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State of New Jersey Deapartment of Human Services title graphic  
Governor Chris Christie • Lt.Governor Kim Guadagno
Division of Addiction Services
When I think back on my life and all the events that led up to my addiction, I am grateful to be in recovery for over 6 years.  I am a 'Middle' child.  My father was an emotionally physically and mentally abusive drunk and drug addict, yet somehow I still yearned for his love and attention.  He eventually left my mother penniless and moved out to be with another woman when I was 10.  He left and never came back.  With the weight of caring for three children heavy on her back, it felt like mymother was gone too.  Kidws had always picked on me in school, but all my rage finally found an outlet.  By the time, I was 12 I had endured physical, emotional, mental and sexual abuse.  I turned to alcohol, sex, cigarettes and drugs as an escape.  Bu the time, I was 14 I had been in rehab and juvenile detention.  That lifestyle followed me into hight school and continued to progress.  I met my first love and we were married at age 17.  He introduced me to heroin a drugh that would change my life for the rest of my life.  What began as a weekend thing quickly spiraled out of control and lead to other hardcore drugs.  By the time, I was 17 I was heavily addicted to drugs, sold drugs, was arrested several times, and I had absolutely no control over anything in my life.

I tried to get myself together numerous times.  I was in and out of rehabs but could not stay clean.  It was not long before I started injecting heroin and other hardcore drugs.  I used drugs while pregnant from my son and he was born addicted.  The guilt and shame I felt was overwhelming.  I became extremely depressed.  I stayed clean for a short time then eventually relapsed again.  Every time I relapsed, it only got worse.  I fould myself trapped in the grips of my addiction with no way out and I wanted to die.  Towards the end of my addiction, I had graduated to being a full-blown junkie.  I overdosed more times that I can count.  All the things I said I would never do, I did.  I was stealing, lying, cheating, and prostituting.  I had been places in my life I never imagine existed.  I had burned all my bridges with just about everyone I knew; including my family.  I was staying in abandoned buildings; I did not eat, drink, or hardly sleep.  I was in an abusive relationship and at times feared for my life.  I was facing a lot of time in prison for a prior conviction and wanted to die.

In May 2003, I decided to check into one last program.  This program helped save my life.  They educated me on the disease of addiction and introduced me to a 12-step program.  I started to understand that I was not a horrible person who deserved to suffer for the rest of my life; I had a disease.  I thought about my son and the life and mother he deserved.  There was still a lot of pain, guilt and shame but it was starting to get better.  I was able to see the sun shine for the first time in a long time and started to laugh again.  I finally felt "I was free."  I started to repair those bridges I had burdened by staying clean one day at a time.  I knew there was a long road ahead but I had HOPE.

Today, more than six years later I am still in recovery.  I work for a substance abuse program and I am pursuing a college degree in human services.  My son is with me and doing great.  I am the mother, sister, daughter and person I always wanted to be.  i am a productive member of society.  I have a great relationship with my family.  I have learned to forgive and love myself and others.  I now know that the God of my understanding had great plans for me.  All my experiences in life, the good and the bad have made me the woman I am today.  I am grateful to have lived two lives in one lifetime.  I have a purpose and my life is worth living.  My purpose in this lifetime is to be the light at the end of the tunnel.  To help people and give hope to those who suffer from the disease of addiction.
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