together – to get home to my daughter. When I did, life was not the same. First, we were locked out of our home due to my drug using antics. We were blessed with a site manager who practiced tough love. For 6 weeks, we lived with Elsie (my aunt) and worked on getting our home back. It wasn’t easy but I was determined to make things better for my daughter. The people in Narcotics Anonymous became my second family. Not only did I do 90 meetings in 90 days but I became active in using my talents at meeting planning to help organize the regional NA conference. Belinda proudly wore her “NA Rocks” shirt whenever she could but I am sure that she didn’t understand it, but mom was home! Life now consisted of meeting people and having fun.
Community service was also part of the agreement with the courts. Now to find something that I could do and enjoy. I mean, aren’t you supposed to enjoy community service? I began to volunteer at the South Jersey AIDS Alliance in Atlantic City. My work with this agency and the clients that walked through the door would change me FOREVER. Doors opened to a new field of interest – Social Work. This was during the early days of HIV/AIDS and I quickly realized how blessed I was to have survived my drug addiction and my risky antics.
God has a plan for me and though I don’t always know what it is, he finds a way to get me back on the right path. I detoured through my 8 years of drug use but a bout with the law brought me to my knees. See, I always wanted to help people but I got caught up in the fast lane – drugs, alcohol, partying but my community service brought me back to God’s heart – helping others and serving him.
Today, I continue to help women to see their potential and do what I can to help them reach their personal goals. At times I forget that sharing my strengths, hopes and experiences of my recovery can help others. I still have doubts and fears but I figure if I was blessed to come through my past trials, I can accomplish anything with God’s help. Life’s struggles make us stronger – what struggles have you endured or are you working on that will make you stronger? Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!