THIS MONTH'S GUEST SPEAKER: "Alicia P."
Originally posted on Oct 1998(The author retains all rights to this material)
Hi. My name is Alicia and I am an addict. I have always had a problem with low self-esteem. When I was in eighth grade, I was constantly being teased about my weight problem. I started hanging around with a bad crowd and eventually started smoking cigarettes. I hid this from my parents for quite some time but wasn’t long until I was smoking pot as well. I never thought this was wrong because everyone I knew was doing this. I have learned today that this was my problem. People, places, and things. I was getting into so much trouble in grammar school that my parents sent me to a catholic high school. I hated this because all of the people who liked me because I used with them (my friends) went to the public school. My addiction didn’t take long in making new friends that liked to use drugs also, but now I was older and these drugs weren’t fun anymore. I started to experiment with other drugs until eventually I found my drug of choice, cocaine. This is when I really noticed that I have a lot of people who wanted to be friends with me no matter how fat I was. I had to steal money from my parents in order to support my drug habit and to keep all my new friends. I even got a boyfriend who I thought really loved me and helped my self-esteem.
I did well in high school, and got accepted to a secretarial school when I was a junior. I went away to school because my parents thought I was a really good student and they could afford to do this at the time. I packed my bags, including my addiction, and went off to Boston. Leaving my family and my boyfriend to go out and do something that I thought people were supposed to do. Again, it didn’t take long for my addiction to start making new friends because using drugs was what I knew how to do best, and this was the only way I knew how to get people to like me. My secretarial skills were outstanding. I had almost completed my first year of this two-year school when I decided to fly home for the weekend to see my family and boyfriend. When I got home we immediately started partying. When the weekend was over I returned back to school. About two days later I started getting bad headaches and had to go to the emergency room. The doctors did all kinds of tests but could not find the problem. The pain continued to get worse and I called my family and told them I was going to die. After missing many classes, my mother came out to Boston and stayed with me to help with taking me to doctors to find the problem. I eventually went back home to my family doctor and he observed the x-rays and diagnosed me with a sinus infection. Because of the lack of medical help from Boston, the infection broke through and spread to my brain causing me to have a stroke. I lost all movement on the left side of my body. I was paralyzed and in a wheelchair at the age of eighteen years old. Although doctors told me that I would never walk or be able to have children and lead a normal life, I began physical therapy and got out of the wheelchair and started walking with a cane, which lead to only a brace. My left arm was still paralyzed but I continued to party knowing that doing cocaine could have gave me this infection in my sinus. So, I began to smoke it (crack-cocaine). I continued stealing money from my parents knowing that I had to support my habit. I never completed school but I was collecting disability and in the process of a malpractice lawsuit. I thought I would be high forever.
Because of the people I continued hanging around and the things I did to be accepted, eventually, I became pregnant – something else the doctors told me I would never be able to do. I was determined to prove them wrong. I was still using after my daughter was born. It wasn’t until DYFS (Division of Youth and Family Services) came into the picture did I decide to do something about my drug problem. I wanted to keep my daughter because she is a miracle. So I started down the road to recovery. I was an outpatient at a rehabilitation center for six months. I lover the way those people could live without using drugs. The counselors told me I needed to find a sponsor and go to meetings when I got out. Being a new mother, I began going to meetings as often as I could. I found a sponsor after a couple weeks and I celebrated thirty days complete abstinence from all mood and mind altering chemicals. I started feeling healthy and life started to get better. After learning to accept a Higher Power in my life by working steps I really started to believe that I could that I could do this. After all I had been through, I knew I was a strong person and I was determined to change my life. Life was still hard being disabled and having to separate from my daughter’s father because he was still actively using drugs. I knew there was nothing that bad that I would ever have to use again.
The time began moving quickly and the meetings were not as painful. I soon began taking commitments and building my network of friends, who are people that like me for myself and not for what I have today.
I really started to begin to like myself. I continue to have the original sponsor that I started with and have become involved with Area service. I have improved a little with my disability but I will always have a weakness on my left side. And I believe this is the way I am supposed to be. It is only through God’s good grace that I am alive today with over tow years of complete abstinence from all mood and mind altering chemicals. And I am still interested in improving my life in recovery. I believe now that everything happens for a reason and God will not let anything happen that you can not handle. This helps me to understand why I had to go through these medical problems in order to be strong enough to recover. It is all about hope and faith. I am currently a single mother in school to become a social worker for a hospital and hopefully through my strength and thrive for life I will be able to help someone overcome a physical disability or through my example, sponsor someone in recovery one day at a time, because I can only keep what I have by giving it away.
Just For Today