I’m an addict, my name is Kat. The stories I have heard that keep me willing to work for my recovery, are the stories that I can relate to or identify with. I am sharing my story in the hopes that someone out there reading can relate, and can find that drop of hope they need to keep fighting.
I grew up in Maryland with my parents and little brother, none of our other family lives in this state or close by. I think that’s why I learned how to fit in wherever I could whenever I could from a young age. Trying to fit in with everyone left me feeling alone and less than, these feelings stayed with me for my whole life. I never felt good enough, yet I never truly knew who I was as a person. I lived in a constant state of mental and social chaos. That’s where drugs and alcohol came in. I could be whoever I wanted to be and feel however I wanted to feel. I could numb myself or bring myself up- drugs were my solution. After high school I landed myself in jail for the first time, and I was assaulted by a correctional officer, but even that wasn’t enough to make me realize I had a problem. I thought I was fine because academics and athletics came easily to me. I was able to go to go to community college and then finish my 4 year degree at a local university… all while living in active addiction.
But while I was finishing my degree, my life changed forever. I got the call that my father had terminal cancer, and did not have long to live. Immediately I took on too much responsibility at once; I was the caregiver, cancer advocate, loving fiancé, college student, employee, and daughter all at once. Even thought I was able to put my using to the side, my disease was still eating at me. My world came crashing down when my Daddy passed away 2 months before my wedding. I started acting out, using on a daily basis, and simply not caring who I hurt in the process. It got bad, fast. My relationship was toxic and dysfunctional, two using addicts don’t equal a healthy marriage. (I learned that the hard way) I ended up getting in even more trouble with the law, and found myself going to my first treatment center with 3 pending cases against me.
I just could not get it- really, I did not feel worthy of the new way of life recovery had to offer me and I did not want to face this life without my Daddy. I ended up so low and hopeless, that I tried to end my own life via vehicle. I ended up going to the same treatment center 3 times in 6 months, and was kicked out my last time there. I am still pretty stubborn, but being kicked out- I was forced into trying a women’s recovery house. It is that house that truly saved my life.
I started taking suggestions as directions. I went to 90 meetings my first 90 days, and continue to this day to go to meetings regularly. I found a decent job, and made new friends- real friends. I started working the 12 steps with a sponsor, and started finding out just who Kat is. I started to get relationships back with my family, and even earning back trust. It’s been almost 2 years now- even though it has not been easy, recovery has made my life worth living. My husband left me when I went to treatment, so I got divorced-clean. I have buried friends-clean. I have dealt with health issues-clean. And I have gone to jail- clean. Paying for the crimes of my past and going to jail clean was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done in my life, but my recovery network helped me through and I was able to help fellow addicts while I was locked up. I learned that it doesn’t matter where you are, you can carry the message of recovery. We do recover, and we are never alone.
My life has changed in so many beautiful ways through all of these experiences though. Today, I am in the most loving relationship. I have found a man (also in recovery) who loves me the way my Daddy would’ve wanted me to be loved and we are expecting a baby boy this August Today, I can guide other women through the 12 steps. Today, I can show up for my job. Today, I can show up for my friends. Today, I can show up for my family. Today, I can love myself. So many people are dying of this disease every day, so if you’re reading this- there is hope. Love yourself enough for just one second, turn that self love into courage, pick up your phone and call someone you trust, ask for help. There is a better way of life, and you deserve it!
Kat L, Annapolis, MD