Guest post: My name is Angie

This is a guest post from a friend of mine from high school. Please read it and pass it on. You don't know who's living with the same pain of addiction and needs to hear her story. And if you're living with addiction, you can get help.

My name is Angie.  I'm a mom. I'm a daughter and a sister. I'm a 1993 graduate of high school in Toledo, OH. I'm also an alcoholic /narcotics addict who has been clean and sober for over 27 months now. I want to share my story, in hopes of helping someone, anyone, overcome the clenches of addiction.

I had a great childhood. My parents are still married. I wasn't a kid from the streets with a tragic upbringing. I still ended up with monstrous demons that almost took me out. Yes, 28 months ago, I was homeless and strung out on Percocet.  I was also suicidal; I was done being an addict.  I was done hurting.  Thankfully, I never lost custody of my son, but my mother had already filed the papers. I knew it was get clean, or lose the only reason I existed. Even though in my diseased brain, I had convinced myself he would be better off without me.  I was convinced the world would be better off without me.  Boy was I wrong. 

December 14, 2000, my father was crushed in a front end loader that left him paralyzed and confined to a wheelchair.  He was the family rock and backbone.  With his accident came the end of my family unit as I would ever know it.  Now, backing up a bit, my father was very hard on us growing up.  See, his family was like a poor version of the Kennedy’s; everyone had a tragic story.  He wanted more for us, wanted us to know respect and self discipline.  My father is an alcoholic, 30+ years sober now.  When I was a little girl, I wished my father dead over and over.  I didn’t realize in my small mind he was doing what he did because he didn’t want us to fail in life.  I didn’t realize how much my father truly loved us.  When his accident happened, even though I was 25 years old, the little girl inside of me crumbled.  She screamed “We did this to him!”  That started the ball rolling for my downward spiral.

For the next 2 years, I drank uncontrollably.  I held a job; I didn’t need alcohol in the morning or the middle of the night, so in my mind I wasn’t an alcoholic.  It’s not the amount I was drinking, or the frequency, but what that drink did to me.  I would black out.  I literally do not remember an equivalent of years of my life.  That’s an alcoholic. 

Let’s now fast forward to 2007.  I was the single mother of a 2 yr old son; I was a Worker’s Compensation Paralegal for a very successful and well known law firm in NW Ohio.  My career was Worker’s Comp in honor of my father.  I had gotten shingles on the side of my neck and boy was I in pain.  I went to the emergency room at Flower Hospital.  I was given 2 vicodin.  That was the fist time I had taken a narcotic pain pill as an adult.  I will never forget the feeling of euphoria that came over me 30 mins later.  Wow, I loved these things!  With drinking, I was out of control.  I couldn’t’ remember things.  It would smell on my breath and clothes.  These tiny little pills fit right into my purse.  And I was in pain, dammit.  If I wasn’t, the doctor wouldn’t give them to me, right?  Boy was I wrong.

Over the next few years, I went from being in pain to creating pain.  I lost my paralegal job I loved so much, due to layoff mind you, but it was gone.  My kid brother had gotten locked up for selling cocaine and heroin.  He was gone for 5 years.  My parents are aging and my father is obviously sickly.  My addiction went into full swing.  The doctor writing for the Percocet realized I was in trouble and stopped writing for them.  I then started buying them off the streets.  Now, walking away from the booze left me with no physical symptoms.  It was obtainable and reasonably priced.  Not the pills.  I was sicker than I had ever been in my life when I just stopped taking them.  Not to mention, they were expensive.  I blew through my 401K plan and any and all jewelry I owned of value, and my parents.  My poor, sweet parents lost their valuable jewelry.  Then I started shop lifting.  The problem was, I was good at it.  I stole from everywhere.  In January, 2011, I was busted leaving Kohl’s with a whole cart full of merchandise.  Over $1,000 worth of merchandise.  Anything over $500 was a trip downtown.  I was mortified.  I spent the night and jail and was released the next day.  I was pretty much slapped on the wrist and given fines to pay.  The most embarrassing part was being in Crime Times. 

I then detoxed myself off of the pills.  I didn’t need that kind of headache and I was out of all resources, so I was convinced I would stop taking them, no matter the cost.  In a few days’s time I was feeling much better and convinced that was all behind me and I didn’t need professional treatment.  Boy was I wrong.

About 6 months later, my brother had gotten back from jail and was turning into a tool.  He was rude, vicious and plain mean.  My diseased brain, still not properly cared for by a physician, told me it was time to relapse.  I wanted to die after my relapse.  I let everyone down.  I let myself down.  I decided to take my grandfather’s checkbook that also had my father’s name on it, and wrote myself some checks.  I bought a bunch of #30 Percocets and I was going to eat them until I couldn’t eat them anymore.  I thought death was the only answer.  I never considered treatment, mind you.  I. Just.  Wanted. To. Die.  I wanted the whole mess to be over.  I NEEDED for the demons to be set free.  That day I had to get my car from the dealership after having repairs done.  My plan was so send my son home with my mother; I would get into my car, get a hotel room and execute my master plan to leave this world.  Well, my son would NOT get out of my car.  He was on full meltdown mode, screaming and crying.  Did he KNOW??  Was that even possible?  So, I took him with me.  We drove to my second favorite place on the earth, Columbus, OH.  I got us a hotel room.  I played the doting mother.  I took him to the Lego Store.  I made a lunch date with my mother’s only brother.  I played like we were on vacation, the whole time having no idea what I would do next.  See, before I picked up my car, my father got a call from the bank.  I knew I was caught, but I hadn’t planned on being around to face the music.  So, I didn’t answer my cell phone for about 4 days.  My son and I had vanished, but my parents knew what was going on.  Or so I thought.  They were a mess, but I didn’t know that, or even consider that, until later on in my story.   Then one night, as I was sitting on the balcony at our hotel room, watching my son sleep, I heard a voice.  “This is not the plan, this isn’t how this ends.  You were infertile for years and I gave you a son.  It’s YOUR JOB to see him through his life.  Pull up your big girl panties and do this life thing.”  Sunday, July 23, 2012 we returned to Toledo.  Monday, July 24, 2012, I entered treatment for my addictions and demons.  Tuesday, July 25, 2012 I turned 37 years old.

I was put on a medication called Suboxone.  It was an opiate blocker/agonist.  I went to meetings, I saw counselors.  I worked the program.  I got clean.  I forgave myself and the longer I was clean and sober, the more others forgave me.  They even started to trust me again!  I am now totally off the Suboxone and clean and sober over 27 months.  My son was never taken from me and is a straight A, Honor Roll student.  I am not where I want to be, but I am a lot farther than I was.  That’s the long and the short of my story, but I tell it for one reason.  To help someone reading this.  Maybe it’s you?  Maybe it’s a loved one?  There is help out there; you do not have to succumb to your demons, to your illness.  It’s never too late.  If you were diagnosed with cancer, would you not fight for your life? Addiction is a disease, like cancer, left untreated will kill you as swiftly as can be. I never asked for addiction, I acquired it.  I still ended up and addict all the same.  I am deserving and so are you. If I can do this, you can. 

Thank you for reading my story.  God Bless.